17 April, 2024

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Politics Behind A Politician’s Gold

By Ameer Ali

Dr. Ameer Ali

“A smuggler is the only honest thief, because he steals from the government.”

Parliamentarian Ali Sabri Raheem of All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC), a breakaway party from Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), representing the constituency of Puttalam, was caught red handed a couple of weeks ago for rushing to smuggle into the country from Dubai, where he is said to have business interests, 3.5 kg of gold and dozens of hand phones without declaring them to customs authorities. He had used his VIP – why should MPs have VIP status is beyond bounds of democratic governance – to complete his golden adventure. It came to light later that this business politician had travelled six times since March this year to the same destination and flown away for the seventh time after being caught.  Were his baggage checked on previous occasions is not known. But this time it was said to be a tip off from someone or some source that alerted customs. Perhaps that gold glittered too much this time to catch an officer’s eyes.    

Ali Sabri Raheem

What is more shocking in this episode is that he had got away from the offence after paying a reduced fine of Rs.7.5 million instead of what should have been according to rules, Rs.22.5 million. Who issued the order for this reduction and why, is a mystery. However, the incident reveals a lot about how the system operates in Sri Lanka. The minister concerned claims that the fine imposed was the highest ever. The issue is not whether it was the highest or lowest, but whether the rule was applied fully. It is this discretion ministers have that allows room for corruption. The President who was in Japan at the time was reported to have ordered immediate installation of scanning devices in the VIP lounge also. Again, the question is whether the culprits the devices catch would face the full brunt of the law. Politics intervenes too much on these matters.

However, immediately after being nabbed by customs officers this parliamentarian had contacted government higher ups including the President’s office and appealed for intervention on his behalf to get him and the goods released. He would have thought that his record of support to the ruling mob would have worked in his favour. One should remember that he was one of those who voted to pass the 20th Amendment Bill brought by the Rajapaksa regime in 2020, and was rumoured at that time that he was among a few other Muslim parliamentarians who voted for that Bill after being promised cash or cabinet positions. Despite that, the same mob let him down this time.  In revenge, the said MP voted against the government when a Bill to remove the Chairman of the Public Utilities Commission was introduced. It now appears that opposition parties are wanting the removal of this MP from the legislature permanently. 

Parliamentarians, and especially cabinet ministers, using VIP privileges to bring in taxable goods including luxury cars, and walking away without declaring them to customs or paying the tariffs due on the goods is nothing new in this country. Sometime they do it on behalf of their family or business friends and party supporters. So, why was this particular MP, a Muslim, caught but fined leniently and why is the opposition wanting his removal from the legislature are something to think about given the political environment which is edging towards a Presidential Election. It is the politics behind this event and the silence of the two Muslim parties and Muslim community’s so-called apex religious body, All Ceylon Jamiyathul Ulema (ACJU) that raise serious concerns.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe having achieved a modicum of financial stability with the rupee appreciating against US$ and prices of some consumer items falling as a result, both of which may not last long, obviously wants to capitalize on that window of opportunity and go for a fresh mandate from the people. CBSL’s slashing of interest rate by 250 basis points adds further to this optimism. Yet, RW knows very well that the promised economic recovery is not going to come soon and without further burdens to bear by the community as a whole. Rupee appreciation is already hurting the country’s export sector and inflation is still high. CBSL’s recommendation to relax import restrictions without exports showing robust growth may add to inflationary pressure. Unless the whole nation is prepared to go through the IMF agenda in full, economic recovery is a fair distance away. This explains why top-ranking IMF staff are visiting in succession and engaging in discussions with opposition parties also to invite their cooperation. Its Deputy Managing Director is the latest of the visitors. IMF would wish to make Sri Lanka a successful show case. RW’s address to the nation on Friday reflects this situation.  

In his effort to canvass people support he is also embarking on the very sensitive issue of ethnic reconciliation. It is in that context the politics behind the gold smuggling incident of a Muslim parliamentarian receives added focus. Historically, Muslims are politically identified with RW’s UNP even though SLMC and ACMC had made inroads into that identity during General Elections. In the forthcoming Presidential Election Muslim votes would be crucial to RW. By not intervening to save the MP concerned RW had shown that he is not going to tolerate corruption, which IMF wants to be eradicated. On the other hand, the leniency shown by the reduced fine should be considered as his gesture to the Muslims to prove that he is still a friend of that community. The silence of the two Muslim parties and ACJU on this shameful incident endorses their acceptance of the president’s dilemma. But that is not the case with those who want to oust this MP from the parliament permanently.  

RW’s attempt at reconciliation will certainly inject fresh blood into the Sinhala Buddhist ultra-nationalist campaign. While all opposition parties except NPP are bereft of any substantially different economic program to offer as an alternative to IMF agenda, and therefore promoting in desperation the threat to democracy as the theme of a counter campaign to defeat RW, the ultranationalists within and outside those parties are preparing to raise their historic fear of threat to Sinhala Buddhist majoritarianism, were RW allowed to go ahead with his reconciliation plan. The SLPP, which is currently in bed with RW, is also not foreign to Buddhist ultranationalism and its 2020 election victory and that of its former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa were fought on that card with Muslims as the source of that threat after Tamils. The gold smuggling saga and the agitation to kick out that Muslim MP show signs of preparation to restart that dirty campaign. The recent controversy over Pastor Jerome Fernando, remanding of stand-up comedian Nathasha Edirisooriya for mocking religions, and the recent arrests of a couple of Madrasa staff from Puttalam in relation to the Easter bombing massacre, which, according to one Muslim political leader, seems to be a precursor to rearrest Hijaz Hisbullah, provide more ammunition to that campaign. The Anti-Terrorism Act, which is now put on the back burner, would soon be reintroduced to parliament and get passed to strengthen RW’s hands.        

*Dr. Ameer Ali, Murdoch Business School, Murdoch University, W. Australia

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Latest comments

  • 20
    6

    The detection of this Muslim MP’s gold smuggling is not due to Customs being vigilant. It is simply a set-up to marginalize the said member due to his ethnicity or religion so that political mileage can be gained from it. If this smuggler is sacked from parliament, it will boost the rabid SB baiya vote-base to new heights. This smuggler will become a pawn in the power play of high stakes. Customs officers are known to be very corrupt, and all protested when CCTV was going to be introduced, and as far as I know, no CCTV cameras operate around Customs precinct at BIA. Sri Lanka is not becoming a cleaner place in any way; on the contrary it is descending to lower depths each time.

    • 10
      2

      Nice suit! …….In dress, morals and ethics he is imitating Ranil !

      Ranil is mentoring the young, alright!

      Just imagine the good hundreds of Ranils can do!! :)))

    • 11
      4

      People are furious that MPs backing Ranil are both corrupt and allowing Ranil to continue without elections. Ali Sabri Raheem is one of those. The fact that he voted to keep Janaka Ratnnayake in the PUSL doesn’t count because of the very foolish explanations that Raheem gave (let’s call him that, else he’ll get confused with the Foreign Minister).
      .
      The wrath of the people is not much because the man is a Muslim. Kick the fellow out of Parliament is my own spontaneous reaction, and for most people that would have been the reaction even if the offender was a Sinhala-Buddhist. However, I haven’t got a clue as to how that can be done. In most countries the guy would have resigned.
      .
      It is possible that this was set up because Raheem is a Muslim. However, most of us in the country have been guarding against government attempts to cause religious and ethnic dissension to divert our attention from all the other evil that is being done.
      .
      Therefore, let’s treat this as an opportunity for us to bash all corrupt MPs!
      .
      Panini Edirisinhe (NIC 483111444V)

      • 11
        1

        Dubai has become the world’s number one sin city, harbouring fugitives, money laundering and gold smuggling. This shows that economy of Dubai is not that rosy as what is being painted, as otherwise they will not resort to such nefarious activities. This MP had been to Dubai 6 times between March and May. This is not the first time he had smuggled gold an he is not alone in this racket. Gold is smuggled out to India where there is great demand through Mannar Puttalam corridor, where Rishard Badurdeen is active. There was a case in Mannar courts against his wife for Human smuggling, which has been quietly put under. So it cannot be only Humans smuggling by this family. Anura Daniel who was similarly caught was removed from Parliament by JR. So why there is hesitation to do the same.

        • 9
          2

          Thanks, Gnana.
          .
          So going on what you say, the gold smuggled in so easily and for so long by the likes of Raheem, would ultimately have been taken across to India. In starving Lanka not many (apart from the class who would stash their wealth in Uganda or in Dubai itself) would today have much use for gold.
          .
          Gnana, it is time for us to get together to counter your fellow Royalist, the current Dictator. I read this article of yours with appreciation three days ago:
          .
          https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/genocide-of-tamils-in-sri-lanka-true-or-false/
          .
          but had no time to comment there. We must get away from crude stereotyping and old school ties. There are crooks in all communities, but usually among the rich. That’s how they acquired wealth. I will say more.
          .
          Comments already here:
          .
          https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-food-crisis-in-sri-lanka-why-we-must-act-now/
          .
          Notice organised red thumbs against me.
          .

          .
          .
          .

        • 5
          0

          JRJ already had in his position Anura Daniel and other MP’s
          resignations . He also knew to Reward the Right People Like
          Gonawala Sunil , a rapist , murderer and an underworld figure .

    • 2
      1

      Do you really believe in the crap you just wrote? Should be something in the Sri Lanka water.

    • 14
      0

      Lasantha you mean a pawn like Dr . Shaffi??? Rajapaksas used to travel with loads of unchecked baggage. Mahinda was a renowned fund diverter even before he became PM. Gotha bumped Lasantha for exposing corruption/ kickbacks Basil is known as Mr ??? % . Pissu Sira got his family members to do corrupt deals. Customs should have checked Dinesh and Nimal Siripala before they boarded in a hurry, leaving behind poor Thera.Ali Sabri may be right in saying majority Lankans are corrupt and immoral.

    • 10
      0

      Lasantha do you think Pastor / Natasha, Ali are scapegoats for the next big pre election show.??? I wonder who will be the mastermind this time ??? Chandrika alleged ” powerful politicians ” were behind Easter Mayhem. So “F” up , isn’t it???

      • 6
        0

        Bert, I agree, Ali should be stripped of his MP position and made accountable for the offence committed. Worse when Natasha is guilty of trumped-up charges, SOB is let off after paying paltry amount as fine, to bring more contraband. Lankan Low and Odor. As Bert said , many of out parliamentarians belong to underworld and few are financing Drug business.

    • 1
      0

      Lasantha,

      Delete the adjective ‘Muslim” in your otherwise excellent comment!

    • 4
      0

      You are right that there is no chance to custom officers become vigilant suddenly to find the smuggling of this Muslim MP. Now, they say that he has travelled to Dubai six times during the past few months. So how much worth of gold and phones and other items would have gone through his bags alone in the past and if that amount is used to calculate for 225+1. So, the country lost almost 90 billion doillars worth of tax (this is equivalent to all debt by SL)to this parliament and President office?

    • 6
      2

      Sri Lanka Customs is a very corrupt institution as far as I know. When I was a teenager, they caught me on my way back home from Singapore and asked me to give them the most favorable item in my suitcase (a handbag or a pair of shoes). Because I disagreed with the CO, we were fined heavily.

      Btw, I wonder why a man elected as a member of parliament is allowed to exercise his freedom as a businessman who frequents Dubai and cannot stand in parliament. As per my knowledge every Member of Parliament is bound to report to Parliament for his session.
      .
      Customs officers, politicians and businessmen are in that evil chain. If justice is to be done in this country, all these men and women should be hanged. Some will say JVP is the only force that can do is JVP-barbarians. However, the danger in JVP is that if you stand up against them, they will kill you like cats and dogs. Some ex-teachers may not care much about the very real danger of gaining power, but I really do.

  • 13
    0

    This MP got caught red handed to customs. Any other country he will be in remand custody especially having used parliamentary privileges to steal gold to the country. Until proper inquiry is held he should be stripped from his MP position.
    In this country thousands of protesters From Aragalaya were beaten and abused by the police and STF for asking for justice.
    These MP are political prostitutes ( I can’t remember any other word) who along with their party leaders sell their sole to Rajapkses and Ranil Wickramasighe in turns. In Sri Lanka minority ethno-religeous parties cheat their electorate to get elected and sell themselves like dirty thrash.

  • 7
    2

    It is time for true Sri Lankans to be very cautious to fall or trapped again in the hands of political cheaters. They wanted to show that country is going very fast towards development and they are very serious about racism, corruption and solving the Tamils ethnic problem and political and economic stability. Overall, you may think that the country is back to economic development with IMF and RanilW. Yes, you see IMF and its branches are giving money and our economic problems are nearly and because, there is no ques for fuel, gas cylinders, prices are dropping following the value of ruupee stregnthening, Ranil have duscussions with Japan and Tamil parties. THe arrest of a Commedian and a Monk to show that they are giving equal status to Buddhism and Other religions.
    But you all know that the Total foregin debt has now increased. We have banned imports of many products that are necessary to our industries are closed and unemployment levels are up. The Sinhalization and Buddhisisation of NE continue to increase. The earnings have gone down and and most of the skilled people are moving out of this country.
    we all know that During the good governance time and previous govt time and president election time a big time biilions of bribe excahaged to buy MPs and bond scam happened during this President’s govt.

    • 5
      0

      Ajith,
      “We all know that during the ‘GOOD GOVERNANCE’ time and previous ‘Government Time’ and president election time a big time billions of bribe exchanged to buy MPs and BOND SCAM HAPPENED DURING THIS PRESIDENT’S GOVERNMENT”
      Respectfully disagree as that was (Yahapalanaya) was jointly administered by Sorrysena as president and RW as PM!!! He had his powers curtailed and Sirisena dictated terms as to governance was done, even though he claimed, his ignorance on Constitutional Provisions, whereas he was to Protect and Uphold it as Sworn in as HoS, HoG, CiC and Head of Cabinet (HoC)!!!
      The main reason the Easter Sunday Fiasco happened and 52 day reign of MaRa by the unconstitutional back door, with uncertainty and no progress even after the STATUS QUO ANTE was restored!!!
      That showed the character of Maithripala – famous Son, who burned his fathers Chena!!??

      • 4
        2

        Mahila,
        I agree whatever you said about Sirisena and his characters but we cannot deny the fact that RWs involvement or inaction about Bondscam, Easter Bomb and bribe exchanges happened.

        • 10
          0

          If Bond scam was so genuine, why on earth Singapore govt stays mum? 🤧🤧🤧🤧?

          • 3
            0

            To my best of knowledge Singapore 🇸🇬 judiciary would nt act like that of srilanka.
            Law is law to all equally 🤔

          • 3
            0

            I perfectly know Germany 🇩🇪 would nt , so is the case with Singapore.
            .
            JVP’ S arch rivals are not Rajapakses but UNPrs. So how long can they fool SIMONS and SINHALAMEN? PLEASE DISCUSS THIS HERE,thank u

  • 8
    2

    “President Ranil Wickremesinghe having achieved a modicum of financial stability with the rupee appreciating against US$ and prices of some consumer items falling as a result, both of which may not last long,”
    Finally, a grudging admission from the omniscient Dr. Ali that things have not worked out the way he was predicting a few months ago. There are of course still some people calling for a JVP revolution, but that will pass.And then there are entitled idiots like the Mihintale loku hamuduruwo, who feel that their petty need for self-glorification is more important than the needs of patients for medicine or children for food.
    “The gold smuggling saga and the agitation to kick out that Muslim MP show signs of preparation to restart that dirty campaign.”
    What sort of logic is that? He will only be replaced by another Muslim from the National List. Big deal.

    • 6
      7

      Thanks, oc,
      .
      For what? For exhibiting the pro-Ranil bias that we now expect from you.
      .
      Panini Edirisinhe

      • 11
        3

        SM,
        “exhibiting the pro-Ranil bias”. Look who’s talking! Do I flood CT with inane and pointless videos of Ranil? You do, with hourly videos of AKD or some other JVP panjandrum. Do you even understand what the JVP ‘s economics are? At least I understand what Ranil is getting at.
        I have as much right as you to put my viewpoint forward. I have as much right to be biased towards Ranil as you have to worship some inexperienced talker.
        If you can’t produce reasoned arguments in support of your position, don’t expect others to imitate your craven loyalty.
        Can you make one joke about AKD or the JVP ? Certainly not, because you worship him. Joking about them would be blasphemy.

        • 7
          1

          OC,
          .
          Anyone stands against 89-92 barbarians, according to the joker is automatically a RW-bias.
          That proves narrow mindedness of our self proclaimed pundits. 🙄🙄🙄🙄

          • 4
            1

            The degree of narrow mindedness, I would say 🙄

    • 3
      0

      May be equally bad or Worse!!!???

  • 13
    0

    This “Smuggler MP” is not alone in the “Business”. This had been carried on for years and years, with all the “Facilities” provided by the “Customs”.

    An interesting story that came out of this “Episode” was a statement by the MP. He said to Media: ” I am not responsible. My assistant packed the bags and I didn’t know what he did”. I contacted the President’s office to get some help, but there was no response to my request. So why should I support him anymore? I voted against him in Parliament at the voting of IMF Agreement”.

    Do you remember another incident in which the then Minister Wimal Weerawanse was caught with the “Lost” and canceled passport at the airport when he tried to board a flight? He too contacted the then Prime Minister – Ranil W who “ORDERED” that he (Wimal W) be “ALLOWED” to travel.

    That is the “Political Culture” that must be done away with. Who will do that? Will, Ranil W; Sajith P, or any other from that camp would do it? NO. That is why I have some “Hope” on “JVP/NPP”.

    • 6
      0

      Simon,
      Fully agree with you in the sentiments expressed!!! Nothing could be added to it by me!
      Have a question, how is that, we are sure that NPP/JVP or AKD will deliver on that aspiration and all others differently to what is being dispensed at Present!!! It has to be a Paradigm change in Parliament, MP’s and all!!!??
      How certain are you of delivery???
      My experience 1950 todate of Sri Lankan politicians, they SPEAK DIFFERENTLY, pre-election and Post-Election!!! Best do a “Somersault and Shift Blame” everybody else, other than themselves for not verifying facts as to CAN OR CAN’T DO and keep promise after being elected!!!
      The SERVILE Uneducated Rural Folk and emancipated middle-class equally alike accept and await Next “SLAUGHTER”
      DISPICABLE PRACTICE!!!???

      • 5
        2

        Mahila: Thank you. I know some have “Doubts” about a “JVP/NPP” Government delivering what they preach. It is understandable, because they never had a chance to prove their worth, excepting a “14 months” stint with Chandrika in 1994. In my opinion, they did well even with the limited support. They left Chandrika when Prof. GLP and a group tried to work with a plan to destabilize the country by appointing LTTE’s Prabhakaran to manage a Government Institution called “Tsunami Sahana Mandalaya’ that was to be the “Sole Authority” to handle “Resettlements”; “Development’ in North and Eastern Provinces with wide “Financial Powers”. That move was debatable, but JVP stood by its principles.

        Another factor I weigh in favor of them is their “Discipline” and the “Political Culture” of “NO NONSENSE”. They showed it when MPs Wimal Weerawanse and Polgampola were “SACKED” for violating party principles.

        On the “Administrative” side, I also recognize the way it handled the National Milk Board” which was making huge losses. It was managed very well ultimately leaving a “Credit Balance” of Rs. 400 million. I know a person (known to me personally) who took over later praising and explaining the “Merits” of JVP management. He could not last long with the “New Minister” opposed to JVP.

        • 7
          1

          What is the greater difference between Viyathmaga of Gota and NPP (gaurds of 89-92 Barbarians) ?
          .
          Jayasumana or the like spread lies being associated with sinhala buddhism racists against that all innocent Dr Safi remember? .
          .
          Padadeniya, as GMOA president fooled former petrol ⛽️ assistant, ignoring the repeated warnings of agronomists and World expert, remember? .
          .
          These two are still active in the country Gota destroyed as nothing can help reverse🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄

          • 5
            0

            JVP supporters over to u@
            .
            Please answer the questions so that those who are not yet aware of the strength of JVP, can rethink and join u if ur answers would be convincing enough. Thank u 🙏

        • 2
          0

          Simon,
          Your statement is erroneous:
          “excepting a “14 months” stint with Chandrika in 1994. In my opinion, they did well even with the limited support. They left Chandrika when Prof. GLP and a group tried to work with a plan to destabilize the country by appointing LTTE’s Prabhakaran…”
          The JVP was NOT in Chandrika’s first cabinet. Do you have any actual evidence that the Milk Board made a profit under the JVP? I can’t find any link.

          • 1
            0

            Simon,
            This is what actually happened: “Upon receiving an invitation from Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga, Dr. Kurien traveled to Sri Lanka to help the nation become self-sufficient in terms of dairy production. In 1997, the NDDB established the Kiriya Milk Industries in collaboration with the Sri Lankan government. Dr. Kurien was appointed Chairman of Kiriya Milk Industries with a 51% stake owned by NDDB.”
            It was Dr. Kurien who enabled KMI (now Milco) to be efficient. But finally he was defeated by the unions, among them the JVP.
            https://indianvisionaries.com/dr-verghese-kurien/

  • 8
    0

    Srilanka’s and Ranil’s Money Boss , the IMF has predicted that Global
    Growth Will Be Slow for the Next Three Years . IMF MD Georgieva did
    the forecast . Global Growth means , Japan , China , US and the Eu all
    included . And they all will cut spending and their people will be
    obviously spending less and especially less on their wardrobes . It is
    already happening . Ranil may be right about his prosperity promise
    because he is talking to 2500 years olds and starting to grow up from
    there onward ! As for this man Raheem MP smuggling , firstly , our
    airport is notorious for smuggling on a daily basis both with and without
    the knowledge of the customs . Acceleration of smuggling started with
    the import restriction under Sirimavo and continues to date with the
    authorities doing nothing to correct the situation . What I understand
    about the situation is simply , We Have Beggars Everywhere and in Every
    Walks of Our Life . Greedy , Jealous , and Criminal Beggars Sitting On Top
    of Our Heads ! Do Something To Fell Them Down ! Instead of stopping the
    rogues they become part of them and it now happens openly and
    shamelessly .

  • 9
    0

    Gold hmm? Leave aside the tax evasion(bad as it is, they would make the whole gold fiasco a mere tax-evasion issue). How do gold markets work in the Motherland? Maybe he was bringing it over to sell to jewelry stores (rich people to buy gold jewelry for their women/men/children instead of paying taxes….is it something to do with Jerome?) . Or Ranil wants to convert IMF and/or Worker-Taxed-Money into Lankan gold reserves (instead of spending it on essential people-infrastructure). Or maybe to give as bribe-payments to boost up political parties. Gold, we all know, doesn’t come out of the blue. Money of the hardworking-suffering-Lankan-worker was used to purchase this gold! What blatant Exploitation of the Lankan Worker!

  • 7
    0

    Failure of the Police and Judiciary in addition to the action by customs officers proves that everything is screwed up in Sri Lanka. Politicians and the powerful wealthy have different rules and the poor have another.

  • 5
    1

    “A smuggler is the only honest thief, because he steals from the government.”
    Sounds clever, but it is not.
    Much that is smuggled is stolen, or narcotics or arms.
    Stolen from the government? You must be joking!

  • 6
    1

    “The gold smuggling saga and the agitation to kick out that Muslim MP show signs of preparation to restart that dirty campaign.”
    Apart from the agitation, does not the author think that the man should be in jail rather than in parliament?

    • 5
      0

      SJ,
      Parliament, tries expelling, Honourable A. S. Raheem MP, probably he’ll question Intent, Integrity & morality of Members:
      QUESTION POSED,
      “We have ‘CHAIN SNATCHING THIEVES’, BANK ROBBERS (CBSL), OTHER ALLIED SORTS OF CRIMINALS OF ASSORTED CRIMES, FALSE PASSPORT WITH DUBIOUS BIRTH DATES, DUAL CITIZENS (Non-ELIGIBLE), CULPABILITY PROVED IN COURT OF LAW MURDERERS, BRIBERY AND COMMISSION AGENTS & LOOTERS OF STATE FUNDS”!!!???
      I’m only a Simple SMUGGLER, BROUGHT IN GOLD & PHONES owned by someone else, known to me (but destined for my people) and DIDN’T KNOW WAS CRIME, to do so!!? Therefore, conformed to customs, PAID FINE AND GOODS CONFISCATED!!! No PROFIT FROM CRIME
      ALL IN THIS AUGUST ASSEMBLY PLAYING THEIR GAME!!!??? INCLUDING, THOSE FOUND GUILTY, DEMANDING BRIBE, SENTENCED TO CUSTODIAL TERM, (SUSPENDED FOR A PERIOD)!?”
      Crime is as charged by the justice system, Penance paid and THEN WHY ME ONLY!!??
      Poor guy, doesn’t understand RAMIFICTIONS OF HIS ACTION – Fervently WANTS to make contribution of difference – “livelihood of electorate” – GONE TO DUBAI for “ANOTHER TRY AND GOOD ONE TOO” –ABILITY to ensure 5000 Rupees, ¼ Bottle of gal, Chicken Biryani is well affordable by him to dispense for re-election 2025 to lend support RW – National question!!??
      Specialist constitutional amendment!!??

  • 7
    1

    ALI SA(KILI)BIRI RAHEEM is only following the foot steps of his former boss RIDHARD BADURDDEN Who made millions of rupees when he was the minister of TRADE And during the the war time MINISTER OF REHABILITATIONand after.He ably was assisted by some army top brass in vavuniya arranged to release lot of tamils who were detained is detention camps after obtaining lots of money from countries like CANADA-UK-FRANCE and most of them now are in CANADA -UK-FRANCE.SO NO POINTING BLAMING ONLY ALI SABIRI AS MOST MUSLIM LEADERS ARE KNOWN TO BE THOPPY PRADIES MEANS THEY CHANGE THEIR HATS EVERY TIME DEPENDS ON THE COLOUR OF THE GOVERNMENT GREEN-BLUE OR RED.

  • 11
    0

    Is anyone really surprised that a Parliamentarian got away by paying a nominal fine for smuggling gold? I am surprised he was caught because VIPs don’t have their baggage checked by customs. Its the poor middle eastern returnees who are harassed by customs for bringing a few household items exceeding the limit or an extra bottle of liquor. In my experience, customs first ask if the baggage belonged to the passenger or if someone else packed the bag before opening. Anyway, if it was the assistant who packed the bag, was he arrested? After all, its a commercial crime, not as if failing to declare a few personal items to be done with by paying a fine.
    Cont

  • 12
    0

    Cont.
    When the heads of state are blatantly corrupt, the minnows follow the lead. Obviously, RW can’t be serious in eradicating corruption when the Parliamentarians are continuing as usual. This guy even showed his face in Parliament soon after as it was a normal incident. At least the ACMC should kick Raheem out for bringing shame to the party, that is if they are honourable themselves. In UK, MPs had to stand down for petty offences like trying to avoid a speeding fine & Boris J had to step down because he lied to Parliament about having a ‘working’ knees up at Downing Street during lockdown. Parliamentarians are expected to be above board but in SL, we have no choice but to vote back criminals while simple people are banged up for making jokes about folklore, considered to be insulting religion. Certainly, a country like no other.

    • 4
      1

      This gold saga will be forgotten soon.he may loose his MP position but he has good connection in Dubai as he is a good Muslim he will be next ambassador too
      What happened to a case where a servant girl mystery dead.
      Minister gone to prison with live ammunition and threatened to kill…
      Four big shots including a monk took 14 yr girl for pleasure….
      Our lady minister for ganja and prostitution having forged passport and lyed about her UK citizenship.
      .
      Sathosa garlic scam….whistle blower have to flee the country to save his life..
      Pride Ceylon tea back bone of the economy, look at the way the workers being treated and the pay.getting out of the blood
      The super 69 should rid of the extravagaze Buddhism and follow the normal human principles.

  • 4
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    He got caught this time, how many times was he able to smuggle without any issues? We don’t know. Only thing that has been established so far is that he is a frequent flyer that uses the VIP lounge.
    Can the President tell the people with certainty that drugs don’t come into the country through the VIP lounge? Politicians don’t abuse the VIP lounge and its privileges’? Politicians are not a part of the active drug mafia nor are they used as moles.
    We really don’t know. We are always amused as how quick politicians become rich.

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      Bert ,

      ” Can the President tell people ……………………….through VIP lounge ? “
      Oh dear , why not give him an easier option ? Why did Mahinda and
      his PM called him a thief ? Is it true ? If it is not true then Dinesh
      should go home and if it is true He should go home ! Ask him to take
      this question on an Address to the Nation . And the other important
      question is , Do we need a leader to run our country ? If yes then He
      Must Be From Among The Thieves Of The Country ! If you say no we
      have a few good ones then those good ones have to win the thieves
      to lead them ! Egg or Chicken ?

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    Ali Sabry Raheem has taken flight to Dubai for the seventh time…………Were his baggage checked on previous occasions is not known says Dr.Ameer Ali………….
    This time around when asked whether he has anything to declare he might as well respond like Oscar Wilde……..I have nothing to declare except my Genius !

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