Written by Tharushan Fernando
16 Oct, 2015 | 8:45 pm
The three customs officers who were arrested when obtaining a bribe of Rs.125 million were remanded until October 30.
They were remanded after they were produced before the Colombo Chief Magistrate, Gihan Pilapitiya.
The three suspects were produced in court by the Director General of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption, Dilrukshi Dias Wickremasinghe.
Although a group of lawyers represented the suspects, they did not make an application for bail on behalf of their clients. The magistrate announced that the location of the prison to hold the suspects will be decided subsequently.
Dilrukshi Dias stated in court, that since this case could be solved soon, support from defence lawyers will be required. She sought the permission of court to deposit the bribe of Rs.125 million at a bank today, and it was granted for by the magistrate.
Wickremasinghe informed court that three notes of the five thousand rupee denomination will be used for the purpose of obtaining finger prints of the suspects and the rest will be deposited in a bank.
According to the inscriptions in Godawaya and archaeological excavations, Customs activities began from the day of King Gajaba.
Customs Ordinance for Sri Lanka Customs was introduced in 1869 and Sri Lanka Customs Department commenced in 1909. With 51 amendments, the present Customs Ordinance for Sri Lanka Customs is 142 years old.
One of the main responsibilities of Customs is to generate a revenue to the state, facilitate international trade and social conservation and in addition, it is the responsibility of customs to be vigilant over persons and acdtivities that may pose a threat to national security.
As per the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, the Sri Lanka Customs provides 0.60 percent of the taxes earned byn the country.
According to the annual report issued by the Ministry of Finance of fiscal conditions in tax revenue collected by the government from January 2015 to April 2015 is Rs. 360.6 billion.
However, a shortage is always recorded in the money supplied to the Government by the Customs as per the estimates.
Customs media spokesperson, Leslie Gamini said that the Sri Lanka Customs are also conducting an investigation in connection to the three officials.
Customs Media Spokesperson, Leslie Gamini stated:
We consider Customs to be a very important department that has been operating for a long period of time and fraud had taken place since the inception. To be honest if the Customs Officials are operating in an unethical manner, it is a serious issue.
He further stated
As per the information, this can be considered as the largest raid that has been carried out and such an incident of bribery or corruption has not previously been recorded. We the customs department, as a state department are prepared to provide our fullest support with regard to these investigations.
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