Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said yesterday the importer of the container loads of garbage to Sri Lanka had violated all laws and regulations and assured he would take strict action against those who had imported them.
He told parliament that the importer had violated Customs Ordinance, Environment Act and Basel Convention by importing the garbage.
The minister said he had instructed the officials to see the possibility of filing criminal charges against them as the punishment under the Customs Ordinance was not sufficient for this serious offence.
“The punishment against the culprit under the Customs Ordinance is a fine three times the value of the consignment. But this is not at all sufficient,” he said adding that a ministerial committee would be appointed together with Finance ministry and Investment Promotion ministry to probe the incident and take legal action against the responsible persons.
“The committee will make recommendations to prevent such activities in the future,” he said.
Responding to a question asked by JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake, he said a total of 2,964,850 kilograms of garbage had been imported to Sri Lanka while only 283,405 kilograms had been re-exported.
The minister said the garbage consignments should be returned to the country from which it was imported and pointed out that Britain had also launched an investigation into the incident.
“It should be investigated how the garbage was imported despite the Basel Convention which banned the export of haphazard waste,” he said. (Ajith Siriwardana and Yohan Perera)