5 December, 2020

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Sri Lanka Customs: Cheats Go Unpunished

By Hemantha Edirisooriya – 

The Customs Department is the major revenue-collecting agency of the government that contributes over 60% of the govt tax revenue. The primary duty of this department is to collect and protect the revenue barring all forms of tax evasions including organized smuggling.

However, the records show that the Customs has failed in its primary duty causing tremendous revenue losses to the government mainly due to officers colluding with the fraudster elements with no action being taken against them, resulting in the total breakdown of rule of law. The gravity of this lawlessness is vividly depicted with officers holding high profile offices, such as Deputy Director of Generals of Customs being charged for their alleged connivance in a number of organized revenue frauds.

A series of Customs cases referred below bear ample evidence demonstrating the level of corruption with the involvement of the officers from various ranks violating the Customs Law for unjust enrichment.

In the Case No POM/025/2016, a Deputy Director General of Customs has been charged for collusion with fraudster elements to smuggle out a shipment of contraband, which was detected by the Police Special Task Force on 19th Jan 2016, after the shipment was removed from the Colombo port premises. Yet, in spite of the completion of the investigations by June 2016 and the overwhelming evidence recovered, up until now no action has been against this senior officer and the others involved in the fraud. The total revenue defrauded in the case runs into over 17 million rupees. The latest development of this case is the withdrawal of the Inquiring Officer appointed to hear this case on 05th May 2017.

In the case CIB/INV/137/137/2015, a Superintendent of Customs was nabbed at the Katunayake airport on 27th March 2015 whilst attempting to smuggle out 3 kilograms of gold valued over 18 million rupees concealed in his socks. Yet, the Department has absolutely failed to initiate action against the suspect officer who continues to be in service making the Customs Service a mockery.

In the case CIB/INV/14/2013/CCR/1384, a shipment of ethanol valued over 33 million rupees was detected by the officers of the Excise Department after it was passed by the Customs on 13th March 2013 as a shipment of chemicals (turpentine oil). The investigation revealed the direct involvement of the then Director of Customs responsible for Prevention of Smuggling, who was later promoted to the Additional Director General of Customs whilst the case against him was pending. The administration failed to take any action against the suspect officer concerned.

These cases are a simply a tip of the iceberg and show the dismal failure of the Customs Department to perform its duty as required by the Customs Ordinance. This is not a new phenomenon only applicable to Customs but exists in the other revenue agencies of the government as well.

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    This same story is published in a newspaper but it says, this guy who were interdicted or send on compulsory leave is a TRADE UNION Leader.

    SO, he won’t go to jail or he won’t be prosecuted.

    Even Earlier I have heard, one custom Official had several Benz cars and no one was eager to ask how you got that many cars with your salary while you are bringing up your family too.

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      It is well known that biggest smugglers and drug peddlers are Muslims. Also they are the leaders in income tax frauds and VAT scams. Problem is that Sinhala politicians and law enforcement authorities are on the pay roll of these Islamic criminals. BBS must take responsibility to bring these culprits to book and save the country. If not done, Sinhalese will become beggars and have to do menial jobs for Muslims.

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        Do anyone knows, 2 Muslims owned 2 big hotels in Dubai, UAE. From where they got money to buy these hotels? Smuggling gold, drugs and other things?

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    [Edited out]

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    Hemantha Edirisooriya

    RE:Sri Lanka Customs: Cheats Go Unpunished

    “However, the records show that the Customs has failed in its primary duty causing tremendous revenue losses to the government mainly due to officers colluding with the fraudster elements with no action being taken against them, resulting in the total breakdown of rule of law.”

    Sri Lanka Customs, make all customs officers declare their assets, and have Customs Inspectors. In the end, there will be a need for additional inspectors to inspect the inspectors.

    Unfortunately, they have learned from the politicians.

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    Hemantha, while Corrupt and moronic Ravi K is bootlegging ethonal, IMF is drafting Sri lanka’s new tax Bill so that the poor will pay for the corruption of the rich. JVP and TU’s should launch a massive opposition campaign and refuse to pay taxes until corrupt politicians are arrested and put behind bars for looting the country.

    The culture of impunity for corrupt politicians in must end.
    The Central bank has come up with a copious report that “policy instability”, a code word for corruption and rent seeking by politicians and their policy makers is the reason for lack of Foreign Direct investment in SL. The Central Bank and Sri Lankan Ministers and their crony policy-makers repeat whatever IMF and its Washington Fake Experts and handlers including the right wing Millennium Challenge Corporation which works for the global 1 percent and is providing Fake Advise to Bond Scam Ranil Wickramasinghe’s PM’s office. People’s power must refuse the RAPACIOUS laws of the global 1 percent being imposed in Sri Lanka where inequality and poverty is growing as corrupt politicians get richer.

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    I dont know whether to laugh or to cry.A Director of Customs responsible for Prevention of smuggling was also involved in smuggling!

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    time that ravi is relieved of the finance ministry as there appears to be no improvement in the customs or excise but maithri cant do it as ranil stands in his way

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      I think the Finanace minister is responsible too as he has got whare houses in the harbour for his family.

      Then comes Ranil wickrmasinghe who divided the finanace ministry probably he knew his minister was not a trustworthy man if not Ranil wanted to do the central bankrobbery.

      Now, as they are legislators, use their power to dealy and hide every thing.

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    Any wharf clerk can give the state intelligence copious details of large scale bribery and corruption that occurs at all departments of the Customs on a daily basis.But action will never be taken. The media too will never run an expose for obvious reasons. All Director Generals who have risen from the ranks know these details inside and out. But they do not take action and the rot continues.The continuance of such unbridled bribery and corruption at the entrance and exit points of our economy is indeed sad and makes a mockery of the promise of good governance.Will the Customs Union agree to CCTV cameras being installed at all these points?

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    Says it all……’resulting in the total breakdown of rule of law’

    So what’s new? In a country where hundreds? thousands? of murders have gone ‘unsolved’ and unpunished, who cares about a bit of thieving from WE the People.

    These are substantial sums but they pale into comparison with the stealing that went on during the time of the Great Liberator in the Satakaya Era.

    WE the People continue to suffer whilst our ministers walk about, head in the air, scratching their proverbial’s.

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    As NM quoted ,election results were similar to a power set, pulling the govt. either way at a time. This govt seem to have both the engines working together going neither way.

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    Why not make all senior Customs appointments ratified by parliament through a non-partisan committee of MPs – open to public? Exempt Arjuna as he is busy planning the next X’mas tree.

    Lots of dirty linen will be washed at the hearing..

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    From the foregoing it is frightfully apparent and obvious that the Customs Dept from the top to the bottom is HORRIBLY corrupt to the core and has become a den of thieves, and will continue to be so with all of them making hay while the sun is shining. WHY ? BECAUSE their man Ravi K is protecting them as he too has plenty of Irons in the fire, a list too long to go into here. You scratch my back and I will scratch yours.

    Then, HE IS PROTECTED by the man who ensured his Ministerial appointment, and so he continues to blunder around doing everything wrong in managing the Finances of the Country as was evidenced by his two budgets, and otherwise knowing nothing will happen to him. Now it is rumored that despite the President wanting to reshuffle the Ministers, of which Ravi K is numero 1 on the list, the Ministers Protector has issued a warning to the President to keep his hands off his appointees. It’s in this game of politics, where all and sundry make their corrupt zillions and are ensured protection from those immediately above till the ball finally rests with the purported to be “clean one”.

    It does stink,doesn’t it ? particularly when these politicians who appear to be goody goodies, are the people at the bottom of the dung heap and manipulate all the corruption by omission, and allow the minions they protect to do the commission, the corruption, and get away with it.

    Election time is nearing, and they will make their “butter won’t melt in their mouth appearances” with their cahoots by the dozens, and their pamphlets, by the reams. That is the time they must be told where to get off. 25% of the French public either did not vote, or spoilt them, or put in blank votes because they were fed up with their system, at the recently concluded Presidential Elections. Maybe it’s time something worse than that is done here in our Elections to confirm our dissatisfaction and unacceptability of our system, which is dragging this Country to the dregs of despair.

    But we are the public conscious, democratic minded fools, who duty consciously turn out in the hundreds of thousands and vote at every election ensuring a minimum turn out of 70- 80 % . and so our crooked politicians are quite smug that they can dance the dance of the seven demons when in power, committing all the devilry and get away
    with it and come back the next time around promising the moon and the stars, some of them shedding crocodile tears, others blaming their predecessors, asking for our votes to give them the chance to serve us;
    and we will, like the fools we are go like the proverbial sheep to the slaughter and vote them in, to do it all over again . When will we ever learn !!

  • 0
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    when will we ever learn
    never, in my opinion as you can easily buy voters with a lunch packet and a bottle of arrack
    its arrack that makes sri lanka go round as witnessed what happened at galle face on may day
    may arrack distilleries flourish north ,south, east an west
    kapalla ,beepalla jolly kerapalla
    heta marunath hithata sapai ada jolly kerala

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