The much talked ethanol smuggling racket, that denied the government billions of tax revenue is clearly an ‘inside’ operation carried out with the collusion of some Sri Lanka customs officials, holding very high profile office in the revenue fraud Preventive Directorate and government politicians, the Colombo telegraph can reveal today.
Overwhelming evidence presented to the corruption commission in this regard recently (07th April 2014) includes a phone call record, which includes 29 phone calls the Director Preventive, Leslie Gamini had with the accused who was charged for the smuggling of ethanol.
On arrival the two containers of ethanol were first detained by the Director of the Preventive Directorate, Leslie Gamini, providing a safe passage, free from any customs interference from any other enforcement units such as Central Intelligence Bureau, Central Investigation Bureau and Revenue Task Force.
Thereafter, he withdrew the detention of the containers and permitted the Ports Authority to release the two containers amongst hundreds of other containers to be taken out of the port under the normal channel (without carrying out the physical examination of the cargo).
When the containers were taken outside the port premises some excise officers seized the containers and escorted them to the excise deport for examination of the goods.
Then again the Deputy Superintendent of Customs namely Sanath Fernando (cousin of the ruling party MP Arundika Fernando) once again intercepted and seized the two containers from the custody of the excise officers and escorted them to the Customs premises again. The MP Arundika Fernando had intervened in previous cases of ethanol detections as well that had been ‘detected’ and ‘inquired’ into by the Deputy Superintendent of Customs, Sanath Fernando himself.
At the inquiry it was alleged that the seizure of two ethanol containers by the officer Sanath Fernando from the excise officers was not genuine, alleging that it was an attempt to claim the cash reward of over 10 million offered in the case. At the end of the inquiry it was ruled that the Officer Sanath Fernando or his informant are not entitled to claim any cash reward.
The phone call record, which includes 29 phone calls the Director Preventive, Leslie Gamini had with the accused who was charged for the smuggling of ethanol ;