A leading florist reputed for its flowers, chocolates and gift packs was raided by sleuths of the Excise Department City Office today for selling seasonal gift hampers which included bottles foreign liquor.
This company is not licenced to sell alcoholic beverages.
The Excise sleuths acting on a complaint received by Excise Commissioner General L.K.G. Gunawardena placed an order through the award-winning florist’s website which displayed various gift hampers for the National New Year festive season.
Excise Spokesman and Superintendent Prabath Jayawickrama who led the raid said the sleuths in the guise of members of the corporate sector had paid an advance for the hampers which included bottles of foreign liquor and asked that the hampers be delivered to an office at Kalapaluwawa in Rajagiriya.
The goods were then collected by a team of Excise officials who were at Rajagiriya and arrested the three employees of Flora while three other teams raided the florist’s head office in Nawala and branches in Negombo and Kandy.
Six employees including a manager were arrested and a stock of foreign liquor worth more than Rs.500,000 taken in to custody. The brands comprised Chivas Regal, Napoleon Brandy, several varieties of wine and cans of beer.
Mr. Jayawickrama alleged that the florist had violated Excise laws of selling and trafficking in liquor without a license. The arrested suspects will be produced in Courts.
Meanwhile, the investigations are continuing to locate the storeroom used by the company to store the alcoholic beverages. (Kurulu Koojana Kariyakarawana and Darshana Sanjeewa)