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 Post subject: Corrupt politicians collude with the fraudster-mafia
 Post Posted: Fri Nov 04, 2005 1:37 pm 
Corrupt politicians collude with the fraudster-mafia

@LankaWeb / 04Nov2005
By N Kodituwakku former head of the revenue fraud investigation unit

Corruption committed by President Chandrika is concerned; I can say that I have concrete proof to prove her dishonest character. In the customs administration alone there are many instances where she had abused her executive power to protect the interests of the revenue fraudsters. Sometimes she had the audacity to send her own handwriting illegal orders. Instances are many where proceeds of crimes were released on her illegal orders. Leader of UNP Ranil is no exception. I can give a long list of such cases if these politico-cheats challenge my stance.

I make this announcement with a view to invite the attention of the civil society to the appalling situation in the number one revenue collection agency, i.e. customs administration, where the officers who fought organised revenue frauds are compelled to leave the country amidst death threats where no protection provided by the government.

It is reported in the print media today that Senior Customs Superintendent Athula Lankadeva had left the country amidst death threats for carrying out his duty against the organised revenue fraudsters. It is also reported that although the government promised protection to the officers whose life is under death threats, no such protection whatsoever provided, compelling Mr Lankadeva to leave the country. Sometime back it was reported in the media that a powerful politician was behind the gold coin scam that Mr Lankadeva was inquiring.

It appears that those who should take up these matters and also the media are indifferent to these terrible developments. This is not the first time that lawlessness in the country and targeting of the customs officers who refuse to give into the illegal demands of the fraudster-politico-mafia was targeted and eliminated

In March 2001 another fearless Customs Officer Mr Sujith Perera was brutally killed. Now it is a proven fact in Sri Lanka, that corrupt politicians collude with the fraudster-mafia. In Sujith's case, he was murdered in broad daylight, whilst he was inquiring into a massive revenue fraud ran into several hundred million rupees, alleged to have been committed by a business tycoon connected to a powerful politician.

Life threatening circumstances under which I left the country [in September, 2001] was another instance. As a result of stern action taken against another powerful revenue fraudster my life was under enormous risk and in the absence of any protected provided by the government I was forced to leave the country. At one point, having failed to secure any protection from the government, the then DGC, Mr Luskshman Perera, was forced to seek protection from the British High Commission to send me out of the country.

Truly this is the serious situation the pubic officers who fight corruption experience in Sri Lanka, which I believe that public has a right to know. Hence I invite the attention of the civil society in the country to pay immediate attention to this serious issue, particularly in the background where the corrupt political leadership turns a blind eye. In these circumstances, what is assured is that the organised revenue fraudsters would swindle the government revenue unabated, leaving the innocent people to suffer tremendously with very high cost of living.

In order to arrest this unhealthy situation and to arrest this unhealthy situation where the country continue to loose the services of the handful of officers, I honesty solicit the undivided support of all the media institutions to educate the public and to create a strong public opinion condemning the despicable actions by the fraudster-politico-mafia, where fraudster politicians openly collude with the government revenue fraudsters.

Further to accusation made by the President against the public services and judiciary for corrupt practices, I thought I should speak out the truth behind the problem and expose those who are actually responsible and accountable for the ever-deteriorating plight of quality of living of the people of Sri Lanka.

I have worked in the customs administration for over two decades [1978 -2001] and headed the revenue fraud investigation unit before I finally left the country in September 2001. I take full responsibility for the information reveal in this document, which is authentic and based on my lifetime experience in fight against the organised fraudster-politico-maifa.

It is absolutely true that as President Chandrika says that not only the police and judiciary, the entire govt mechanism is corrupted. However, the issue is not about the corruption in the public service but those who are responsible for encouraging and promoting corruption in the state sector. I can say with certainty, with extensive experience in the fight against the organised fraudster-politico-mafia it is non other than the SLFP leadership headed by Chandrika and the UNP leadership headed by Ranil & Co are ones who are directly responsible for ruining the country and spreading this decease now look likes almost incurable.

Irony is that people of Sri Lanka still believe these self-centred political cheats. I have lived in the Europe now well over three years and I have found that in this part of the world no politicians dare to play with the govt revenue, whereas in Sri Lanka such actions are a very common occurrence.

In Sri Lanka I have observed that whenever a powerful revenue fraudster is caught the political leadership intervenes and force the relevant enforcement agency to set the fraudster free. If refused to abide by the illegal orders the destiny of the official concerned is extremely dangerous. That person may be subjected to endless persecution, may be murdered, thrown acid or forced to leave the country. There are many such instances in the recent history where such officials were subjected to all sorts of harassment.

Corruption committed by President Chandrika is concerned; I can say that I have concrete proof to prove her dishonest character. In the customs administration alone there are many instances where she had abused her executive power to protect the interests of the revenue fraudsters. Sometimes she had the audacity to send her own handwriting illegal orders. Instances are many where proceeds of crimes were released on her illegal orders. Leader of UNP Ranil is no exception. I can give a long list of such cases if these politico-cheats challenge my stance.

For the information of the people information just a few of such cases is set out below.

" In 1994, the UNP that took people for a ride was removed and PA headed by Chandrika was elected to set record straight. People had a faith in her and expected a lot from her. In fact, I was a member of her election monitoring team. But her actions and the way she conducted the government business after came into power was appalling. For instance, Customs had forfeited a large number of vehicles valued several million rupees imported by Mannaperuma Traders for defrauding the government revenue. They were awaiting disposal and the proceeds were to credit to the revenue. The fraudster attempted many occasions to get them released when the UNP was in power but failed because of pressure brought upon the leadership by the media. However when Chandrika was elected to power in 1994 she had courage to do what UNP did not have. On her orders the then DGC Weerasekara released all the productions [a large number of luxury vehicles confiscated by customs] back to the government revenue fraudster. When this illegal action was exposed in the media and what happened afterwards was terrifying. Instead of verifying the truth of the information my home was subjected to search and I was arrested. Because the govt suspected that I was responsible for the release of the information as I had nabbed and dealt with the smuggler.

" Killing of Sujith Perera - Sujith was inquiring into a major revenue fraud ran into several million rupees committed by Harry Jayawardena. He had collected black and white evidence to prove the case against Harry. Harry managed to get a restraining order against Customs to stop the case against him. Sujith did his best to get the order vacated and just few days after the discussions with DSG Siripawan he was killed. There was clear evidence that killer Anura Weerawansa had number of cell phone contacts with Harry including two in the morning where Sujith was killed. But no body was bothered to inquire into it. In fact, this matter was raised in the High Court trial at bar but the police said that " evidence against Harry was inadequate".

" Throwing acid at govt auditor Arambewela making him permanently blind and incapacitated. This is another case where the official refused to give into the demands of the fraudster politician involved in a public funds fraud.

" Once two Cameroon nations were caught at the airport attempted to smuggle out two hundred thousands US dollars [$200,000]. Customs confiscated the contraband. President then Chandrika directly intervened and at the request of Pettah Businessman, [Latha Jewellers] directed Customs chief to "give every possible relief" to the smuggler. It was a hand written order by the President. If President Chandrika has forgotten her action I am prepare to produce a copy of her order for the information of the people.

" I can recall another case where the then PM Ranil abused his office to release proceeds of crime. During that time duty free car permits issued to the parliamentarians were subject to stringent restrictions. Then law prohibited Sale, lease or disposal in any other manner of such vehicles imported duty free. And the team of officers headed by me ceased number of such vehicles disposed illegally and confiscated them. However on the orders of Ranil, then PM all the vehicles were released and on the PMs directions any further actions against such illegal disposals were completely abandoned. After his illegal order and release of the goods Ranil had the audacity to make a press statement that he directed the customs to take stern action against such illegal disposal of duty free vehicles, which was published in the head line of the government controlled media - Silumaina. This is the true state of affairs in the government business in the democratic socialist republic of Sri Lanka.

" There is another interesting case where DB came out of his shell to set free another revenue fraudster. Then it was Premasiri Stores the culprit, the sole importer of Bigen hair dye from Japan. Premasiri Stores imported this product from Japan under stating the value for customs purposes - declared value was less than ½ of the actual value and thereby defrauding the government revenue ran into millions of rupees. Action was taken against the importer and some shipments, where it was proved that value had been understated, were confiscated. Then the then Presidnet DBW came forward to protect the interest of the fraudster and on his orders all goods confiscated were released to the government revenue fraudster, which action encouraged all the importers to understate the value further and pay less and less taxes. The anti-social implications by these actions were tremendous. Clearly these stupid actions had resulted in creating social unrest amongst the unjustified rich and the poor that had become poorer. By the President's illegal action precedence was created to the benefit of all revenue fraudsters, which they used to their maximum advantage. It not only allowed them to misappropriate government tax but it also had an adverse effect in the income distribution amongst the rich and the poor.

" Chandrika's intervention at the request of Reggie Ranatunga to suppress another fraud case. This incident happened in August 2001. It was referred to another case where customs enforced law against illegal importation of luxury bens car defraying revenue and imposed a heavy fine running into several million rupees on the fraudster. This is one of the cases in the history where customs plainly refused to give into the illegal political demands. But what really happened afterwards clearly demonstrates the level of maladministration in the government business. Chandrika directly intervened and nullify the order made in the case. And when this issue was raised in the parliament [09-10- 2001] Reggie Ranatunga vehemently denied it and he made a frivolous and groundless allegation against me [the person who conduct the fraud inquiry] that I demanded a bribe of 2.5 million rupees to drop the case.

No point taking nonsense after having failed in their public duty

Now after having totally failed their obligation to the people, there is no point blaming defenceless public officers who are made to turn blind eye against the crimes committed by the self-centred politico-cheats. They are the ones responsible for creating a culture where the public officials are induced to accept "santosams". Naturally most officials do not wish to challenge the illegal orders of the politico-cheats and undergo trouble but prefer to follow easy path.

It is very sad that in Sri Lanka, may be since independence, no political leader elected by the people has paid any attention to the importance of pursuing a strict fiscal policy equal to all; that no social benefit can be offered to the less fortuned poor unless the stringent measures are taken to protect the government revenue and to deal with defaulters with severe penalties, setting examples others to follow.

How the system operated in the developed nations

In this regard it is well worth to have some idea as to how the system operates in the Europe. Here no politicians dare to play with the government revenue, which considered a fatal error in judgement if committed. The politicians understand the importance of protection of the Govt revenue, which is used for a vast area of social welfare. These countries can afford to do that because no one tries to play with the government revenue and hence naturally a massive volume of revenue is collected. Take for an example England and see how smoothly the system operates there and the enormous benefits offered to less affluent people because tax system works to rule generating massive revenue for government business. Some such benefits are set out below.

" High-quality National Health Service is absolutely free to all.
" Those who are unemployed are provided an income support, which is quite adequate to lead a satisfactory life.
" Those who employed but receive any thing less than minimum wage that the family require [depending on the number of dependants] are paid tax credit - a substantial sum paid by the Inland Revenue - to improve the quality of life.
" Those who cannot afford their own house or pay rent are either provided a house by the govt or rent is paid by the govt.
" Irrespective of the social status every child less than 16 years of age is paid a special childcare allowance called "child benefit", which is also substantial amount.
" Every child attend school all get textbooks, exercise books and other stationeries absolutely free
" For children from low-income families are supported with assisted transport [free train and bus passes], free school lunch [schools sessions end at 3.30] and free uniforms.

Open your eyes and see as to what is offered to poor in Sri Lanka today, it is almost nothing. Poor are denied any support or benefit and made to suffer for no fault of them. Clearly, the fault is on the part of the self-centred political leadership that has ignored its responsibility to the people for its own convenience. Who pay tax in Sri Lanka? Only those who cannot afford to evade the tax. Those who are influential conveniently evade government revenue in billions. I doubt the government collect 10% of the revenue that it should have collected. It seems no one is interested and the public is ignorant or not concerned. The truth is that politicians have become a curse to future of the country. They are readily prepared to stand to protect the interests of the government revenue defaulters. Probably the fraudsters are the key players responsible for raising massive sums required for elections.

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