Sri Lanka Customs has suppressed an inquiry into a 16 billion rupee tax revenue fraud involving government servants and the BMW motorcar importer, Prestige Automobiles, Colombo Telegraph can reveal today.
According to documents in the possession of Colombo Telegraph, Customs had inquired into the importation of 1728 brand new BMW vehicles under the concessionary duty permits issued by the government for the public servants between 2011 and 2014.
The Central Investigation Bureau of the Customs (CIB) elicited evidence in May 2016 to the effect that the subject 1728 brand new BMW vehicles imported through Prestige Automobiles, Colombo in the name of various permit holders were in fact imported not by the permit holders themselves but by third parties who are not entitled to avail of duty concessions offered to public servants by the Government. It has also been found that the value of the Imported vehicles disclosed in the commercial invoices, proforma invoices and the CusDecs, tendered to Customs by declarants in the names of permit holders are not the actual transacted values for the vehicles in question.
Prestige Automobiles, Colombo, the authorised representative of the BMW AG Germany, has not provided the invoices with true market value to the Customs for the cars imported on tax concessionary permits and had instead had submitted fictitious invoices through another German company called Navigare International which, established by the same founder member, Heinz Adolf Reuter – Chairman and Managing Director of Prestige Automobiles, Colombo.
Surprisingly on 21st of May, 2016 the Director of Customs had instructed all officers to postpone all inquiries and investigations with regard to valuations of motor vehicles.
Meanwhile, according to a whistleblower, the suspect company has withdrawn a huge amount of hard cash from its bank (200 million rupees), possibly to pay off individuals who influenced the decision making process.