Sri Lanka President urged to probe MPs tax-free car permits


Feb 07, 2017 (LBO) – President Maithripala Sirisena has been requested to conduct, through the Commission to Investigate Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC), a probe into the tax-free car permits involving local members of parliament and ministers.

Lawyer Nagananda Kodituwakku, a public interest litigation activist, in a letter charged that the government had accepted the abuse of tax-free permits by MPs.

Quoting the island’s finance minister he said, “Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake on 20 November 2016 had proposed to abolish all tax-free permits including the permits for MPs, which incurred a loss of 40 billion rupees.”

Accordingly, he says the MPs had violated Section 3C of the Excise (Special Provisions) Act, No.8 of 1994, which states that any person who intends to sell or dispose of any goods (including vehicles) imported tax-free should obtain the prior permission of the Director-General of Excise and pay all levies exempted at the time of importation.

The letter also has a list of names of MPs who had sold their luxury vehicles.

Koddituwakku says he had complained twice to CIABOC about this matter regarding the abuse of tax-free permits but no action has been taken so far.

He has also filed a corruption case in the Supreme Court on 19 December 2017 against MPs who have openly abused the tax-free permits to misappropriate public funds.

In his letter he has requested President Sirisena to remove all members of CIABOC and its director general and to appoint persons of integrity and eminence, who could act independently of the political pressure exerted, to investigate corruption.

Koddituwakku requests the President to take legal action against all MPs who had misused their vehicle permits and ensure that the misappropriated public funds were recovered.

Giving an example, he said that three UK Parliamentarians: David Chaytor, Elliot Morley and Eric Illsley, who were found guilty of misusing public funds were each sent to jail for 18 months.

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