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Liquor sticker scam: Company licences to be cancelled

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The Finance Ministry has recommended that measures be taken to stem corruption among excise officers and that companies involved in the liquor bottle security sticker scam be imposed heavy fines and have their liquor licences cancelled.

The recommendations are included in a report the Ministry has submitted to President Ranil Wickremesinghe regarding corrupt practices in the local liquor trade, a senior Finance Ministry official told the Sunday Times.

The Ministry has also recommended that orders be issued to liquor producers that they should install CCTV systems inside their factories, with the systems being connected to the Excise Department so the production process could be monitored.

Given the accusations that some excise officers are also involved in the scam, excise officers deployed as inspectors to any manufacturing plants where liquor bottles with fake security stickers have been produced must be transferred immediately, the Finance Ministry has recommended. As an additional measure, all excise officers deployed to liquor manufacturing plants as inspectors should be rotated every six months.

Another recommendation is to call for a report regarding liquor licence holders who possess multiple permits for the same area, allowing them to sell liquor at several locations in close proximity.

A copy of the Finance Ministry’s report has also been forwarded to Parliament’s Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Parliamentarian Patali Champika Ranawaka. The Committee, too, has been probing the fake security sticker scam.

Meanwhile, as of Friday, the Excise Department had seized about 48,000 liquor bottles suspected to contain fake security stickers, Excise Commissioner Kapila Kumarasinghe said.

He said the Excise Department was also compiling a detailed report containing information such as how many bottles with fake security stickers had been recovered from the market, the estimated tax loss suffered by the state, the companies involved, and the persons responsible. The report will be submitted to Parliament, the Finance Ministry, and the Presidential Secretariat.

In addition to confiscating the bottles with fake stickers, the Excise Department was planning to impose a tax on the companies involved, depending on the number of bottles found with fake security stickers, Mr. Kumarasinghe said.

(sundaytimes.lk)

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Sri Lanka Mirror wishes everyone a happy Sinhala and Tamil New Year!

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The 2024 Sinhala and Tamil New Year dawned at 09.05 pm last night (April 13).

‘Sri Lanka Mirror’ extends heartfelt New Year greetings to all our readers. May this upcoming year be filled with boundless happiness, prosperity, and success for each and everyone of you.

–  Sri Lanka Mirror team

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Derailed train causes delays on coastal line

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A train has derailed at the Kalutara South railway station on Saturday morning (13).

Trains operating on the Coastal Line are thus experiencing delays, Sri Lanka Railways said.

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Kristalina Georgieva to head IMF for a 2nd term

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The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has selected Kristalina Georgieva to serve as IMF Managing Director for a second five-year term starting on October 1, 2024.

The appointment comes ahead of the start of the fund’s spring meetings in Washington next week.

Georgieva, who has been in the role since the autumn of 2019, was the sole candidate for the position. However, it was only after European leaders signalled that they would endorse her last month that her candidacy was assured.

In a statement, the coordinators of the Executive Board, Mr. Afonso S. Bevilaqua and Mr. Abdullah F. BinZarah has said, “Looking ahead, the Board welcomes Ms. Georgieva’s ongoing emphasis on issues of macroeconomic and financial stability, while also ensuring that the Fund continues to adapt and evolve to meet the needs of its entire membership. It recognizes her focus on strengthening the Fund’s support to its members through effective policy advice, capacity development and financing. The Board looks forward to continuing to work closely with the Managing Director.”

“I am deeply grateful for the trust and support of the Fund’s Executive Board, representing our 190 members, and honored to continue to lead the IMF as Managing Director for a second five-year term,” Ms. Georgieva has said.

The Bulgarian national has served as Managing Director since October 1, 2019. The Managing Director is the chief of the IMF’s operating staff and Chair of the Executive Board. The Managing Director is assisted by four Deputy Managing Directors in overseeing the Fund’s operations, which serve its membership through about 3,100 staff.

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