17 November, 2018

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President Sirisena & Mahinda Rajapaksa Are In The Car Permit Scam!

By Nagananda Kodituwakku

Nagananda Kodituwakku

Sri Lanka: A Failed State with no Direction?

It is a hard truth that no country can move forward when those hold office and exercise people’s Executive and Legislative power are absolutely corrupt. However, it is very unfortunate that in the case in Sri Lanka, where the people are being ruthlessly and openly abused by utterly corrupt politicos, who attempt to show the outside world that in Sri Lanka the rule of law prevails. However, the track record of the new regime for the last two years proves otherwise.

New Govt (MS-RW) pledges to combat corruption

In its first fiscal policy statement of the new MS-RW regime, presented to the Parliament on 20th Nov 2015, Ravi Karunanayake, the Finance Minister, went on to declare that the tax free car permit schemes adopted by the previous MR regime was open to abuse where the government had been incurring a revenue loss of Rs. 40 billion a year, hence proposed to abolish all tax free permits including the issuance of such permits to MPs. An extract from his speech is given  below.

‘… Honorable Speaker, the vehicle permit schemes have been politicized and misused and have created a huge revenue loss over Rs. 40 billion a year to the Government. I propose to abolish all the vehicle permits granted under different schemes, including to Parliamentarians. However, I ensure all government officers will be financially compensated for the benefit foregone. Further, all the vehicles purchased to the Government will be subject to all applicable taxes and necessary allocations will be provided in the Budget…’

In spite of this bold declaration it is very unfortunate that the same Finance Minister violated the pledge made to the people within a span of just 60 days.

President Sirisena pledges to address people’s desire to fight corruption 

Whilst attending the World Anti-Corruption Summit in London on 12th May 2016, President  Sirisena made a thought-provoking pledge to the world community accepting the responsibility to establish an administration free from all forms of corruption. He declared that ‘Corruption is one of the factors that promote political violence and other forms of human rights abuses. Sri Lanka went through such a stage during the previous administration. The people reacted strongly against corruption by changing the corrupt administration by the power of the ballet in January 2015 at the Presidential Election and again at the Parliamentary Election in the August 2016…’

And President Sirisena also declared that the current national unity government consists of two major political parties in the parliament under his leadership and the other led by Prime Minister Ranil Wickermesinghe both of whom were elected to office on the policy platform of democracy, good governance and rule of law with a prime duty to root out of corruption from the country.

Prime Minister Wickramesinghe’s stand against corruption

Ranil Wickremesinghe’s main slogan at the General Election held in August 2015 too was to eradicate corruption in the government business and to establish a government free of corruption that respects sovereignty in the people which includes the legislative, executive and judicial power.

The said declared policy against corruption by the government had been in line with the government fiscal policy enunciated in the Fiscal Management (Responsibility) Act No 3 of 2003 which reads as,  ‘Directing Principles and State Policy of the government’ and states that the government shall formulate its Fiscal and Economic Policy, having regard to the financial impact of its decisions on future generations [section 3 (g) of the Act] enacted inter alia to ensure and facilitate public scrutiny of fiscal policy and performance of the government.

Local and international media gave maximum publicity to the bold stand taken by the govt of President Sirisena to fight corruption whilst the citizens placed total trust in the Government’s declared policy against corruption. The international community as a whole valued the commitment of the new government to make Sri Lanka a better place. However,  it was a false hope.

MP car permit abuse exposes state-sponsored corruption at the highest level

From what has now been revealed about the organised frauds and corruption  involving those who hold office in the legislature and executive the government has begun losing its credibility in the eyes of the general public. In spite of more and more state-sponsored corruption coming into light in an unimaginable scale on a regular basis, the MP tax-free car permit abuse, continues to  occupy the most prominent place amongst them.

Beginning from Feb 2016, the new administration went  against its own fiscal policy statement of eradicating corruption with the re-introduction of the issuance of the tax-free car permits to all 225 MPs, enabling them to defraud public funds with total impunity.

How does the car permit scam defy the law causing a colossal loss of revenue? 

The tax-free car permits to MPs are issued in the pubic interest under Section 3C of the Excise (Special Provisions) Act No 08 of 1994, having regard to the economic development of the country facilitating the MPs to perform their office effectively and efficiently. However, the law stipulates that any person who intends to sell or dispose of any goods (including vehicles) imported tax-free shall obtain prior permission of the Director-General of Excise (in Sri Lanka tax charged on motor vehicles is called Excise duty) and to pay all levies exempted at the time of importation.

The investigation carried out into this MP car permit abuse, confirms that these permits are freely sold in the open market with buyers importing expensive vehicles and register them in their names as new owners, despite they  are not entitled to enjoy this tax-free privilege at all.

Complaints made to the CIABOC 

This fraud was first reported to the Commission to Investigate Allegation of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) on 11th Dec 2014. However, on 04th March 2015, the then Director General CIABOC refused to enforce law citing the following reason.

‘…The Conditions in the tax-free permits were decided as policy of the government. Therefore any loss caused to the government due to the implementation of such government policy will not fall within the scope of Section 70 of the Bribery Act. Accordingly, please note that the Commission will not take further action on your complaint.”

In the absence of the rule of law MPs misappropriate tax-revenue with total impunity 

The investigations conducted into this tax-free permit abuse revealed that these permits are sold by MPs for not less than 25 million rupees in the open market and the motor car dealers import luxury vehicles absolutely tax free, whereas such verhicles are liable to pay levies at the rate of 300% if not for the tax-free car permits.

The 2nd complaint made to the CIABOC

Then, on 26th Aug 2016, a second complaint was made to the CIABOC, which was supported by credible evidence relating to importation, registration and simultaneous transfer of tax-free vehicles in the names of buyers of such permits who are not qualified to use this privilege. Yet, once again the CIABOC failed to initiate action on the complaint, totally disregarding its duty to combat corruption.   

Fundamental duty of the CIABOC

The office of the Chairman, and the other two members of the Commission and the office of Director General of CIABOC have been created with wide powers conferred in those offices, purely to perform their public office for public good.

Section 4(2) of the Act No. 19 of 1994 specifies that upon receipt of a communication under subsection (1) the Commission, if it is satisfied that such communication is genuine and that the communication discloses material upon which an investigation ought to be conducted, shall conduct such investigation as may be necessary for the purpose of deciding upon prosecution or other suitable action under the provisions of the Bribery Act or under any other law.

CIABOC, its Members and corrupt MPs are charged for corruption

As the CIABOC has failed in its statutory duty to combat corruption, the CIABOC, its Members and all MPs who have openly abused the tax free permits to defraud public funds were charged in the Supreme Court (SC/Writ/07/2016) on 19th December 2016 in the public interest. And when this matter came up before the Court the Attorney General informed the Court that the CIABOC would conduct investigation into this abuse. The Petitioner declined to accept the AG’s view on the matter and  the matter has now been re-fixed  for 09th May 2017.

President Sirisena himself involving in the scam along with his predecessor 

Astonishing details involving President Sirisena and the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa in the MP car permit abuse have now come to light, throwing the citizenry into disbelief. The latest data obtained on the matter, demonstrates that two luxury vehicles valued over 40 millions rupees each, have been imported by the duo tax-free, citing themselves as MPs.

This is seen an act of contempt of the people’s undeniable sovereign rights, which they enjoy purely on trust.

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Latest comments

  • 7
    7

    Nagananda Kodituwakku:

    So, what is your objective of writing here ?

    To get a parliament seat by being loud ?

    Otherwise, talking does not work. Only thing needed is voter education.

    • 6
      0

      Dear Nagananda Kodituwakku

      RE: President Sirisena & Mahinda Rajapaksa Are In The Car Permit Scam!

      Both President Sirisena & Mahinda Rajapaksa are scammers.

      The Car Permit Scam is theit latest scam.

      Do you know what titles both President Sirisena & Mahinda Rajapaksa have earned from the millions who voted for them, in addition to being scammers?

    • 6
      0

      jimsofty

      Isn’t Mr Kodituwakku educating the public? Maybe CT is not read by everybody, but at least naming & shaming the corrupt politicians & exposing their deeds is the only way at the moment to show public resentment.

      Is there anything else you would like to do about corruption? Unlike in developed countries, effective lobbying is not practiced in SL.

      • 0
        4

        Raj:

        It is like Tamils’ non stop bickering and fake struggle.

    • 3
      1

      Jimbo
      Naga Kodituwakku is to be lauded for fearlessly keeping up the fight against corruption. We should be supporting him instead of making puerile insinuations about his attempting to get elected to the parliament.

      One thing in this article though, does not amount to corruption, that being MR and MS importing cars under the said permits. These fall within the ambit of the statute, as they are MP-s…. although they are, as Naga says, contemptuous of the peoples’ feelings and (my words) dismissive of the public outcry against the selling of the permits to make huge amounts of money.

      Ravi K was originally correct, but has capitulated to the pressure from the callous, thieving monsters who represent us. They don’t need such luxurious vehicles to pamper their soft backside and those of their kith, kin and caboodle.

      All they need are good, hardy, fuel-efficient vehicles. These can be provided by the state from a central pool, which are also maintained at state expense under the eye of a good administrator who should monitor potential abuse. The country will be the better for this, and the aforesaid pampered backsides (and egos) will get a good bloody reality check.

  • 3
    0

    He declared that ‘Corruption is one of the factors that promote political violence and other forms of human rights abuses. Sri Lanka went through such a stage during the previous administration. The people reacted strongly against corruption by changing the corrupt administration by the power of the ballet in January 2015 at the Presidential Election and again at the Parliamentary Election in the August 2016…’

    The ‘He’ above was President Sirisena.

    The above remark was made whilst attending the World Anti-Corruption Summit in London on 12th May 2016.

    However the declaration included, ‘at the Parliamentary Election in the August 2016…’.

    Isn’t something amiss .. .

    No harm. We live in a State of confusion!

  • 9
    0

    The government and the Executive President is so out of control. It is so bloated and infested with fraud and deceit and corruption and abuse of power.

    I believe the root of all evil is abuse of power!

  • 5
    0

    Oh please don’t call it scam it gives a real scammers world over bad rap because scammer’s are babes in the woods compare to Sri Lankan politicos’

  • 3
    1

    The Prezzo is high end corrupt politician.

    SMEC Austria said recently, that as Minister for Health, the Prezzo sought bribes for the awarding of a contract. The Prezzo recorder investigations by the stupid CID (headed by the clown by the name of Pujitha, (IGP) which I believe, was never acted upon. The case has gone underground.

    He has a Bro heading SL Telecoms where scandals galore. The country’s paddy market is in te hands of another Prezzi’s Bro.

    In fact, the SLFP component of Yahapalana is continuing with increased levels of corruption. Damn the SLFP, wish Ranil wold split and make Fonseka the Prezzi.

    • 4
      2

      Don’t think Fonseka would be any better. He is a racist & his record is not clean either. We can expect a dictatorship / army junta with Fonseka in power & we would then have certainly jumped from the frying pan into the fire.

  • 3
    4

    Bodhi Sira has a son and daughter.

    They need cars too .. Don’t they,,

    So is Mahinda who has two sons who can’t afford to buy them ..

    Dr batalanda Ranil doesn’t have to worry about it,

    Plus he got a nice set of wheels which cost the Tax Payers LKR 700 Million,

    But the most repulsive abuse of these Car permits is selling them to rich Muslims and pocketing the money.

    • 4
      0

      You are not happy without a bash at Muslims !!! why ???

    • 1
      0

      Mr Sumanasekara

      MR’s younger son imported a BMW X6 M Sport, which cost over £50,000 in UK on apparently Rathnasiri Wickramanayaka’s permit in 2012. Obviously, after 4 years, it needs replacing. Unfortunately, the average bloke can’t afford to fork out a couple of millions every few years.

      I can’t afford a new car in SL but if I am to bring my 6 year old car to SL which I have bought new with my earnings abroad, I have to pay Rs 11m as duty, thanks to Ravi K’s brilliant duty reforms where the valuation is based on engine capacity multiplied by Rs 550,000 or a dealer valuation which ever is higher. Accordingly, even a 1000 cc Asian built basic car will be required to pay Rs 5.5m, new or old.

      The Rajapakse regime made the transfer of ownership of vehicles imported duty free legal, enabling a few privileged people to make a few millions at the expense of average people who are being subjected to prohibitive import duty.

      Where is the justice? Yahapalnaya, my foot.

      PS – Don’t blame only the rich muslims. Its the extreme rich who are able to benefit.

  • 0
    0

    In Sinhala, common usage, (Jana Wahara) there is a saying: “Lejja Nethikama Mahamudalikamatath Vadiya Lokui”- (Shamelessness is much higher than even the position of a Mudalier). Now this has to be re-written and added to the “Jana Wahara”- (common usage) as: “Lejja Nethikama Janadhipathi Saha Agamethi Kamatath Vadiya Lokui” – (Shamelessness is much higher than even the position of President or Prime Minister). As “jimsofty” suggested in his comment above, what is needed is to CREATE a society well informed and capable of making INDEPENDENT JUDGEMENTS devoid of political affiliations of colour and creed. Unless and until, the Right Thinking people of integrity and credibility give leadership to that cause, this “Street Drama” titled “Lejja Nathikama” – Shamelessness displayed and practiced by the present day Political Leadership will continue and the country and its people are destined to suffer.

  • 3
    0

    NK,

    You are correct – the $60K car permits sure appear to confirm even the highest officials are part of the scam, cheating the country out of its legit tax revenue.

    However, isn’t the fact that even this less-than-$100K misuse is coming up for criticism ample show of “moving in the correct direction”, compared to where we were when princelings ordered $400K cars, the king hijacked the entire fleet of jumbo-jets and air-force helicopters for familial pleasures, and every boot-licking tom-dick-and-harry could get a Foreign assignment — and no one could raise a whimper?

    Are we there yet, where a democracy should be? – Absolutely NO!

    Have we moved in the right direction though? – A resounding YES!!

    Let’s keep the momentum going, and not let it slacken or impatiently help change course. Would you agree?

  • 5
    0

    We have come to accept corruption, nepotism and culture of impunity as part of life. Nagananda does not accept this. Thank you Nagananda for appraising us of “facts”.

    Nagananda is the one in a million Lankan. The other 20 latent Naganandas must step in now.

    A Failed State reaches the rock bottom when the democratically elected government and opposition join hands to loot.

  • 1
    0

    Car permits are NOT NEEDED for the country’s presidents. When they go away the government could give them a vehicle which they have used. Why go through this in public and put yourself to the same list of CAR PERMIT SCAM ?????

  • 2
    0

    Dear Mr Nagananda, Thank you for doing your bit to bring out the truth. Never before we have seen so much corruption and making it worse never before have we seen so much fake news either.

    BUT IT IS NOT ENOUGH FOR US TO BLAME THE POLITICOS for it is we who vote them in. I sincerely hope that the civil society, professional and the Intellectuals get together to educate the voters on how to identify the liars, crooks etc and force the voters to not go behind politicos for self interest, which never materialise anyway.

  • 1
    0

    being a henchman government of western thugs, they do not see the struggle of public in the country. there is no such thing called “shameless act” in their dictionary.

  • 1
    0

    Sri Lanka is a Failed State with a Failed President, Failed Prime Minister, Failed Parliament and a Failed Judiciary!

    The only hope we can have is that some benevolent power will invade the country, administer it and train the younger generation to act like civilized humans. There is no hope for the older generation, as they can never be reformed. After they all die out, there will be a better country.

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