How did foreign liquor turn to water at warehouse? Customs launches probe

How did foreign liquor turn to water at warehouse? Customs launches probe

How did foreign liquor turn to water at warehouse? Customs launches probe

Written by Zulfick Farzan

02 Oct, 2020 | 7:06 pm

Colombo (News 1st); A full-scale investigation is currently underway regarding the foreign liquor racket uncovered by Sri Lanka Customs.

Sri Lanka Customs said statements were recorded from 07 parties with regard to importing the container which was said to contain foreign liquor.

In addition, the systems and procedures at Sri Lanka Customs are also subject to a review to identify any loopholes which pave the way to commit such malpractices.

The Preventive Directorate of Sri Lanka Customs seized a 40ft container said to contain foreign liquor intended to be re-exported to Bangladesh and it was opened in the presence of the relevant parties.

According to the declaration made to the Customs, 11,257 liters of foreign liquor was to be inside the said container.

However, at the examination, it was found the contents were 1179 boxes of 1L bottled mineral water.

Sri Lanka Customs said the liquor had been imported by a private company that owns a bonded warehouse located at Seeduwa adding the said container had been imported in 2018 under the special customs scheme where the disposal is allowed at a duty-free basis for the Airport Duty-free shops, if not duty has to be paid at the time of releasing to the local market and for the purpose of re-exportation as well.

After importing the container it was placed at a bonded warehouse located at Seeduwa.

According to the declaration, the container was to be re-exported in 2019 and following an extensive investigation, the Preventive Directorate of Sri Lanka Customs seized the container during the final stages of the re-export process.

Sri Lanka Customs said since the seizure, related parties were informed to be present for the container examination, however, they had been avoiding the process.

As per the direction of the Director-General of Customs, with the support of CID, the related party was informed several times of the examination process.

Sri Lanka Customs suspects the foreign liquor which was imported on a duty-free basis had been released to the local market without paying the levies due to the state.

The estimated revenue loss to the government is Rs. 40 million.

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