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Massive vehicle racket

5 September 2011 07:30 pm - 13     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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A large-scale vehicle racket involving millions of rupees in unpaid import duty has come to light with the use of ‘Carnet’ permits issued to foreigners, dual citizenship holders and tourists who regularly travel abroad with permission to keep the vehicle with them for one year in Sri Lanka.

The vehicles brought to the country under this system are not subject to any customs duty or other tariffs.

They also need not be registered in Sri Lanka and the vehicle can travel in the country with a foreign number plate, a customs department official said yesterday. ‘Carnet’ permits are issued to foreigners who travel abroad allowing them to take their vehicles with them to the required destination and use it for a year in that particular country.

RMV sources said they had received information that several expensive ultra-luxury vehicles with foreign number plates, mostly EU number plates travelling on the roads of Colombo and elsewhere have increased in the past two years. Customs sources said many Sri Lankan with dual citizenship had been using this system to import luxury vehicles to the country with no duty at all.

The Customs said it had detected this racket in recent times as they have received information that some of these permit holders had registered their vehicles with the RMV as well. “We are investigating these reports.

These holders are not required to pay duty and other Customs fees,” a Deputy Director of Customs said. “The Carnet permit is valid for only one year and after that they have to take the vehicle back to their country where the permit was first issued. If not the vehicles can be seized by Customs and confiscated. However we have information that some of the vehicles have been registered with the RMV after the lapse of the one year period,” he said.

The official said the Customs was taking the issue seriously as the number of such vehicles ranging from Defenders, Mercedes Benz Jeeps, Nissan Terranos’ and GM Jeeps plying in the roads with foreign number plates had increased in the past two or three years. A Motor Traffic Department spokesman said, in Sri Lanka these vehicles were brought down by tourists during the past 10-15 years but now much more vehicles are in the roads which have been brought down by locals who are dual citizen holders.

These permit holders have been lobbying the government and the Register of Motor Vehicles (RMV) to increase the allowed one year to two or three years. He also said that the system of awarding permits

was introduced to expand tourism in all parts of the world. (Supun Dias)
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  Comments - 13

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  • Nishantha Rajapaksa Tuesday, 06 September 2011 12:08 AM

    they MUST reduce the importation of foreign vehicles immediately!

    V. Puran Appu Tuesday, 06 September 2011 01:04 AM

    If there was a decent public transport system very few people will use vehicles, and the demand will automatically reduce.

    DN Tuesday, 06 September 2011 02:45 AM

    If the vehicle within the standard of importing, what is wrong if RMV allows to register the vehicle by paying due taxes & fees?

    Lanke Banda Tuesday, 06 September 2011 04:38 AM

    What is the next racket ? Petroleum,Power,Cricket this way will end up with only Badminton & Tennis Rackets.

    Leslie Tuesday, 06 September 2011 05:36 AM

    Rackets, Corruption, Non-transparency deals a galore. No one brought to books and/or found guilty. The question arises whether we need a government!

    Punchi Putha Tuesday, 06 September 2011 03:16 PM

    Rackets and corruptions galore!

    faqi Tuesday, 06 September 2011 06:20 AM

    Why doesn't the RMV have a computerized tracking system for vehicles brought into the country on a International carnet? Then at the end of 12 months they could check whether the vehicle is still in the country or has been shipped back. If is is still in the country, then assess the duty on the vehicle and collect it from the owner or confiscate the vehicle. This is how its done in advanced countries.

    THE UNDERTAKER Tuesday, 06 September 2011 06:49 AM

    Thank God - our country is covered by sea -all a around-otherwise - 90% of the vehciles will be comining under CARNET and running with Foreign numbers ( NO DUTY )-lol

    Samantha Abayasekara Tuesday, 06 September 2011 07:40 AM

    Aiiiooo, this is a simple case, they will get hold of a Henchiya of the Regime and forget everything. OR even kill the honest Govt. servants who do the inquiry. Do we have a law in Sri Lanka ? If so where is it ?? Simple.....

    Damien Perea Tuesday, 06 September 2011 08:35 AM

    Even the "dual citizens" want to defraud the country of revenue. What a shame.

    godfrey Tuesday, 06 September 2011 08:47 AM

    Corruption! Corruption!! Corruption!! Norm of the day. Throw the law book hard against the culprits, if one desires to stop this menace, though it will never see the light of the day as politicos themselves are corrupt! What a country!! God help Sri Lanka!!!

    Danushka Desilva Monday, 05 September 2011 08:43 PM

    Racket here Racket there, everywhere rackets!!! It keeps on increasing not decreasing, if it goes like this Sri Lanka will surely have a Brighter future

    Fishmonger Tuesday, 06 September 2011 11:07 AM

    Jeez ! How Shocking !!...... And what about ministers,their wives and sons and daughter in laws using so many BMW,Merc,Prado,Cruiser vehicles? Is that not a loss for poor lanka.
    Or do they think the money to buy the cars came from Appachi?


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