The All Ceylon Customs Service Union said an influential business tycoon imports vehicle components and assembles luxury vehicles at a workshop in the premises of an industrial zone at Veyangoda that belongs to the Board of Investment. Right now there are over one hundred such luxury vehicles assembled and kept ready for sale at much cheaper prices than imported vehicles.
The Union in a letter to President Mahinda Rajapaksa said though there is a ruling that vehicles over three and a half years old from the date of manufacture cannot be imported and also there is a ban on importing components to be assembled locally for sale as imported vehicles, this individual has a special exchange permit to indulge in this illegal business.
The Customs were unable to take any action against him because of this special exchange permit. He wields much influence with high officials of the Ministry of Finance depriving the country of millions of rupees as taxes. The Union said the permit for this business tycoon had been granted on 13th August, 2002 during the tenure of the UNP Government.
Genuine vehicle importers who pay huge taxes to the state are thoroughly affected by this individual`s action, the Union told the President.
The Union urged the President to immediately cancel the special permit granted to this business tycoon thus enabling the Customs to levy all due taxes from him from the date of commencement of his business and remit the millions of rupees thus collected to the state coffers.
As further evidence the Union has attached photo copies of some documents submitted to the Customs recently to clear the spare parts he had imported.
When contacted by The Island Chairman Board of Investment Dhammika Perera said that he was not aware of the happenings in Veyangoda but would inquire into it and let The Island know about it today.