Feb 10, 2019

Special probe on tobacco trafficking Featured

Minister of Finance and Mass Media Mangala Samaraweera has ordered Director General of Customs P.S. M. Charles to identify the criminals who are responsible for the racket of trafficking tobacco leaves to the country illegally and take legal action against them.

Five suspects have been remanded following an arrest on a tip off saying that a stock of tobacco leaves has been trafficked in a 40-foot cloth container brought to Sri Lanka from Bangladesh on December 3.

It had been planned to take the container to Italy as a re-export package by air. After the Director General was informed about the racket, she had instructed customs officials to take steps to apprehend the criminals.

T.M. Riyaz - Wattala!

The container which was brought by air, had not been inspected at the yard and was allowed to take out side. Then sleuths were advised to follow the vehicle carrying the container and it was identified that the container was taken to a yard belonged to former Vice Chairman of the Wattala Urban Council and a present member of the same T.M. Riyaz.

It is learned that the illegal stock of tobacco leaves has been seized with the support of the Wattala Police.

Thereafter, two customs officers suspected of involvement in the racket were subjected to compulsory leave by the Director General of Customs. It has been revealed that a millionaire businessman who exports dried areca nut and pepper to India is also behind the racket.

Minister Mangala Samaraweera has decided to conduct a comprehensive investigation into this racket due to a tax fraud has been committed amounting to Rs. 45  million. In a situation where Attorney General’s advice has also been sought to take legal action against them, a senior official from the Customs Department had been working to release the perpetrators. The Ministry acted promptly in accordance with a complaint received on culprits.