Backbone of officers to be broken and customs to be made a political center – JVP
Tuesday, 19 March 2013 18:54
Customs officers who carry out their raids without any political bias are to be made cats’ paws of politicians, their backbones are to be broken and political power is to be used for politicians and their lackeys to wriggle through the tax net says the Member of the Central Committee of the JVP Parliamentarian Sunil Handunneththi.
Speaking at a special media conference held at the head office of the JVP at Pelawatta today (19th) Mr. Handunneththi said, “The government is preparing to debate and adopt 21 tax amendment bills within 3 days starting from today. He said what is grave in the move is the attempt of the government to conceal, within the 21 bills, the tax appeal commission bill and customs bill that were not adopted with the budget, in an attempt to get them adopted with other bills.
The government through these two bills is attempting to kill two birds with one stone. The Minister of Finance will have the right to decide the ratio of cash rewards for the officers and all cash rewards will be taken over by the minister to quell the financial crisis of the government.
Most of the rackets are carried out with the participation of politicians. How could one expect customs officers to carry out raids boldly when such bills come into effect? Rewards for customs officers who risk their lives to raid dirty rackets of politicians are decided by a politician – the Minister of Finance. The Minister of Finance is the President. What is the assurance customs officers have regarding their duties? Can they be given an assurance that there wouldn’t be any political influence? The government wants to adopt these bills to grab the cash awards and to use the officers who carry out raids independently as their cats’ paws. They want to make customs one of their political centers. The consignment of Ethanol worth Rs.110 million was smuggled in by those who have political power. If the importers are registered how could those who imported the consignment becomes a mystery?
Large scale distilleries are maintained in Sri Lanka by politically powerful persons. It is a very serious issue if cash awards for officers who raid illicit liquor is decided by the Minister of Finance. Whatever criticism is aimed at customs officers there have been instances where customs officers have sacrificed their lives carrying out their duties. However, the bill to be adopted allows politicians and their lackeys to carry out any racket while the backbone of the customs officers is broken.
Hence, we call on the government to withdraw the two bills. The amendments should be discussed with officers who are against frauds and corruption. An individual being able to challenge tax laws and regulations that affect the whole nation is a serious state. Then a situation arises where tax laws go astray. The situation would create a cover for racketeers and those who evade paying taxes.”
The Member of the Central Committee of the JVP Lakshman Nipunarachchi too was present.