Mangala reveals the ‘business mafia’ in Customs
Posted on February 6th, 2019

Courtesy Adaderana

Minister of Finance and Mass Media Mangala Samaraweera says that the Sri Lanka Customs is steered by a business mafia in the country.

Speaking at a press conference held today (06), he stated that there is a possibility that there are some officers in the Customs that help this mafia.

For an example, Sri Lanka loses out on a lot of foreign exchange due to the Pepper and the areca rackets, he pointed out.

Stating that under the agreement with India, this Areca can be exported to India with no limits, the Minister said that these and this Areca are not from Sri Lanka; they are imported from Indonesia and re-exported after making slight changes. He says all these happen illegally.

Samaraweera further says that this racket was identified by the government in 2012 and that high-status persons in the country engaged in this racket. Persons from the government have also joined this racket, he added.

8 Responses to “Mangala reveals the ‘business mafia’ in Customs”

  1. Dilrook Says:

    I agree with Mangala on this.

    The massive loss of 12 billion rupees due to strike action was not caused by the attempted replacement of the DG. It was caused by strike action by the Customs trade union. They have no right to strike work over a matter that does not affect their employment conditions.

    A deciated Customs officer by the name Sumith Prasanna was killed in 2001. Another customs officer, Anura Weerawansa, was charged over it.

    Even President Premadasa struggled and failed to fix the Customs.

    It was hilarious when Pettah traders closed shop on February 5 in support of the trade union action. When was the last time they were concerned about the nation, local producers and the consumer (very high emphasis)?

    Sadly some people are driven by petty political tricks and matters.

    (Replacing the DG for not supporting an errant importer is wrong. But the government has a right to replace the DG and the union has no right to deny state revenue by strike action. It is not their job to influence the appointment or removal of the DG.)

    If our Customs worked well we won’t be flooded with so many contraband items and so many importers will not become so rich given the strict duty and levy regime and the depreciation of the rupee.

  2. Randeniyage Says:

    Not sure what made Dilrook to trust Man-Gala on this one. ManGala was port minster before. Nothing good happened during his time nor under Muslim rule when it was flooded with muslims.

    @Dilrook
    I have no information on truthfulness of Petta Importers demand.
    All the rest you said I can accept but all are negative arguments.
    What we need is actual information on the following

    1. Are there any ongoing customs inquiries on BMW fraud, Black Pepper Fraud and other faruds initiated by Mrs. Charles ?
    2. Are there frauds other than 1. which Mrs. Charles has purposely hidden or did not carry out inquiry.

    We cannot judge everything but reactions of people outside and argue based on their reputation alone.

    If one day customs union really care about the country then we should support it.
    Angulimala did not kill anyone after became a monk.

  3. Randeniyage Says:

    @Dilrook,
    I don’t trust ManGala. He too confirmed there are huge frauds but not revealing names.

    If he was honest he could have done this in a completely different way. I don’t think a navy officer friend of him can do a better job under this governement. He is hiding the offenders of these frauds. He want probably to get rid of evidence, he may have done it already.

  4. Randeniyage Says:

    @DIlrook
    UNP government spent 4 plus years. Do you think they had any intention to earn proper tax proper way during those years ? I am not saying last government was better or worse. If anyone wanted to do it first thing to do is to ask MPs to pay back all the hora tax exempts they got by selling brand new cars.
    Man-Gala want to get rid of evidence of his friends. That is all.
    I believe both customs men and Pettah traders thought same as you !

  5. ranjit Says:

    Mangala and his cronies were the biggest mafia in the government. When their leader is the biggest thief of all time how can a country survive? Most of the drug mafia, underworld mafia and all the mafias are with the Yamapalanaya and the UNP. Our country is in this pathetic state because of bad governance by the crooked UNP. We haven’t faced such a situation in our life. Ranil and his UNP cronies responsible for all the sufferings we were going through and they have to answer one day before long.

  6. Christie Says:

    “It was hilarious when Pettah traders closed shop on February 5 in support of the trade union action. When was the last time they were concerned about the nation, local producers and the consumer (very high emphasis)?”.

    Thanks Dilrook it is no joke what you are saying.

    This has been the case since the Customs started, they are on the payroll of the Mafia. The Indian Colonial Parasite merchants.

  7. Dilrook Says:

    @Randeniyage

    I don’t trust him and other politicians for a second. But I take matters case by case. No one is right always and no one is wrong always.

    UNP government did nothing to efficiently collect tax revenue, save local producers and consumers. Absolutely nothing. In fact, the Import Mafia is the biggest financier of the UNP.

    However, things took a nasty turn recently. We have to repay $5 billion in loans and interest this year. Government has no money but it cannot impose any more taxes. So the next option is to improve efficiency of tax collection by turning bribery into tax collection. This can be done by bringing in the military or a military grade leader. Otherwise it cannot be done.

    To make matters worse, Mangala was told by the IMF to reduce customs duties on a number of imports. He met IMF for get a loan to repay loans. If import tarrifs are reduced further, government revenue reduces. To compensate more must be collected on a reduced tax base.

    These are the reasons that drive the change which is a good thing. However, the Import Mafia does not support it for obvious reasons.

    Ravi K also criticised the attempted removal of the DG. I think she was appointed by Ravi K. He has many business interests in shipping.

    Mangala has stated another new initiative which is also good. He is going to restart the coastal unit of the navy to track illegal imports that bypass the Customs particularly from Tamil Nadu and Kerala. It was abandoned after the war. This is another reason a navy officer must head the Customs so the two units can easily coordinate.

    But as it happens always, interested groups have disrupted it all.

  8. Randeniyage Says:

    @Dilrook,
    It is Mangala who appointed Mrs. Charles – not Ravi K.

    Your argument is logical to me now, but I doubt Navy men ( how to find a good retired one ?) personally knowing 3 past commanders. One passed away long time ago in the only good one. If you think people from armed forces are honest, good luck.

    May be ManGala wanted to do what you said but at the same time he may be trying to protect UNP thieves. Only way to do that is to get rid of her.

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