19 September, 2019

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Top Customs Officer Defrauds Over Rs. 755 Million In Tax Revenue, Releases Extremely Harmful Palm Oil To Market

An additional Director General of Customs has being involved in a massive scam where he has allowed a leading businessman to import palm oil, unfit for human consumption under a false description, which has also resulted in the Government losing over Rs. 755 million in tax revenue.

Public Interest Litigation Activist Nagananda Kodituwakku

Public Interest Litigation Activist Nagananda Kodituwakku

The palm oil, weighing in thousands of tons has been released to the domestic market, and is absolutely prohibited by the Food Act for human consumption, an investigation has revealed.

This massive fraud has now been taken up in the Court of Appeal (CA/201/2016) by the Public Interest Litigation Activist Nagananda Kodituwakku, based on the Governments Analyst reports filed in Court by the activist where it was revealed that the said Customs Officer has surreptitiously concealed very adverse reports issued by the government analyst, which confirms that the samples examined by the Government analyst contained 23% fatty acid and the said officer has done so to facilitate the importer with a wrong classification of the commodity given to evade payment of the fiscal levies.

Further analysis of the samples examined by the scientists also filed in Court, also confirms that in crude palm oil fatty acid content shall not exceed 5% and in the refined palm oil it shall not exceed 0.1%.

The analyst reports states that ‘… any vegetable oil which contains high amount of free fatty acid (as the case of this particular product) is highly liable to oxidation and could generate various oxidized products that could harm human health. For instance, end-products of lipid oxidation could be mutagenic and carcinogenic and that the lipid oxidation has role in in the pathogenesis of several pathogenesis such as neurodegenerative, inflammatory, infectious, gastric and nutritional diseases in humans. Therefore, the particular product that has been claimed by the importer as Crude Palm Fatty Acid’ is not suitable for human consumption…’

In the meanwhile the Malaysian Palm Oil Board has also confirmed that there is no such product called Crude Palm Fatty Acid in the palm oil industry and that their investigation conducted into the matter had revealed what the importer claims Crude Palm Fatty Acid is palm oil blend with fatty acid (the process surreptitiously done to evade payment of fiscal levy at a higher rate).

Further to the Customs investigation now being conducted into this matter, 24 containers of adulterated palm oil has been seized by customs. Now the importer, relying on the falsified report earlier given to his favor by the Additional Director General, makes every attempt to have these detained shipments released from the Customs custody.

Therefore, the rights activists furnishing this information requests the Court to make an Order compelling the Director General of Customs to confiscate all 24 containers of adulterated palm oil not good for human consumption and to destroy them in public as a deterrent to other such importers, who import similar substandard food items absolutely disregarding the health and safety concerns.

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Latest comments

  • 2
    0

    Nagananda Kodituwakku,

    Thank you for your efforts.

  • 1
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    Dear Kevin
    You are repeatingly saying that gov officers should go and see the possibility to refine Palm oil containing 16% FFA in to 0.1% edible level. I think they should not ‘case SLSI standard for FFA in palm oil is maximum 5% and any oil get away from the starndards are in the category of substandard. so substandard raw materials cannot be processed. In other words importation of adulterated food is prohobited as far as my knowledge. So sadly poor importer………

  • 3
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    More evidence …

    shahanker praba – puba wake up..

    No purifying ,,,, straight to the Market ,,,,

    The importer does not release palm oil to the market under a brand, but sends it to the wholesale market.

    Spread across the country, the importer has been carrying on with this racket since 2012, ‘lakbima’ newspaper reports.

    24 container-loads of palm oil with fatty acids seized – Sri Lanka Mirror
    http://www.srilankamirror.com/…/11388-24-container-loads-of-palm-oil-with-..

    Well done: Nagananda Kodituwakku,

    a lawyer, Nagananda Kodituwakku, has filed a petition in the court of appeal, seeking an order to destroy this fatty palm oil consignment publicly.
    =

    24 container-loads of palm oil with fatty acids seized Featured
    04 July 2016

    A leading palm oil importer has imported 24-containerloads of palm oil containing fatty acids by producing false information to the customs.

    The customs have seized the consignment, which has a fatty acid content of 23 per cent, which is far above the level fit for human consumption.

    The unrefined palm oil imported to the country should contain a maximum of 5 pc of fatty acids, which should be brought down to 0.1 pc by refining for release to the local market.

    The Sri Lanka Standard Institution has not received samples of this palm oil consignment, as the customs had been told an acid was being imported.

    The customs revenue thus lost is Rs. 755 million.

    The customs has made inquiries from the Malaysian Palm Oil Board, which has responded by saying they have been told that palm fatty acid for use in industries was being imported to Sri Lanka.

    The importer has tried to influence customs officials to get the consignment cleared.

    Meanwhile, a lawyer, Nagananda Kodituwakku, has filed a petition in the court of appeal, seeking an order to destroy this fatty palm oil consignment publicly.

    The importer does not release palm oil to the market under a brand, but sends it to the wholesale market.

    Spread across the country, the importer has been carrying on with this racket since 2012, ‘lakbima’ newspaper reports.

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