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.
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.