This follows Abeygunawardena’s having strongly denounced, during the parliamentary debate on February 07, a paper submitted to the cabinet a week earlier by minister Ravi Karunanayake to grant a 70 per cent tax reduction to the company.
‘Owner is our man’
Soon after his speech, Abeygunawardena was reached by Ranatunga, who told him that Vehicles Lanka was a renowned company in his area, and that its owner has helped him as well as the family of the ex-president, with Yoshitha Rajapaksa gifted a valuable racing car.
The company owner generously funded the JO’s propaganda work too, Ranatunga has told his colleague.
The cabinet paper proposed the concessions for a three year period to 2,250 vehicles assembled by Vehicles Lanka.
Treasury’s order challenged
In the meantime, treasury secretary Dr. R.H.S. Samaratunga wrote to the Customs director general on January 24, instructing him to release eight container-loads of spare parts imported by the company.
The cabinet has given the OK for the releasing of the spare parts on a recommendation by a ministerial subcommittee headed by Nimal Siripala de Silva, Samaratunga wrote.
The letter was leaked to the media and it became a controversial issue, with strong opposition coming within the Customs itself.
Retired deputy Customs superintendent Santh Fernando has sent a letter to the Customs chief that he would complain to courts if the treasury secretary’s order was followed, as it amounted to a contempt of court.
A few days ago, armed with a court order, the anti-vice squad of Walana, together with Customs officials, raided Vehicles Lanka yard at Minuwangoda and seized 54 luxury vehicles assembled there.