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VAT Case: Court Orders Release of Production Items


The Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court has issued an order directing the CID to release the inventory receipts of the confiscated documents belonging to an aggrieved party of the controversial VAT case, which were mixed up with the production items of the VAT case.

The Chief Magistrate’s Court made this order consequent to a request by the counsel appearing for Shirani Anoma Wettasinghe Dullewa, an aggrieved party in the controversial VAT case.

Counsel asked the inventory receipts of the confiscated documents be released to them in accordance with the High Court judgement.

An aggrieved party of the controversial VAT case alleged that the Criminal Investigations Department was yet to release the inventory receipts of the confiscated documents belonging to them, which were mixed up with the production items of the VAT case.On October 3, 2014, the Colombo High Court ordered the release of the receipts of the confiscated documents belonging to Dullewa and her son, a third party, after delivering the judgement of the main case.

A letter forwarded by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) secretary had also maintained that the certified copies of the inventory receipts (Confiscated 37 documents) could be handed over to Dullewa after delivering the judgement.

However, the aggrieved party observed that even though more than two years have passed after delivering the judgement, the CID was yet to release the inventory receipts.
Filing an affidavit before the Colombo High Court, Dullewa had stated that a large number of deposit certificates belonging to her and her son Upendra Wettasinghe Dullewa were found among the production items of the VAT case.

She requested Court that an order be issued to release the deposit certificates belonging to her and her son if they were not relevant to the VAT fraud case (4027/7) and unless included in the witness list.
On a previous occasion, counsel appearing for the aggrieved party informed Court that the money his clients earned from overseas had been deposited in Treasury bills with the approval of the Central Bank and the relevant documents pertaining to the deposited money were taken into CID custody.

The counsel said these documents were not relevant to the VAT fraud case and the CID might have mixed it up with the VAT case documents.
In this case, 14 accused were indicted on 34 charges including misappropriation of public funds amounting to Rs. 3,996,008,151 belonging to the Inland Revenue Department before the Colombo High Court. The offences were said to have been committed between November 15, 2002 and December 15, 2004 along with late Neville Shantha Waththegedara.

At the previous occasion, 10th accused Selliah Subramaniam, a businessman sentenced to 13 months’ rigorous imprisonment with a Rs. 100 million fine imposed for receiving Rs. 646 million as VAT refunds from the Inland Revenue Department.

The 13th accused Rizwin alias Abdul Kareem was sentenced to one year’s rigorous imprisonment and imposed a one million rupee fine for fraudulently receiving Rs.188 million as VAT refunds. The 14th accused Shabdeen Abdulla was sentenced to eight months’ rigorous imprisonment with a Rs. 50,000 fine for making false documents to facilitate the fraud.

The Colombo High Court had further sentenced the second accused Ananda Ambepitiya, an Assistant Commissioner of the IRD to a 14 month term of rigorous imprisonment when he pleaded guilty to the first count. The High Court further ordered him to pay a fine of Rs.500,000. Meanwhile, the 11th accused Salawudeen Mohamed Ashraff, a businessman was ordered to pay a fine of Rs. 60 million with a two-year-rigorous imprisonment term for fraudulently receiving Rs. 16.5 million.