Duty free car permit racket, RTI law used to expose 20 MPs, new owners,Loss of revenue likely to exceed Rs 7 bn
Posted on October 13th, 2016

By Shamindra Ferdinando Courtesy The Island

One-time head of the Customs Revenue Task Force Nagananda Kodituwakku yesterday revealed that 20 vehicles which had been imported by affluent persons using vehicle permits issued to sitting members of Parliament were registered by the Commissioner General of Motor Traffic.

Appearing on Sirasa ‘Pathikada’ anchored by Bandula Jayasekera, attorney-at-law Kodituwakku said that he had obtained all relevant information pertaining to importation of the vehicles as well as their registration from Customs and Commissioner General of Motor Traffic on the basis of Right to Information (RTI) Act.

Kodituwakku revealed the names of all 20 members of parliament who had sold permits as well as the buyers. He also mentioned the tax exemption received by new owners.

All members of parliament voted for the RTI Act in the wake of high profile campaign spearheaded by several NGOs.

Alleging that successive governments had allowed members to misuse duty-free vehicle permits, Kodituwakku asserted that the loss of revenue to the state could be over Rs 7 bn in case over 200 members of 225 member parliament sold their permits.

article_image

Kodituwakku

“Permits are available for Rs 25 mn in clandestine market. Each illegal import and registration deprives state of revenue amounting to Rs 33.5 mn.”

Responding to a query from Jayasekera, Kodituwakku said that members of the JVP parliamentary group hadn’t so far sold duty free car permits received by them. The JVP group comprises six, including two National List members.Kodituwakku asserted that in the wake of Sirasa revelation the JVP would think twice before selling its duty free permits.

The attorney-at-law castigated all political parties represented in parliament for unashamedly abusing duty free vehicle permits at the expense of national economy. The Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) could move courts against those who had abused duty free vehicle permits, Kodituwakku said.

In a separate interview with The Island, Kodituwakku emphasized that though only 20 vehicles, almost all Toyota Land Cruisers, had been registered so far, 70 vehicles were imported using duty free permits issued to members of parliament. The attorney-at-law pointed out that the identities of those who had bought the balance 50 vehicles could be revealed once they registered those vehicles.

“Thanks to RTI we can secure vital information without much trouble,” Kodituwakku said.

The former top customs officer said that he had an opportunity to meet Commissioner General of Motor Traffic and discuss the issues pertaining to illegal import of vehicles.

Kodituwakku said that he had to quit Customs in late 2001 and leave the country following the detection of three vehicles imported by two senior national cricketers and an influential businessman using duty free vehicle permits issued to a hotel down South. The then administration reacted angrily and brought immense pressure on the Customs to get rid of me, attorney-at-law Kodituwakku said. The lawyer named the three persons who had imported vehicles using duty free permits issued to the hotel.

An irate Kodituwakku said that he fled the country with the intervention of the British High Commission. Kodituwakku alleged that the then administration went out of its way to sabotage the inquiry with one of the wrongdoers causing serious trouble.

Kodituwakku said that the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government had launched a high profile campaign against corruption. But the very government had allowed members of parliament to sell their duty free permits at the expense of the national economy.

In fact, the corrupt practice had been encouraged by successive governments to ensure members received funds to pursue luxurious lifestyles, Kodituwakku alleged.

He said the national economy needed a tremendous boost. The government couldn’t further delay taking, both short and long term tangible measures to enhance revenue to meet the deteriorating situation. There should be a comprehensive review of tax structure as well as perks and privileges given to various segments of the society, Kodituwakku said.

Responding to another query, the attorney-at-law explained ways and means of halting illegal vehicle imports when they (buyers of duty free vehicle permits issued to members of parliament) sought to open Letters of Credit at state owned or private banks.

Kodituwakku alleged that both major parties, the UNP and the SLFP as well as those who had been aligned to them were acting contrary to the laws of the country. Those who had vigorously campaigned for so called January Revolution should pressure the government to stop corruption.

Kodituwakku said that vehicles permits had been issued to MPs to make a killing as they had other means of obtaining a vehicle and in some instances two for their use.

8 Responses to “Duty free car permit racket, RTI law used to expose 20 MPs, new owners,Loss of revenue likely to exceed Rs 7 bn”

  1. Ananda-USA Says:

    Did we not warn that this Yahapalanaya is in fact a Horapalanaya?

    Asking the FOX to mind the HEN HOUSE is NEVER SMART POLICY!

  2. dhane Says:

    According to Dentist & Cabinet Talker Duty free vehicles permits were given for MP to use on their respective Area to travel. So why Govt: is silent???

  3. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    SO, IF ALL THESE 225 FREE LOADERS IN PARLIAMENT RECEIVED PERMITS AND SOLD THEM AT 25M EACH, THEY CERTAINLY GOT A ROCKET BOOST TO BEING SUPER RICH. HOW MUCH WOULD HAVE BEEN THE LOSS TO THE GOVERNMENT ?

    WITH ANY F CHANGE OF GOVERNMENT, THEY SHOULD ASK ALL THESE MONIES TO BE REFUNDED TO THE STATE COFFERS. IF MAHINDA AND GOTABAYA CANNOT DO IT, THEY NEED NOT COME BACK.

  4. AnuD Says:

    Sri lanka will have a life only if there is a military govt.

    People living in Welikada and Bogambara are more trust worthy, accountable, has honesty and integrety than those in Diyawanna Oya.

  5. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    AnuD !! This is what Lorenzo and I have been telling for years. We got a lot of flak. Lorenzo was named as C-in-C, and me as Defence Secretary. We got a lot of brickbats.

  6. Ananda-USA Says:

    Susantha,

    When is appointing an ESTABLISHED Eelamist undercover agent who is spreading disinformation and undermining Sri Lanka, as the C-in-C a SMART POLICY?

    Not your fault, but which INCURABLE MUTT said that?? Give me a break!

  7. Lorenzo Says:

    Only a MILITARY GOVT can save SL.

    Others want to just change the color at the top but want to keep corruption going.

    200 of 225 MPs got that! Obviously our JO MPs also benefited. Our beloved His Excellency Weerawansa also got a permit of 33 million!

    “The Sunday Leader learns that a Toyota Land Cruiser Jeep (chassis number JTMHV05J404202354) imported on a permit issued in the name of MP Wimal Weerawansa, evading the payment of fiscal levies of Rs. 33,459,250.00, has been registered under his name (Reg. No CAT 9797) and is being used by the current owner without effecting the necessary transfer, an act of which is prohibited by Section 12 of the Motor Traffic Act No. 8 of 2009.”

    “http://www.thesundayleader.lk/2016/08/28/vehicle-permits-for-mps-grossly-abused/”

    This is why Nagananda Kodituwakku is GREAT. He is not a political pawn. He is working for the COUNTRY. No matter what party the wrongdoer is. WE SALUTE YOU SIR.

    IF democracy cannot save Mother Lanka from 200 crooks, do you still believe it can save SL?

  8. S.Gonsal Says:

    Looks like Sira also scared of Military Takeover , Read this news

    – Oct 14, 2016

    “Saman, I’ll come. But tell the prime minister not to put ‘ads’”

    A storm is brewing in the Sri Lankan politics due to the strong criticism of the CID, FCID and the Bribery Commission by president Maithripala Sirisena made the day before yesterday (14) at Sri Lanka Foundation Institute. Political Hanumans are now busy at work, carrying tales and provoking both sides. The task of these political Hanumans is to sabotage the national government and to bring the racist tribals back to the throne.

    An adviser to the prime minister, instead of resorting to provocation, but in order to settle the matter, took steps to resolve the matter in a long-lasting manner. He used a person who is loyal both to the president and the prime minister in that task.

    The PM’s adviser who got involved is none other than senior journalist, acting chairman of ITN, Saman Athaudahetti. Using his wisdom, Athaudahetti thought and got popular actor, social services deputy minister Ranjan Ramanayake to mediate.

    “Ranjan, as a person who knows both the president and the prime minister well, intervene in this matter immediately. First, meet the president and then come to meet the prime minister,” he proposed to Ramanayake. “Saman, I will come. I will also intervene in the matter. But, on one condition. That is, when I explain matters, tell the prime minister not to put ‘ads’”. Perplexed by Ramanayake’s answer, Athaudahetti asked him, “Ranjan Emathithuma, what is this thing about ‘ads?’ It is the news channels that put ads.”

    “Exactly, Saman. Most news channels put ads in between the news. That is a disruption of the news. The prime minister too, is like that. When we come and explain something to him for two minutes, he stops us and lectures us for 20 minutes. In the end, we forget what we wanted to say. Therefore, I will accept, only if the prime minister does not put ads in between.”

    Later, when Athaudahetti explained to the PM about this ad talk, he laughed aloud and said, “Ok. Ok. I will not put ads. Tell Ranjan to come.”

    President not informed about legal action against Fowzie

    Explaining to Ramanayake as to why he attacked the Bribery Commission during his speech at the SLFI, the president said, “the Bribery Commission filed action against minister Fowzie for having used a special vehicle owned by his ministry during the period he was the disaster management minister. That vehicle was gifted to our country following the tsunami. It has a special signal system that can identify a tsunami. Minister Fowzie used that vehicle until his official vehicle was repaired. But, instead of declaring that, an assistant secretary of the ministry was summoned and a statement was forced from him that the minister took it by force. Like that, the Bribery Commission has taken legal action against 13 SLFPers under me. That will make them to go after Mahinda once again. When big fish are out in the open, the Bribery commission catches only the sprats and the other small ones.”

    Ramanayake gave a patient hearing to the explanation made by the president, who went onto say, “The commission investigating corruption has so far not given just one of its reports to me. I don’t know what is happening there. It has Bribery Commission’s Dilrukshi, Attorney General’s Department’s Yasantha Kodagoda, senior lawyer Krishantha Weliamuna. They meet once a month under the chairmanship of minister Sagala Ratnayake. They have an obligation to inform me, who is the country’s top executive, about what is happening. At the Security Council meeting, I just keep looking at the mouths of others. When they say, so and so was caught, so and so was sent behind bars, I look on like a puppet. They treat me as a joke.”

    “The reports I get from military intelligence are not good at all. Recently, several soldiers were arrested, saying they had felled trees. Also, military intelligence men were last week remanded over a murder in 1997. Several military intelligence men are in remand custody for 16 months. If this is not rectified immediately, they warned me that a military coup could be possible. I have to think about everything.”

    As Ramanayake explained what he was told by the president, the PM listened without putting ads in between.

    President, PM watched Perahera together

    Ramanayake was still with the PM when the president called him before departing from Polonnaruwa to Colombo by air. He told the president, “Sir, I explained everything to the prime minister. He admitted that something has gone wrong. He promised to correct that immediately.” The president replied, “Tell the prime minister not to worry over it. Let’s continue our work together. Tell him to come and watch the Perahera at Valukaramaya tonight. I too, am coming. Thereafter, we can have a talk.”

    Accordingly, the president and the prime minister watched the Perahera at Valukaramaya in Kollupitiya last night (13) and thereafter, they had a lengthy discussion until midnight, reports say.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

 

 


Copyright © 2018 LankaWeb.com. All Rights Reserved. Powered by Wordpress