30 October, 2020

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GMOA’s Tax-Free Demand Is Unethical & Manifestly Wrong 

By Nagananda Kodituwakku

Nagananda Kodituwakku

Nagananda Kodituwakku

Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA), threatened trade union action to restore the tax-free permit facility for the doctors and tried to paralyze the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Administration. The government capitulated under pressure restoring the tax-free permits for doctors.

Permit holders had openly abused this tax-free permit scheme, since its inception for unjust enrichment by defrauding the government revenue

As a lawyer and a public interest litigation activist I believe in the people’s ‘right to know’ the inside untold story behind this fraudulent act.

In the first place I should say that I have no business with the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration or deposed Rajapaksa regime.

Just last November 2015 the Customs Department seized over 100 Toyota Prados vehicles at the Hambantota port imported on tax-free permits. Most of these permits had been issued to Doctors, which has been purchased by the Car importers for a substantial ‘price-tag’, ranging into 1 to 2 million rupees. These vehicles were seized for committing an allege revenue fraud. The permit holders (mostly doctors) were summoned to face a customs investigation where they admitted selling their permits, which was initially prohibited by allowed later by the former Rajapaksa regime.

These permits are issued under the Customs law (Section 19A) in the ‘Public Interest’, that granting of such a facility would enable the recipient of the permit to discharge the office effectively.

Doctors are not the only swindlers who abuse this permit scheme for unjust enrichment, but all other professionals, Parliamentarians and Cabinet of Ministers do the same with a scant respect to the Rule of Law.

When the Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake announced in his 2015 budge proposals to discontinue with this wrongful practice all right thinking people overwhelmingly approved it. Then as the Parliamentarians raised a strong protest, the so-called policy was withdrawn, accommodating the politicians. And further to protests made by other professionals, including doctors, the policy was further relaxed to accommodate all of them.

Wrong is wrong, regardless of the office held by the persons concerned. This country has suffered enough in the hands of the cheats for decades and should not afford this form of blatant abuses to continue unchecked.

In my view, the Prime Minister should request the Director General of Customs to make available the names of all Doctors, who have sold their duty free permits and also the details of the vehicles seized by Customs at the Hambantota Port with the information of the total amount of revenue defrauded by this abuse.

The Prime Minister should respect people’s right to know this information and expose this abuse to the general public, who are treated unequally, forcing them to pay penal levies, even for the basic cheapest cars they import, in most cases the government levy on which is more than the value of the vehicle.

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Latest comments

  • 10
    3

    Keep it up Nagananda. We admire your efforts. These dirty rotten scoundrels masquerading as doctors and being held in awe by the public must be exposed.

    This problem with our society where we still believe in the age old adage, ‘Rajakama nathinam Vedakama’ and adducing over the top respect must be watered down. Most doctors now practicing in our country are ‘dostara mudalali’s’ and must be addressed as such. Hypocrites of the ‘Hippocratic Oath’.

  • 7
    11

    This is unfair.If some are accused of fraud with the permit they should be dealt with the law.Punishing all the others who benefit from this scheme is not the answer.
    The country need to encourage professionals to do their part for the motherland and look after their welfare is also equally important .We cannot move forward without them.This is a part of maintaining living standards.
    Car is a basic item in modern world.In western countries even labourers and cleaners come to work by car.Depriving doctors and other professionals from getting a decent car is not the way forward.
    After all they have gone through lots of hardships in lives and they deserve some comforts.
    If we think rationally and far ahead we need to take measures to lookafter professionals we have.No point crying about brain drain when we don’t take seriously enough the limited resources intelligence we have.

    • 3
      4

      What is unfair? Every act of fraud should be investigated and punished.
      Have you forgotten that 95% of these jokers have had free education? Monies which could have been utilised for development.
      Do you approve of the huge sums of money earned in private practice by these doctors?
      Professionals! Professionals! Proffesionals! this is all we hear everyday.
      Ninety percent of these so called professionals are a bunch of jokers. (my opinion)
      I suggest that the duty free concession should only be afforded to the people in govt service for a period of 10years and should only be a one off thing.

      • 3
        3

        Yes you are right.Fraud should be investigated and culprits should be penalised.There is no doubt about that.However,the point I raise is different.This writer maliciously attempt to distort the facts by saying all of the professionals including doctors are abusing this system wrongly.I know personally some professionals who work hard for the money who got benefited from this scheme.It is easy and heroic to bash doctors and other professionals because they enjoy privileged positions in society.But if we are honest to ourselves they deserve it because they have worked hard their way through to be like that.
        Moment the name ”doctor” comes out the picture one get is a vulture who sucks out blood from poor patients or a heartless monster who earns mega bucks through private practise disregarding the well being of the patient.This is wrong in my experience as there are so many doctors sacrifice their personal well being and work hard to fulfil the duty sincerely day and night in many places of the country.I am speaking on behalf of them and not about those blood sucking vampires.Our health indices are best in our region and if not for the commitment shown by those hard working medical professionals this would not have been achieved.Isn’t it Ok to be little grateful for the hard work they do.

        • 2
          2

          Priya,
          Not only doctors, every citizen of the country work hard which ever way they can and try to be somebody in the society. Doctors were able to do better academically than others hence they are better paid than others who did not do well. However, this car permit business need to stop. There should be no permits to any citizen. Among all, doctors with their higher earnings should be able to buy a vehicle with taxes paid. If a street sweeper wants to buy a car they should also be able to buy with taxes paid. Taxes are an essential part of a country’s growth. How much revenue is lost for the country by issuing these tax concessions? Sri Lanka can’t afford this.
          Also, doctor strikes are not going to end. In the future there will be more strikes for various benefits they come up with. The gov. will not be in a position to afford such expenditure. It is time for the gov. to think seriously of privatizing healthcare.

          You talk about our health indices being the best in the region. Here most credit goes to preventive care programs implemented by the gov. When did your OPD guy or the specialist talk to you for more than 5 minutes? How much time did he spent with you explaining preventive measures? Most credit for low health indices is due for lower level healthcare workers at village level.

          • 0
            1

            Don’t agree with you Mr.
            Have been to some other countries and felt how privileged we are with our health care system both public and private sector.I have had struggles in some places just to find a suitably qualified doctor no matter the amount of money I had to pay.
            It is not only the ground level preventative medicine make the difference.Undoubtadly they play a major role.However if some one is sick in our country the basic health care is available in many corners free of charge .There may be inadequacies and malpractices in all this but still the service is commendable.
            A major operation like heart surgery will be done free of charge in the national health service and there are many doctors including other health professionals like nurses allied health care workers do a commited job day and night.
            We always see the big names who are channel kings making mega bugs.But vast majority silently do a great service and if you ignore that that it is bit unfair by them.Everyone has to work.On principle that is right .Everyone had the benefit of free education and that is also right.However when you see the number of Prados BMWs and Mercs on the roads I belive the professionals who play a pivotal role in the society should be given some concessions for a better quality life.It will have no negative impact on the economy and infact it may work possitively as more of them will will decide to stay back in the country rather that migrating.
            Most of the professionals leave country because we have no system to lookafter their well being.
            Afterall I am sure you will agree that in our country if one get sick with some serious illness we have enough capable people to Lookafter that person either in the public or private sector.This is not the case in many parts of the world and it does come with some effort and commitment. Failure to acknowledge this is not fair in my view.(saying this repeatedly)
            We may always see the privileged side they enjoy and not the hard work they are commited to do.All in all I belive they deserve these little perks definitely more than the politicians if not others.Thank you very much.

  • 6
    4

    We need a few citizens like this Writer to expose the wrongs committed both by politicians and others. The integrity of people in the country has so declined to levels even those once highly respected Doctors, Lawyers and other professionals have become easily “buyable” Ironically, there are so many cars in the streets of Colombo traffic jams have become a daily sight with motorists trapped within for hours.

    This proposed car permit for Govt. servants once in ten years appears to be a move in the right direction.

    It is time to name and shame those who defraud the country selling their car permits is given maximum exposure in the media so that this new brand of crooks are brought to book.

    Leslie Mostley

  • 4
    3

    I think you are going to be waiting for a long time for this government to do the RIGHT thing. Their morals are being challenged on a daily basis and they figure no one is noticing them lacking any.

    Unfortunately Mr Wickremesinghe is surrounded by a team of racketeers and must choose which rackets can be exposed. And, there are not any!

    The doctors have been enjoying these perks since 1978 when JRJ gave them tax free channelling earnings and duty free cars. Instead of calling their bluff, the govt did what it was expecting to do in the first place…restore the old practice after every one had their moment on TV pretending to protect the public coffers.

    This is what it is all about. Acting and pretending. The entire group have become so good at it that it is now their daily reality.

    They think WE the thinking public are the stupid ones!

  • 2
    1

    “In the first place I should say that I have no business with the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration or deposed Rajapaksa regime”.

    Every lawyer in the island know it is the truth. That is why no one dare challenge you in court. Tilak Marapana was aprime example. He resigned not because RW wanted him to, but he knew he had to face you one day, if he didn’t. The fate of the Minister of Justice will be the same for sure.
    Anyway, thanks for deciding to join in. Look after yourself.
    ‘Sukee Hothu, Deerga Aayou’.

  • 6
    2

    Nagananda for Minister of Justice (replacing the crooked Rajapakse)!

    The only problem would be that no ethical individual would want to be part of the corrupt bunch of con-men pretending to have the interests of the country at heart!

    What a sorry state of affairs for Sri Lanka!!

  • 9
    1

    Mr. Nagananda: You want the names of Doctors who have sold their permits and the vehicles seized. Why only the Doctors names? We want to know who are ALL the people issued with such permits and sold such permits. This list MUST include all the “Religious Leaders” – meaning the Clergy and their respective, Temples, Churches (both Christian and Muslim) and the Kovils and HOW MANY such permits were issued to each of those institutions. We know how this “Duty Free Permit” system was used as a “GIFT” by those in Power to gain political advantage. So let us not segregate only the “Doctors”; but get to know of all those who were given these “Hand Outs”. Then only we will be able to correctly assess whether this “Scheme” was properly “Used” or “Abused”.

    • 4
      0

      I agree with you douglas. This is only the start. Every one need a staring point and so did Nagi. Being a loving husband and father, he has had a few extremely busy years in ‘Sorry Lanka’and in UK. Be patient Douggy.

  • 8
    0

    Politicians also abuse the permit. Ban it for them too?
    Doctors do a greater service than our dick head politicians

  • 9
    2

    Sri Lankans are attracted to the medical profession for all the wrong reasons. They are not driven by an urge to heal the sick.

    They seek a medical education to seek higher status in rotten Sri Lankan society. To be well married materially. To enrich themselves.

    Strikes by doctors endangering health and lives of patients is immoral. An insult to an otherwise noble profession.

    Cheers!

  • 6
    4

    Doctors are the only public servants on duty and/or ‘on call’ for 24 hours a day & 7 days each week – every other Sunday is given as an ‘off’ day, only when practicable, with others covering up.

    Every patient admitted to hospital, has to be seen within 15 minutes, day or night.
    Hence they need reliable transport from home to place of work.

    Many other public servants with fixed hours of duty, during daytime only, were allowed duty free vehicles.
    If so, why not doctors.
    In developed countries, doctors’ accommodation is available in the hospital premises, because of their urgently required presence at all hours.

    If any doctor sold his permit, certainly there should be disciplinary action.
    But calling them ‘swindlers’ without proof is wrong.

    Almost all politicians, ever since JRJ commenced this ‘duty-free’ vehicles concession, have sold their permits.
    None were prosecuted.

    • 2
      0

      Doctors are the only public servants on duty and/or ‘on call’ for 24 hours a day & 7 days each week

      What about ancillary staff…? Nurses, Attendants etc ? Dont they deserve DF Permits also ?

      Every patient admitted to hospital, has to be seen within 15 minutes, day or night.

      Really ?? Does this ever happen ? If a patient is seen within 15 minutes, it is by a triage nurse. Additionally, if a doctor is on-call, he usually supposed to be in quarters, close by… where he can make himself available

      I say that NO ONE should get duty free permits. If anyone wants a dam’ car, let them go buy one at market rate !! If government servants want cars, let them draw their official vehicles from government stores… to be returned at the end of their tenure

      END THIS RIDICULOUS CASTE-BASED SYSTEM

      • 1
        1

        They work shifts, and go home when they finish their shifts. Not a difficult concept to understand.

  • 5
    2

    Tax-free permits scheme has been an achilles heel for Srilankan doctors. It is morally undefensible and I had a hard time defending my colleagues in Srilanka in facebook.

    While supporting complete abolition of tax-free permits, I suggest there should be government led incentives to support the specialist grade officers (interest free car loan). it is an obvious fact that honest hardworking government servants will never achieve financial independence in Srilanka, if their sole income is derived from government service.

    We are producing at least 800 doctors from the local universities and Most of our energetic doctors gets frustrated with bottlenecks in the system and the lack of financial security. Our country is already facing a brain drain and my main concern is that it will be a greater loss to lose these young minds in comparison to tax concessions.

    • 1
      1

      Indefencible not Undefencible
      Error correction

  • 7
    0

    Dearie me, Mr Kodituwakku.

    Nice try! YES, let us have the PM give us the names of doctors et al who have ‘abused’ their permits. BUT, put this latest lot in a long queue. We are waiting first for the PM to release a long list of those politicians, their cronies, relations, and other hangers-on, who have screwed us the people, left, right, and centre over the last ten years. Is there any chance that we will see this outstanding list of rogues any time soon? See what you can do when you get a chance to ask the PM?

  • 2
    2

    Totally agree. RW & MS both have let down the right thinking majority who voted them into power.

    It is time for the civil society to agitate against these corrupt Doctors and their demand for the permit.

    Need to do something against issuance of duty free vehicle permits.

  • 2
    2

    Spot on Mr.Nagananda.

    I had posted elsewhere on CT that this Duty free permits is a Legalised Fraud.At a point of time when a large cross-section of Srilankanks are unable to survive,granting benefits to those who are already privileged is a bloody crime!
    The GMOAs strike on this issue was unethical and ugly.

    • 1
      2

      The medibusinesswalas r ugly not only because of this grossly and

      Unbelievably immoral threats but they and their cabal the GMOA are just ugly
      They are with rare exceptions indecent blood suckers
      As a trade union have they ever raised their hands for any non selfish cause?
      It is well known that most of them use their hospital positions only to boost their private practice another name for business

  • 7
    3

    A fraud perpetrated on the general public, who are also held to uncocienable ransom by the medical profession serving the public service, The attitude of the medical profession and medical students in the public universities against private medical schools is also sickening.

    I have heard the story that early doctors had one pocket at the back of their coat and their patients used to drop what ever payment they wished into this. These doctors who followed their oath in both letter and spirit, were ashamed to demand a fee and embarrass their poor patients. With time the pocket moved to the front and there after multiplied and with that their greed!

    I think it was George Bernard Shaw who once said ‘ All professions are a conspiracy against the laity!’.

    Can the decision to continue granting duty free permits be challenged in the Supreme Court, as it is discriminatory?

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

    • 2
      3

      GOSL should not back down to GMOA mafia. It does not have people’s support.

      Neglect or refusal to treat patients should be criminalized. Cuz’ it puts life and health of innocent people at risk.

      Society should not let GMOA hold the sick & the country to ransom. While they whine about a birthright to hold bogus car permits. Financed by the impoverished public.

  • 1
    0

    Hi,

    Nicely asked. Yes the general public in srilanka is taken for a ride by some corrupt politicians and some intellectuals who are abusing the entire system. Our PM and the government officials have a responsibility not only to expose names but to punish the culprits by law. This has to stop or no point in creating revolutions and changing governments.

    Regards,

    Srilankan.

  • 3
    1

    Thank you for re-exposing this corrupt practice conducted at the expense of all other tax paying public. I strongly believe that the recommendation to expose the names of corrupt doctors and take legal action against them must be extended to all other individuals and professionals that sold their permits, and more importantly to all the MPs and ministers. The latter are the representatives of people, and must set a good example to the public. Here they greedily defraud the public, cause mistrust of politicians, and they must be severely punished. Pigs with snouts in the trough…that is what they are!

  • 5
    2

    Conflicts of interest: I am a practicing doctor and a public servant of the government of Sri Lanka.

    1. First of all it’s not illegal to sell the permit to another party. You say you’re a lawyer. I can’t understand how you didn’t know that.
    Why are you asking to round up those who sold the permit like they’re criminals when what they did was perfectly legal.

    2. You fail to mention it’s not a 100% tax waiver. It’s a tax concession and for only 15%. We still pay 85% of tax.

    3. We are also okay with abolishing the permit. But if that is done, then the official vehicle with fuel and a driver, to which we are actually entitled should be provided.
    The permit was provided because that was impractical to provide. But you seem to think otherwise.

    4. I’m 100% agreeing to making the permit non-transferrable. But if so all permits including ministers should be treated the same.
    Since this is the only issue you’ve raised in your lengthy but ultimately “raise one point” article, this solution will solve it.

    • 1
      3

      I am sure you declare 100% of what you earn from private practice and pay up the taxes !

    • 3
      0

      Naveen,

      “1. First of all it’s not illegal to sell the permit to another party. You say you’re a lawyer. I can’t understand how you didn’t know that. Why are you asking to round up those who sold the permit like they’re criminals when what they did was perfectly legal.”

      I also believe that it is legal now (earlier it was not!) and even the writer seems to admit it.

      “2. You fail to mention it’s not a 100% tax waiver. It’s a tax concession and for only 15%. We still pay 85% of tax.”

      Correct again. With a permit the tax is lower. Most people seem to think that the government gives a car for some public servants free of charge. Totally wrong.

      “3. We are also okay with abolishing the permit. But if that is done, then the official vehicle with fuel and a driver, to which we are actually entitled should be provided. The permit was provided because that was impractical to provide. But you seem to think otherwise.”

      Please note that you are unlikely to represent all the doctors and there is an even bigger problem with the other senior government servants.

      Why do the doctors sell their permits if they really need a car? Do they have one already or buy a cheaper one?

      “4. I’m 100% agreeing to making the permit non-transferrable. But if so all permits including ministers should be treated the same.”

      The treatment (pun intended) should be the same for all.

    • 3
      0

      Vehicle is a simple requirement for people to travel and the price of a vehicle in SLis I think the most expensive in the world. The stupid taxes make cars unaffordable and make people resort to various things to circumvent the price.

      Until there is high vehicle taxes, we cannot develop Sri Lanka!,Cost of vehicle is a deterrent and encourage crap Indian vehicles to the country.

      Doctors do a respectable job and they need their vehicle to do their job.
      In any country, including India, a vehicle costs less than your annual salary!
      Either you give them a decent salary or reduce the vehicle prices.

      I kind of like the second as it will help to develop the country!

  • 1
    0

    I think the mistake was in relenting on this issue with Members of Parliament. MP’s are entitled to a Government vehicle to attend to their work in the electorate. It is only in rare cases where such a vehicle has not been provided and when that happens it is cheaper for the GOSL to provide a car at its cost rather than continuing with the scheme which has cost the country dearly. Irrespective of which Government introduced the scheme, it is one that Ravi K correctly thought of ending. However it comes as no surprise that once MP’s were granted the concession once more all others would clamour for theirs.

    We go one step forwards and then two backwards, so the path of the nation is clear or all to see, not Singapore but Sudan.

  • 0
    0

    Traffic problem cannot be resolved by reducing number of new vehicles. people will buy old vehicles and repair them and drive. This will increase environment polution. In vehicles are recycled to reduce polution. Luxary bus service should be introduced. Encourage rich people to use it. cars should be used durring weekends and to take a patient to hospital

  • 2
    1

    some doctors are from the rural sector. They are bright and face hardship to become doctors. Their families take loans to educate their children. They face the threat of unemployment with excess doctors from private medical schools. They may end up in the streets. They need to be compensated and insured . The rural doctors are not given scholarships for specialization nor training in the best teaching hospitals. While the poor bright doctors suffer others use money to specialize and gain large patients in specialization. They should be made to pay taxes and duties as they are the ones who defraud the public. The low earning doctors should get duty free benefits.

    • 0
      0

      Ranil, Naveen

      When I finished my post graduation to become a consultant in Srilanka, sizable proportion of lucrative senior consultant posts in colombo were held by doctors from private medical college (For the attn of Dr RN). I have high regard for their outstanding contribution. However there was lack of financial incentives for being a hard working doctor from a local university . Doctors needs money for a number of reasons,for example for paying the debts back and continuing their medical education.

      I like to quote Dr Ragunathan’s( Senior consultant) post on FB. Any body could say that the attitude of doctors is atrocious, but they fail to see the doctor’s behaviour is partly representing our behaviour in general. training and discipline could change this and there will be a bunch of doctors who are rotten.

      This is a time for reflection rather than throwing brickbats.

  • 1
    0

    Read what “Naveen” ( a doctor in practice) has to say. This could be correct and most importantly he too is FOR “Non Transfer” of this “permit”. Thats how it was when originally introduced; but the approval to transfer and make money came later resulting in the ABUSE of the system. Also originally it was given to a certain category of those engaged in “essential services” who needed a vehicle. Then how did it extend to CLERGY of religions and they got not ONE but in certain cases MANY. They too sold and made PROFITS (huge) on the sale. Although it was intend to be a GIFT to them, it was in fact a “BRIBE” because the sale brought them huge profits.Now this “PERMIT” is a “Cash Cow”. That is why I asked that too be published.

    anonymous: I will be patient. Thank you.

  • 2
    0

    Nagananda Kodituwakku,

    Thank you for your efforts. Please continue with your work.

    I can understand that doctors with private practice in the bigger cities can afford even expensive cars.

    What I don’t understand is how do senior government servants (think it is called executive level) pay for their expensive vehicles with the salaries they earn. Do not common Japanese cars cost 4 million even with a permit? Somebody should find out where the money comes from.

    I read in the media that a MP earns 80000 a month. If this is true how do they manage to pay for the very expensive vehicles they drive? Is their salary higher than 80000 with allowances or can we suspect corruption?

    I believe that there are or were special car loans with low or even negative interest for the MPs but loans should be paid back.

    What do the politicians and senior government servants live on if all the income goes to pay a vehicle?

  • 1
    0

    “last November 2015 the Customs Department seized over 100 Toyota Prados vehicles at the Hambantota port imported on tax-free permits. Most of these permits had been issued to Doctors, which has been purchased by the Car importers for a substantial ‘price-tag’, ranging into 1 to 2 million rupees. These vehicles were seized for committing an allege revenue fraud.”

    Who is suspected of revenue fraud? The persons who sold their permits or the car importers? Both?

    • 0
      0

      While it seems the selling and buying of permit is not illegal, I guess a case can be made that attempts have been made to defraud the government of it’s legal tax revenue

      • 0
        0

        maalumiris,

        “I guess a case can be made that attempts have been made to defraud the government of it’s legal tax revenue”

        Please note that it is the government and MPs who decide on the permits.

        This abuse exists because of the politicians. They have started it and they can stop it.

        Does the situation make any sense?

  • 4
    0

    It is observed that some are clearly disturbed by this exposure. However, I must make clear that the purpose of this exposure is not just to discredit the dishonest medical professionals but to bring it to the notice of the people about the colossal loss of government revenue incurred by this fraudulent exercise.

    As cited in the article there are Parliamentarians, Cabinet of Ministers and some of those who hold high offices in the public sector who shamelessly indulge in this financial crime insulting the poor for unjust enrichment.

    There can’t be two classes of citizens in this country where the supreme law the Constitution says all citizens are equals.

    It is only I, as a public interest litigation activist, who have challenged this abuse in the Supreme Court. And in one matter which was taken up today (10th Dec 2015), I have demonstrated with evidence presented in Court that an ordinary citizen who imports a Suzuki Alto car with 650 cc pays 135% of the value of the car as levies (Rs 1,485,000.00) whereas a car importer who abuse tax free permit gets a duty waiver of Rs 8,200,000.00 on a Mitsubishi Montero Jeep (3200cc) imported on such a permit.

    This is the naked truth in this abuse, which cannot be justified by any means.

    • 1
      0

      Nagananda,

      Thank you for taking this to the Supreme Court and the media exposure. It is high time for somebody to expose this problem.

      “However, I must make clear that the purpose of this exposure is not just to discredit the dishonest medical professionals but to bring it to the notice of the people about the colossal loss of government revenue incurred by this fraudulent exercise.”

      You are correct about the massive revenue loss but if it is now legal to transfer the permits have the doctors and others who have sold their permits done something illegal?

      If I remember correctly it is now even written on the permit that it is transferable.

      “As cited in the article there are Parliamentarians, Cabinet of Ministers and some of those who hold high offices in the public sector who shamelessly indulge in this financial crime insulting the poor for unjust enrichment.”

      Is “unjust enrichment” a crime? Are you maybe mixing ethics and the common idea of justice with the Penal Code?

      “And in one matter which was taken up today (10th Dec 2015), I have demonstrated with evidence presented in Court that an ordinary citizen who imports a Suzuki Alto car with 650 cc pays 135% of the value of the car as levies (Rs 1,485,000.00) whereas a car importer who abuse tax free permit gets a duty waiver of Rs 8,200,000.00 on a Mitsubishi Montero Jeep (3200cc) imported on such a permit.”

      Quite correct but again I ask you where is the crime if transferring the permits is legal. In my opinion this is not fraud. It is generating max profits for all involved private parties legally and capitalism is like this.

      I am not saying that this system should continue. I was very happy to read about the plan to ban all of these permits.

      “last November 2015 the Customs Department seized over 100 Toyota Prados vehicles at the Hambantota port imported on tax-free permits. Most of these permits had been issued to Doctors, which has been purchased by the Car importers for a substantial ‘price-tag’, ranging into 1 to 2 million rupees.”

      Can you please publish the details of this case? As you know there are different kinds of permits for different CIFs and maybe the tax is also not the same for different kinds of permits.

      Do ordinary doctors receive a 50000 USD permit that allows them to import a Prado or Montero? I have thought that the usual permit is for 30000 USD and the 50000 USD for politicians.

      I am absolutely sure that the ordinary doctors working in the rural areas who have no significant income from private practice due to lack of paying patients cannot pay for a Montero or Prado. They will sell their permits for additional income and buy a small car instead.

      Should not the Internal Revenue Service stop all the Monteros, Prados etc to ask how they have been paid for? There are very few people who can buy such cars with totally legal income.

      • 3
        0

        Inspector Dirty Hari,

        Even University teachers were/ are provided duty free/reduced permits. I know many have sold these permits and yet travel by bus in Jaffna. May be true in other universities.

        I think the solution is to reduce the duty on all vehicles and impose an annual , heavy road tax on them. I think many countries employ this measure to discourage private vehicle ownership.

        Sri Lanka however has to invest in efficicient, safe, fast and clean public transport systems to encourage mass transport.

        I remember when I was in school, we either walked or cycled. It is becoming difficult to see children cycling to school in Colombo. This is because the roads are not safe anymore. It is time the big cities developed bicycle lanes, like cities in Europe. The need for children to travel to distant schools, should also be eliminated. Medical professionals of all categories in government service need to be provided official quart Sr. In close proximity to hospitals, to reduce their need to travel long distances.

        The demand for private car ownership should be reduced, while also discouraging car ownership as a status symbol.

        However, no citizen should be favored over another in providing such preveleges. Every citizen serves this country in one capacity or other. No service is less vital than another. Every one has to lea n a trade and has to work to learn it and practice. If any one afford to buy a safe, giood quality vehicle at a price that another would pay.

        Dr.RN

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          Dr RN,

          “Even University teachers were/ are provided duty free/reduced permits. I know many have sold these permits and yet travel by bus in Jaffna.”

          I think that the majority of the “permit receivers” in Jaffna have sold their permits. Are most of the doctors, vets, lecturers, principals and other government servants here criminals? My understanding is that at the moment it is legal to transfer the permits.

          In my opinion the salary of some government servants, for instance, doctors and vets in the rural areas should be higher. At the moment many of them are forced to work in the villages. Another problem they face are the transfers.

          The government should stop the permits and pay higher salaries instead. The salaries and other income should be taxed like in other countries.

          Very few people in Jaffna own a car all though there are many more cars now than 5 years ago.

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            Can anything that goes against the underlying principles of the constitution and accepted civilized norms, ever be legal? Do wrong administrative decisions become legal? Should a government be blackmailed to act wrongly or reverse right decisions? If someone is given the prevelege to import a duty free car, because it will help him/ her work, what is the justification to sell it? Is’nt it at worst absolutely immoral, even if the act has been given the veneer of legality?

            Dr.RN

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    We the People salute Mr Nagananda Kodituwakku for his courage to speak out against all forms of corruption in Sri Lanka. He has done this consistently and forcefully, many times during the previous regime even putting himself in danger of being harmed.

    We the People join all right thinking people of our dear country Sri Lanka to present to the President and Prime Minister, SRI LANKA’S PERSON OF THE YEAR: MR NAGANANDA KODITUWAKKU.

    In this same vein, We the People also recognise and laud Mr A K Dissanayake who almost singlehandedly helped to shift the balance of power with his incisive, accurate and forceful speeches during the last Presidential elections, which resulted in the toppling of the previous regime which milked the country dry and lorded over and made effete every facet of governance.

    It is persons such as Mr Kodituwakku and Mr Dissanayake who richly deserve Sri Lanka’s highest honour, not the thieving jokers who call themselves politicians; not even the jokers who don’t steal but who have no backbone or principle to clean the augean stables of the unholy mess that has set in since Sri Lanka received its independence.

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    I am somewhat encouraged by the comments, in that, it is clearly shown that the “thieving jokers who call themselves politicians” (described by “We the People”) are no doubt the culprits who must be taken to task. It is in that sense, I earlier appealed in my earlier comments to all, including Doctors, who are planning to have Trade Union action to “set aside” such moves for now and to resolve to call for the REMOVAL of all PERKS of the Politicians that would include Pensions, Duty Free Car Permits,Special Allowance for the days attending the Parliamentary sessions, Housing in Colombo etc. etc. If this happens those “Thieving Joker Politicians” will learn the “Bitter Lesson” that the PEOPLE are capable of IMPOSING upon them. To do that, if all the working people bring a days work to a “Grinding Halt” as an indication of what is in stock for them, they would be given a “Lesson to Learn” signal. That could be the START to CLEAN the stable of this unholy mess set in Sri Lanka.

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    All who doubt what I wrote about doctors’ duties can easily verify by visiting a hospital, asking the medical superintendent and the nursing staff.
    Cars are a necessity, not a luxury, for doctors.

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    Doctors are getting a bashing today over Duty Free Permits issue mainly due to the selfish attitude adopted by the successive leaderships of the GMOA. They never wanted to join hands with any category of workers in taking a stand against common problems affecting the working class or general public. When the members of FUTA (Federation of University Teachers’Associations) staged a 3 months work stoppage demanding increased wages and increase in Government spending for education, GMOA did not even issue a Statement supporting their just cause. When the Rule of Law was not upheld by the last regime in a glaring and a dangerous manner the Chieftains of the GMOA took up cases relating to intimidation and assault of their members only by staging wild cat strikes.
    If Doctors are purely remunerated people will not grumble if it is addressed by the Government. If they think that the Government should be more considerate towards them they especially the Specialists whoi earn millions monthly through privateactice too should be considerate towards suffering masses by paying income tax in a fair manner. Ranjith

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      My assumption is that ruler of GMOA(ra daniel dawal migel)looked after himself and UFPA.

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      In australia recently some doctors were reported to have protested about the governments treatment of asylum seekers in detention camps.

      In this country have any of our doctors or their gang shop the GMOA ever raised their hand about the pittance paid the disabled, the total inadequacy of facilities for the sick and the diseased or about the beggarly allowances paid to the poor – less for a whole month than what they extract for a consultation of a few minutes even from those who have to mortgage their houses to pay them?

      they protest about CEPa – why r doctors worried about this? they do not want their filthy monopolistic charges brought down by competition or possibly better patient care.

      We had sometime back the incredibly indecent proposal by the GMOA that government doctors should be allowed to treat private patients during work hours!!!

      Because they had themselves kicked out the Indian doctors on the basis of their mambo jumbo about qualifications. This reeks of the stink of self serving medieval guilds which have been got rid of in most areas. Except in the medical business because these pain merchants always manage to have the ear of sick and ailing men and women at the top of the political rungs.

      If doctors need cars as they bleat here – let them buy them – they can afford them more than any of us. They r hard working!!! my foot – no more than all my neighbours who work in their minuscule fields and wait in the bus stand in the hot sun for hours.

      The remedy is to have twenty more medical schools and get these fellows to compete for their daily bread. Break their pain business monopoly. Let them strike for lower bread prices as we do, not for stinking duty free cars.

      They r obscene – this bunch of pain merchants.

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    let the private hospitals provide these millionaires vehicles, after all they make millions at a the expense of the poor masses.

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