23 October, 2017

Deal Or No Deal: Customs Chief Wijeweera In A Rs.100 Million Defraud Deal?

Customs Officers Unions and the law-abiding motor vehicle importers strongly suspect a serious wrongdoing concerning the immediate suspension of a massive revenue fraud inquiry of over a billion rupees initiated by the Deputy Director of Customs, Athula Lankadeva, Colombo Telegraph learns.

DGC Jagath Wijeweera

Some insiders believe that the head of the investigating team has been bought over by those involved in this massive fraud, with a payment of a huge bribe. Meanwhile, some others suspect that the investigation into the fraud was stopped not as a result the bribe to an investigating team but as a direct intervention of the person holding the office of the Director General of Customs, Jagath P Wijeweera.

Colombo Telegraph’s undercover investigation has resulted in startling revelations, which we can now reveal for the benefit of the readers.

According the team responsible for the investigation into the fraud this inquiry came to a standstill due to an apparent deal entered into between the fraudsters and the DGC Jagath Wijeweera. Certain officers alleged Jagath Wijeweera had entered into a deal 10%  (100 million rupees) of the total revenue defrauded in this organized revenue fraud.

In this case, the investigation carried out so far, the Head of the Team, Lankadeva, has successfully established the following.

  • The organized fraudsters (including a leading commercial bank) have made false declarations of the value of over 300 vehicles (cars of the make of Mercedes, BMW and Jaguar imported mainly from the UK) for the purpose of collection of levies (only 70% of the value of the vehicle had been declared for Customs purposes), a fraudulent act of defrauding of the government revenue.

    Ordered Customs officials to stop seizing of any vehicles involved in this massive revenue fraud

  • The main suspect taken into Custody (the head of the marketing division of a leading commercial bank) had confessed to the Customs investigators that the balance 30% has been remitted to the shippers, having recorded it as  ‘local charges’ collected from the buyers of the vehicle. Whereas that 30% also forms a part of the transaction value on which duties should have been paid. The said 30% of the value undeclared has been transferred to the shippers abroad by unlawful means, a clear act of willful defrauding of government revenue.

Colombo Telegraph’s undercover investigation into this abrupt end of the fraud inquiry hits the right target. We managed to discover the overwhelming evidence about the direct abuse of office by the Director General of Customs, Jagath P Wijweera. We can reveal that the DGC has stopped the investigation into this fraud on 12th August 2013, with a clear order to DDC, Lankadeva, to stop the investigation forthwith. He also ordered Customs officials to stop seizing of any vehicles involved in this massive revenue fraud.

As per the investigators this order is manifestly flawed and unlawful for number of reasons. The primary duty of any officer appointed (in terms of the Section 2 of the Customs Ordinance) in the Customs Department is to collect and protect the government revenue, a power vested in them by the parliament. This power cannot be taken away or denied by any executive act of intervention for whatever the reasons and the DGC’s deceitful act is completely contrary to his duties under the Customs Ordinance.  Furthermore, the collusion with the government revenue fraudsters is a punishable act under the Customs Ordinance (Section 137), where any such officer that connives with the fraudsters to deny government revenue be rendered incapable of serving in the public service.

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Latest comments

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    Will the Bribery Commission take note and investigate – at least,call Lankadeva, get a statement from him in writing, and proceed from there?
    Or,are they too busy still, trying to frame CJ Shirani Bandaranayake?

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      I don’t understand this whole business – why? B’cos from time immemorial people who import cars have undervalued them! As standard practice people send money via L/C for 70 to 80% value. Rest transferred via illegal methods. So when the vehicle arrives you pay less duty on your CIF. Rest is history. What customs should do is if vehicle is from UK – pay £3.75 to Glass’s guide & find authentic true valuation & ask the importer to pay adjusted proper value as duty. (do not forget to recover £3.75 from the importer!)

  • 0
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    We all know about the weaknesses in the systems in Sri Lanka in dealing with any anti citizen activities – whether it is corruption related or violence related.

    In this particular fraud there is a second player that colluded with the fraudsters in Sri Lanka. They are the UK exporters of top end vehicles. These UK companies are complicit in this fraud so an appeal should be made for the British authorities to investigate the co-offenders based in the UK. There is a better chance of getting reasonable results when British authorities investigate government sector frauds whereas in Sri Lanka that is never the case nowadays.

  • 0
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    The commercial bank involved is no doubt headed by a sycophant of the regime?

  • 0
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    It is only when rogues quarrel the fun begins. The slide in the Customs began when Mrs Premadasa was believed to be the key figure in the smuggling rings that brought their banned and dangerous items in Container-loads. Mrs.B or Mrs. JRJ would not sink to the level of this
    woman from an ice-cream parlour from the slums of Dematagoda who showed her class when she found herself in the corridors of power.
    Those two noble ladies came from respectable and honourable homes.
    Wickrema W knows much more. The rackets continue to grow many fold under this established venal regime.

    Horikadey

  • 0
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    Before this Colombo Dock Yard was left off the hook without having to pay Rs. 600 mil in duty, thanks to the Guardians of the Law. What is this country coming to? The Laws are for the average Law abiding and not for the Political Cronies?

  • 0
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    Why CT editorial board do not send a copy of this article to the President and to the bribery Commission etc. ?

    At least you will find what their response will be.

    • 0
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      “Why CT editorial board do not send a copy of this article to the President and to the bribery Commission etc. ?

      At least you will find what their response will”

      Yes, for sure, Saddarmadveepa Chakrawarthi will response with free White Van ride for entire CT editorial staff.

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      [Edited out]
      We are sorry, the comment language is English – CT

  • 0
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    Rajapakshe brothers what is happening?
    Find out who influenced DGC Wijeweera and all those who are a part of the racket.
    Get Lankadeva to continue inquiries and take in immediately all connected with and or concerned in this racket derived from bank officials statement and detain such persons under PTA unlitll the inquiry is comeplete and chared.

    Such traitors need to be hauled in.
    Corruption !!!! Enough is enough.

    Mahinda Mama/Gota when is such corruption going to end??
    If you guys want to have authoritarian rule no problebs with that BUT eliminate forthwith corruption and it need to be done NOW.

    If you couyld end the war then you could end corruption.

    • 0
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      Come on Thondamanaru, you are asking the rajapakse brothers to commit ‘Hara kiri’ !!!

  • 0
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    If anyone makes an investigation on all Custom officers income & assets , how they acquired their income to own lavish houses & luxury cars will prove they are the highest bribe takers in the Island of Srilanka.

  • 0
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    This is very simple. Treasury Secretary will order to close the Investigation. As Usual Finance Minster will play Baba Ukkung part. Independent Local Media will find sudden Massive Cash Deposits in DGC Athula Lakdeva’s Account and Bribery commission will start Investigation in to the matter.

    In the near future DGC Athula Lakdeva will be taken in to custody by Mr. Jagath Baala-patabadi’s Bribry and Anti Corruption officers while taking a Bribery of Rs. 10,000/= in the open from a notorious Vehicle Importer.

    Finally our Finance Minister, Sri Rohana Manaranjana, Saddarmadveepa Chakrawarthi will legalize all the transections done by Deshapremi Vehicle Importers and DGC Mr. Jagath Wijeweera will be appointed as “Janadipathi Upadesaka” after the retirement to advise him about Custom Revenues.

    • 0
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      How do you get this future news now? aney lokka please can you tell me what is the next lotto winning number?

  • 0
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    There is something important not reported in this news item.

    Please carefully see the last paragraph of Wijeweera’s directive handing over the investigation to RTF headed by another crook Mali Piyasena.

    Mali Piyasena is in the good books of Wijeweera. This is a Amarapala (the Customs man who was shot dead) style man and this man is due to retire in few months time. Wijeweera took him to MR seeking another extension but MR refused.

    Customs people knows, like Amarapala, who is Mali Piyasena and to whom he works. This man will do anything if he is approached in the way he pleases and dictate. Customs men know how this man with the connivance of Oliver passed container loads of contraband, which he continue to do pretending that he is the best man in the Customs, how many cigarette containers and ethanol containers go under this man’s noce . These two-faced people have forgotten about their use by date. Like Amarapala, this man’s fate too may be decided on the misdeeds he had committed against the whole nation, and there is nothing to be shocked if this man too is shot dead on the road, which the media would then be reported as a ‘demise of one of the best fraud-fighters the Customs ever produced.’

  • 0
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    Good that at least some one enlightened the public with the true inside news in the Customs. I feel sorry about Lankadeva, like Shirani B, this man too may also be charged on framed-up charge, for accusing him for releasing DGC Wijeweera’s unlawful order issued on him.

  • 0
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    Well done Wijeweera, keep going. This country needs more of people of your caliber.

  • 0
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    “In this particular fraud there is a second player that colluded with the fraudsters in Sri Lanka. They are the UK exporters of top end vehicles. These UK companies are complicit in this fraud ……”

    If the above comment is correct, CT should send its findings to:-
    National Fraud Authority
    Home Office
    Marsham Street
    SW1P 4DF
    Phone:0044 (0)20 7035 3431.

    The FA in UK has a special Office for High-end Offences of this nature.

  • 0
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    It is corrupt, bribery-centred leadership of the Rajapakses that has also destroyed our once respected impartial Govt-service. Honest men
    of integrity within the system shiver in the presence of their juniors
    who enjoy the close friendship of corrupt politicians. When can we, if
    ever, hope to regain a clean and honest government service.

    Puduma Ledak

  • 0
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    ah this is nothing new happens in customs all the time,remember customs man kanagasabai was set up and fiexed for not agreeing to fraud or accepting bribes hence he was fixed and arrested by the bribery boys

    perhaps our god buddy K A Sumanasekera can tell us how bribery and corruption works in SL ,maybe he can use Lee Potter as a case study and enlighten us

  • 0
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    This is budhisht country. all these underground works done by goons of our honorable and venerable king.
    I am wondering where is our so called liberators of Sri Lanka, BBS. Sihala Ravaya?

  • 0
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    MR knows best about the character of Jagath Wijeweera and his previous dealings in the SLAS. The Best man to ask is WDL Perera, well-respected former Immigration Chief and the former Customs Chief. He knows the pivotal role Wijeweera played in the immigration embezzling ill-gotten wealth of millions. This is the type of true ‘committed revenue cheats this regime looking for. The living example is PBJ, the convicted cheat, who was recalled and installed at the Finance Ministry, who has become one of the four pillars of MR’s administration. Surely this man will continue to support Jagath Wijeweera, a loyal servant.

  • 0
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    On the serious but plausible bribery charge level against Customs Chief, a high level close door conference was called in at the DGC’s office only attended by his close ‘friends’.

    It seems Jagath Wijeweera is highly worried about his unlawful order directed at Lankadeva, because he now knows that his foolish act is amounting to usurping the power given by law to all officers of customs to protect the government revenue. instead of admitting the blunder committed this man now trying to find fault with the Deputy Director Lankadeva for releasing the ‘internal memo’ to the media.

  • 0
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    justice no more in this country. it left after Rangoja took powe in this land.Top to bottom are courrupt so no need to talk justice in this country.This is a failed state,where law and order are determined according to whims and fancies of Rangoja.

  • 0
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    Although, it is correct that the DGC Mr Wijeweera had ordered Lankadeva to stop investigations and seizure of any vehicle imported by fraudulent means, there is no proof that the DGC had solicited or accepted a bribe of 100 m. Therefore, it is unfair to accused him for abuse of office with no evidence whatsoever. Lankadeva should be charged and placed under interdiction for releasing confidential internal official information to the media and bringing the public service to disrepute.

  • 0
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    God bless Sri Lanka Customs

  • 1
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    Whatever said about the DGC, the present DGC Wijeweera is much better and reasonable to the business community. In a very short period of time Mr Wujeweera has proved that his character is unparalleled to his predecessors in the recent history.

  • 0
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    As someone rightly said the Customs Department is corrupt to the core. Appointment of Wijeweera, a man with a dubious character as the DGC, only demonstrates that the man who control the Customs simply condone the corruption, and the whole system has failed betraying whole nation.

    Someone said Lankadeva Deputy Director was removed from the investigation by Wijeweera to ‘facilitate’ the revenue cheats, with the blessings of the appointment of Mali Piyasena, the head of the Revenue Task Force. Surely there is a valid point in this argument, because all the enforcement units in the Customs that is meant to prevent smuggling are equally corrupt to the core

    The best living example is the smuggling of two ethanol containers recently with the direct connivance of the head of the Preventive Division, Leslies Gamini. Thanks to information received by Excise Officers when these two containers were released by Customs both were detected by the Excise Officers. Had these containers not stopped what would have been the total loss of revenue to the Excise Department, surely it is over 50 million or more.

    Director Preventive provided full protection to the smuggler until the containers were released out of the Customs premises. He seized two containers on the basis he suspected some contraband in them. Effective he abused his position as the head of the Preventive to prevent any other enforcement officers from other fraud preventive units from taking action against the fraudster. Thereafter, once the fraudster submitted some false papers to Customs, for the clearance of the goods, Gamini simply withdrew his detention order issued to the Ports Authority.

    This is a proven fact which either Gamini or Wijeweera cannot denied at all. What was their explanation when this massive fraud was detected by the Excise officers, thanks to information about the release of the ethanol received by them? Gamini, simply said that he suspected some ‘SOLID’ but the X ray carried out revealed that the containers carried some liquid substance (Ethanol) and therefore he withdrew the seizure of the containers and allowed the ‘importer to remove them.

    After the detection of these two containers the very Customs that passed the two containers now conduct a sham inquiry. Leslie Gamini was never charged at the inquiry. Wijeweera, the prosecutors and a lawyer panel headed by another Customs Officer removed from the Service, simply provide full protection to all cheats involved in the fraud.

    People of this country who had been taken for ride have a right to know the true background information about the real state of affairs in the Customs.

    Both Wijeweera and Gamini are invited to answer these serious accusations, particularly Wijeweera for openly condoning cheats the enforcement divisions allowing total failure of the very purpose of the Customs.

  • 0
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    God bless Customs

  • 0
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    leave vehile racket but what about heroin racket? why they are silent? Whom they are trying to protect. It is sure that shipment is for reexport as a shipment from sri lanka. who will get funds not anyone other than LTTE. Who advice DGC to protect LTTE diaspora .For sure Tilak P wants to protect the culprit Ghanaraj because he look after the financial interest of TP. How much money G may have earned for LTTE. Poor DGC He is fooled by his buddies MP’, TP & smile. Is this Gota,s trust on DG No enforcement when enforcement cluster is headed by a top thief.whole sector is corrupted. No one to investigate such crimes.Investigation arm was hampered by DGC with the blessings of TP , gs.
    Genuine importeres are harresed regularly.. Ghanaraj left free to provide further support to LTTE while TP take care of him. Poor militants who sacrifice their lives to save country. ST gon thadiya is paying high price for what he did for frmer 2 DGCs.It,s not that gonthadiya pays but poor people of this country.

  • 0
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    Earlier there were two capable customs director generals namely mr sarath jayathilake and Dr nevil Gunawardena who started their career as Custom officers. But with the blessing of political authority, former DGC dr nevil gunawrdena transferred to treasury to pave the way for a frequently inefficient and timid SLAS officials who are slaves to existing regimes. So now custom union should agitate to remove this too corrupt man and should pave way for the next efficient custom service official to come to that position.

  • 1
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    Dear all,

    It’s completely bad to talk and cause about people without knowing the truth. So please think before you put it out .

  • 1
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    Ahaaa….. YAHAPALANAYA are lying in state for burial

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