MR likely to be questioned over RADA allegations!
Former President and UPFA Kurunegala District candidate Mahinda Rajapaksa is likely to be questioned in connection with alleged financial misappropriations involving Reconstruction and Development Agency (RADA), highly placed police sources told the Daily News yesterday.
The agency, headed by former Parliamentarian Tiran Alles, came under the purview of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. It was mainly set up to grant relief to Tsunami victims who lost houses and properties due to the natural disaster on December 26, 2004. The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) of Police arrested former Chief Operating Officer of RADA, Dr. Saliya Wickramasuriya over alleged fraud in use of tsunami rebuilding funds. Wickramasuriya was charged with defrauding Rs 169 million from funds through the RADA when Tiran Alles was its chairman.
The Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court later released the former RADA official on a cash bail of Rs. 50,000 with two sureties of Rs. 1 million.
In addition to the former Chief Operating Officer, the SIU also arrested the former Finance and Administration Director of RADA in connection with the probe over allegations against RADA. While the investigations were underway, ex-Parliamentarian Tiran Alles filed a Fundamental Rights petition before the Supreme Court seeking to prevent his arrest.
Initial investigations revealed that the Agency received a staggering Rs.1,959 million from the Treasury under directives of the former President. The Agency, Police sources said, had spent Rs.2,431 million during the time it was operational.
“Construction projects had been handed over to companies, namely, GS Builders, B &K Holdings Private Limited and Everest Civil Engineering Services. There is a serious doubt over the ‘existence’ of these companies.
For instance, B & K Holdings and Everest Civil Engineering Pribate Limited had obtained Rs. 169 million to construct houses in the Trincomalee and Batticaloa district. But, none of the houses has been built in the two districts,” a Senior Officer who is involved in the investigations said.
“The former President,” he said, “will be questioned after the Parliamentary election. The investigation cannot proceed without questioning him.”
Customs Recovers Lamborghini duties after two years
Source Lanka News Web
Sri Lanka Customs has recovered sum of Rs. 278 million from Euro Sports Auto Lanka (Private) Ltd, a subsidiary of Micro Holdings (Pvt) Ltd as fines and custom duties for keeping three Italian made Lamborghini cars for two and half years without paying taxes.
These cars were imported to the country for demonstration purpose in the company show room in early 2013.
Sri Lanka customs department has recovered a sum of Rs. 278 million as duties and fines from the company which was allegedly have been exploited loop holes to evade customs duties, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake allege.
The Sri Lanka Customs action to prevent the re-exporting of three Lamborghinis brought down for demonstration purposes by Euro Sports Auto Lanka has been thwarted by an interim order issued by the Appeal Court last month.
The department has already en-cashed the bank guarantee of the company after issuing pay orders to Sampath Bank, NDB Bank and Seylan Bank.
That a court case is pending at the Appeal Court and the department is waiting for its determination to take appropriate action against the company.
They have recovered necessary duties and fines from the company by en-cashing the bank guarantee before the filing of the court case by Euro Sports Auto Lanka.
The Customs Department has turned down the request to re-export made by the company in a letter dated May 26 directing to pay all applicable taxes for the vehicles within ten days.
The company in its petition filed at the Appeal Court stated that it came to know the banks have issued pay orders favouring the Director General Customs to present the same for payment on June 3.
Considering the contents of the petition, the Appeal Court has issued an interim order staying the operation of the Customs DG letter dated 26 May 2015 and restraining the department from claiming any sum of money on the bank guarantees.
Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake told that these vehicles were imported in 2013 for display at the company show room for three months and thereafter re-export it with the permission of the Customs DG without paying custom duties and they have made request recently to re-export it.
When contacted Chairman of MicroCars and Euro Sports Auto Lanka (Private) Ltd, Dr. Lawrence Perera noted that he cannot make any comments as the court case is pending.
He added that the company took measures to import these vehicles to boost the image of the country and open avenues for youths to learn mechanics of sophisticated cars.
He has not received any un due benefits by importing and displaying theses vehicles from the previous regime and the country has gained investor and tourist confidence as a result of his efforts.
He said that he is ready to pay any taxes due to the customs but it should be reasonable.
However he pointed out that the demands of the customs were malice and vehicles were imported under temporary basis. Necessary approvals were given to extend the period of re-exportation he added.
Euro Sports has displayed three Lamborghinis for sale in Sri Lanka, he said adding that the manufacturing company gets around Rs. 25 million per vehicle and that the Sri Lankan government stands to gain around Rs. 65 million as tax revenue.
A Lamborghini could be sold in Sri Lanka for around Rs. 91 million. The brand name Lamborghini has become so popular worldwide due to its high technology.
Tony Blair to arrive in Sri Lanka on Aug. 11!
The Blair family will spend their summer vacation in Sri Lanka, which will last two weeks. They will stay at Ulugalle Walawwa in Anuradhapura and the Amanwella tourist resort, for which the Sri Lankan government will provide full security, said the sources further.
On August 24, Tony Blair will meet the Sri Lankan president and the prime minister.
Later on that day, he is due to deliver the 10th Lakshman Kadirgamar commemorative lecture at the Kadirgamar Institute.
His wife Cherie, a Queen’s Counsel, is planning to give a special lecture on August 25 to members of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka at its invitation.
On that evening, the Blairs will be hosted to dinner by foreign affairs minister Mangala Samaraweera and former president Chandrika Kumaratunga. It is minister Samaraweera who has invited them to spend their summer holiday this year in Sri Lanka. The coordinator for that was acting Sri Lankan high commissioner in the UK Dr. Chanaka Thalpahewa, the sources added.
Ravi’s transfer cancelled!
- The transfer of DIG in charge of the CID Ravi Seneviratne that was due to take place last week has been cancelled, say CID sources.
After the general election was declared, the IGP illegally gave him a transfer as DIG in charge of Sabaragamuwa province. The IGP has done that without respecting a circular issued by the elections commissioner to all state institutions barring transfers during the election period.
However, the president and the prime minister intervened early this week and cancelled the transfer.
Investigations against bribery commissioners
- It is reported that inquiries would be held against the activities of the commissioners in the Bribery and Corruption Bureau.
Cabinet approval has been given for a proposal presented by the cabinet and justice minister Wijedasa Rajapaksa.
There are 1900 complaints have been lodged in the bribery commission following the change of government and there are complaints against the bribery commissioners as well.
1900 complaints have been lodged in the bribery commission following the change of government and there are complaints against the bribery commissioners as well.
Following the appointment of Dilrukshi Dias as the Director General of the Bribery Commission there was a salary cut against the bribery commissioners who default duties. Following the salary cut few commissioners has gone to the Human Rights Commission.