SC intervention sought to obtain list of 77 imported vehicles

MPs’ duty free permit racket:



by Shamindra Ferdinando


The Supreme Court has been moved against Director General of Customs and Attorney General in the wake of the former turning down requests to furnish a complete list of all vehicles imported on the tax free permits issued to sitting members of parliament.


The petition has been filed in keeping with Article 126 of the Constitution. The SC has been requested to intervene on behalf of attorney-at-law Nagananda Kodituwakku, who sought relevant information on Oct 28, 2016 and Nov 10, 2016.


Public interest litigation activist Kodituwakku has, in his petition, alleged that denial of information as requested by him violated Article 14A of the Constitution and Section 3 of the Right to Information Act No 12 of 2016.


Kodituwakku alleged that the first respondent was constitutionally bound to act in accordance with the Article 28 of the Constitution in addition to collection and protection of government revenue as stipulated by Section 2 of the Customs Ordinance. The former head of the Customs Revenue Task Force asserted that the AG had been made a party to the application in terms of Article 134 of the Constitution.


The petitioner has alleged that issuance of tax-free car permits to MPs and their transfer to third parties have caused a colossal loss to government revenue running into several billions of rupees while ordinary people had to bear unbearable tax burden imposed on almost every commodity including water.


The petitioner has said that confirmation was obtained from the Department of Motor Traffic pertaining to the transfer of 20 vehicles imported on MPs’ permits to new owners. The 20 vehicles had been among 77 vehicles imported during June-Nov 2, 2016 period by members of the government and the Opposition. Seventy seven members had received tax exemptions amounting to approximately Rs. 30 mn each with one receiving a staggering Rs 44 mn exemption.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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