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Massive e-vehicle racket comes to light after 119 luxury car imports

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A massive electric vehicle import racket has been exposed by the Parliamentary Committee on Ways and Means revealing startling details on misusing the facility given to migrant workers, official sources revealed.     

Chairman of the Committee Patalee Champika Ranawake said that 119 luxury electric vehicles worth Rs1.2 billion had been imported into the country misusing the migrant workers vehicle scheme.

Of this 75 such vehicles had been brought in to the country by a single company, he disclosed without naming the importer.

These vehicles have been imported by using the licence to import electric cars by several vendors and sold it in the local market fraudulently, he claimed.

The committee has issued a directive to relevant authorities to immediately take action against perpetrators including corrupt state officials.

It will issue guidelines to the finance and labour ministries to properly implement the incentive scheme for migrant employees to import a two-wheeled electric vehicle valued up to US$25,000 and a four-wheeled fully electric vehicle valued up to $65,000.

The Business Times exclusively reported on June 11, 2023 quoting, several leading motor traders as stating that vehicles import scheme for migrant workers has turned into a racket by some unscrupulous vehicle importers in hand in glove with corrupt officials.

The global manufacturers and authorised representatives were consulted to formulate a sustainable roll out of Electric Vehicles to Sri Lanka considering the missteps of the past and failures of over 5,000 Nissan leaf vehicles which were imported against manufacturer recommendations.

This proposal was accepted and the first circular [MFE/DEV/HOB/03/ vol ii] was issued on 31st August 2022 by the Ministry of Labour and Foreign Employment Circular No; 02/2022).

However nine days later, this was suddenly reversed in a circular No; 02/2022 dated September 9 2022.

In this new circular, the manufacturer warranty of three years was changed to a 3rd party warranty. Manufacturer recommendations of suitability to a country or region were completely ignored.

The electric vehicles are being imported by unauthorised parties totally against manufacturer recommendations, they pointed out.

The earlier wording limited the vehicle CIF value to a maximum of US $65,000 which still allowed vehicles from medium to luxury categories to be imported.

However, the altered circular has eliminated the maximum limit on the CIF which now enables ultra-luxury vehicles to be imported, they claimed.

Such a change supported by the other alterations on the latest circular, clearly enables the ultra-rich living in Sri Lanka to import electric vehicles for their personal usage utilising the migrant worker scheme, motor traders charged at that time.

(sundaytimes.lk)

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Electricity tariffs reduced

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The Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) has approved a reduction of electricity tariffs by 22.5 per cent overall, PUCSL chairman Prof. Manjula Fernando said today (July 15).

The tariff revision, which will be effective from midnight today, is as follows :

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FR petition filed over Presidential Election dismissed with costs

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The Supreme Court has dismissed the Fundamental Rights (FR) petition filed seeking an order to prevent holding of the Presidential Election as the 19th Amendment to the Constitution has not been properly passed in Parliament, subject to costs.

This verdict was issued when the relevant petition filed by Attorney-at-Law Aruna Laksiri was taken up for consideration today (15) before a Supreme Court judge bench comprising Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya, Justices Arjuna Obeysekara and Priyantha Fernando.

Accordingly, the court ordered the petition dismissed with costs of Rs 500,000 to be paid by the petitioner before July 31, 2024.

The petition argued that the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was not properly passed in Parliament and therefore called for a referendum to ensure its proper passage.

The Election Commission and its members, the General Secretary of Parliament and the Attorney General had been named as respondents of this petition.

The petitioner claimed that through the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, Article 70 of the Constitution has been amended to deprive the President of the power to dissolve an elected Parliament after one year has passed.

The petitioner asserted that the amendment has not been approved by a referendum, even though a Supreme Court bench ruled that the amendment should be referred to a referendum.

The petitioner pointed out that the amendment cannot be considered as a law because it has not been approved by a referendum and signed by the President.

Therefore, the petitioner had argued that it is wrong to continue to accept the 19th Amendment as a law.

(adaderana.lk)

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Sabry to visit Romania & Poland

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Foreign Minister Ali Sabry will pay official visits to Romania and Poland from 16 to 19 July 2024.  

According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Colombo, he will meet with his counterparts and other senior government ministers and officials.

Minister Sabry will also formally open the new Sri Lanka Embassy in Bucharest which commenced operation in 2023.

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