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VAT fraud: Retired tax instructor gives evidence

Retired tax instructor of the Inland Revenue Department Piyadasa Guruge told the Colombo High Court that according to the documents procured by the Intag Apparels (Pvt) Limited it had purchased textiles worth Rs. 70 million for November, 2003 to produce garments for export.

But the electricity consumption was Rs. 51,000 for the same month which was highly questionable.

He made this observation giving evidence before High Court Judge Sunil Rajapakse in connection with the largest ever VAT fraud of Rs. 4,000 million. He was examined by Deputy Solicitor General Buwaneka Aluvihare.

He also said the electricity consumption was very low compared to the raw materials that the company bought for the month to produce textiles. If I were the tax officer responsible for the tax I would have conducted an investigation but such an investigation had not been conducted.

The DSG showed a form to Guruge submitted by Intag Apparels (Pvt) Ltd to refund tax of Rs. 13,856,145.20 for November, 2003.

The Attorney General has filed indictment before the Colombo High Court against two income tax officers and 12 businessmen in respect of the Rs. 3,996 million massive VAT fraud.

The Attorney General filed indictment against retired Deputy Income Tax Commissioner Gnanasiri de Soysa Jayatilake, Deputy Commissioner Ananda Wickramasinghe Ambepitiya, Rasheed Mohamed Murshid, Bakeer Mohamed Rias, Mohamed Subeire Fausul Amami, Maujul Ameer Irshad, Nagur Mohamed, Nasmi Mohamed Khamil Kuthubdeen, Abdul Mohamed Saheer, Sinnaiyah Subramanium, Salaudeen Ashroff Mohamed Khasim Safeek, Mohamed Ismail Risvin and Sahabdeen Abdullah.

The Case is heard in absentia of third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth and 12th accused as they were absconding the Court.

According to the charges they have misused the money with the support of Darmadasa Rajapaksage and Nevil Shantha Wattaladeniya between November 15, 2002 and July 15, 2004. The indictments have been filed against the accused separately.

Deputy Solicitor General Buwaneka Aluvihare, Senior State Counsel Gihan Kulathunga, Senior State Counsel Damith Thotawatta, State Counsel Shanil Kularatne and State Counsel Asad Navavi appeared for the prosecution.

The case was put off for January 28.

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