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VAT scam: Ex-Inland revenue official sentenced

30 April 2013 08:10 am - 22     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Former Inland Revenue Assistant Commissioner Ananda Ambepitiya was today sentenced to 14 months in jail by the Colombo High Court after he pleaded guilty to the charge of having been involved in the Rs.3.9 billion VAT scam.

The VAT scam is considered as one of the biggest frauds in South Asia.

Colombo High Court Judge Kumuduni Wickremasinghe sentenced the second accused, a former IRD assistant commissioner Ananda Ambepitiya, to 14 months rigorous imprisonment after he pleaded guilty to the first count. The Judge imposed a fine of Rs.500,000. The rest of charges levelled against the accused were withdrawn by the Attorney General. The prosecutors alleged that the Assistant Commissioner had granted permission to refund VAT payments without conducting an inquiry and thereby had neglected his duties as a government officer.   

Meanwhile, the eleventh accused Salawudeen Mohamed Ashraff a businessman was ordered to pay a fine of Rs.60 million and two years of rigorous imprisonment after being found guilty of the charge of having fraudulently received Rs.16.5 million.

The Judge warned that the property belonging to the accused would be confiscated if he was unable to pay the fine.

The defence counsel told Court that the two accused who were allegedly involved in the fraud case were in remand custody for seven years and that this fact be considered when sentenced was passed.  

Meanwhile, the Court ordered that a property belonging to the tenth accused Selliah Subramaniam who had been sentenced earlier be confiscated since he was unable to pay the fine of Rs.100 million imposed by Court.

On a previous occasion, the tenth accused Selliah Subramaniam, a businessman was sentenced to 13 months rigorous imprisonment and fined Rs.100 million when he was found guilty to the charge of Rs.646 million as VAT refunds from the IRD.

The 13the accused Rizwin alias Abdul Kareem was sentenced to one year’s rigorous imprisonment and fined one million rupees after he was found guilty of having received Rs.188 million as VAT refunds. The 14th accused Shabdeen Abdulla was sentenced to eight months rigorous imprisonment and fined Rs.50,000 after he was found guilty of preparing false documents to facilitate the fraud.

The trial is being heard in the absence of eight accused -- Rasheed Mohamed Murshida, Bakeer Mohamed Riyaz, Mohamed Zubair Fawzil Amami, M. Ameer Irshad, N.A. Mohamed Nasmi, Mohamed Kamil Kuthubdeen and Abdul Mohamed Saafi, who are said to have left the country. The case was taken up with A. Gunasiri de Soyza Jayatillake, Ananda Wickremesinghe Ambepitiya, Sinnaiah Subramaniiyam, Saludeen Mohamed Ashraff, Mohamed Ismail Riswin and Sahabdeen Abdullah present in court. The AG had listed 251 as witnesses.   The trial was postponed for May 16.

Deputy Solicitor General Buvaneka Aluvihare appeared for the prosecution while President’s Counsel Anil de Silva with Shanaka Ranasinghe PC appeared for the accused. (Lakmal Sooriyagoda)
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  Comments - 22

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  • gowravi Tuesday, 30 April 2013 10:52 AM

    It is only 14 months becasue of Political connections, 3.9 B fraud & JUST 14 months ????

    N. Bandara Tuesday, 30 April 2013 11:06 AM

    Only 14 months for 3900 million!!!!!! I don't mind doing a term in prison for this money!!!!

    Ranil Tuesday, 30 April 2013 08:18 AM

    looks no political connection ? not share with the politician ?

    public Tuesday, 30 April 2013 08:25 AM

    What about the main suspect, who went into hiding?

    probably laughing at us now reading this news..........

    Irfan Tuesday, 30 April 2013 08:21 AM

    i think it should be 14 years not 14 months!

    kaputakukula Tuesday, 30 April 2013 08:32 AM

    Fourteen months only???? hhhmmm... let's say....
    During this period, Mr. Ambeypitiya will (be scheduled to) have a few heart attacks and sickness requiring him to be admitted in a luxury hospital. In between time to time the hospital authorities will discharge him for a few days at a time requiring him to rest in the prison????!!!
    Finally, when released, the game Mr.A played in VAT would leave him with 100% profit and a great loss to the public and its nation.

    Roshan Tuesday, 30 April 2013 08:38 AM

    Only 14 months for 3.9Billion Scam

    maha jaraa Tuesday, 30 April 2013 08:39 AM

    Now, this Peron is best suited for an advisory post

    Fazli Tuesday, 30 April 2013 08:38 AM

    there are politicians looting the public funds in several billions. so far no action.

    Sumanthi Tuesday, 30 April 2013 08:49 AM

    Poor guy, no political connections.

    jayasumana Tuesday, 30 April 2013 08:58 AM

    For every crooked official that is sent to jail, there are hundreds of others in govt emulating their political masters.

    malkanthi Tuesday, 30 April 2013 08:55 AM

    He will be bailed out in few days, this is just an eye wash!

    Kodituwakkuarachchi Tuesday, 30 April 2013 12:16 PM

    3.9 billion is a lot of money.

    Unless he pays back the money he should at least jailed for life.

    weha Tuesday, 30 April 2013 09:14 AM

    most important question is will he get to keep the money :P ?

    Arm chair critic Wednesday, 01 May 2013 05:49 AM

    He is right here in Dubai mate....enjoying all the luxuries.

    LOL Tuesday, 30 April 2013 09:16 AM

    90 % of Custom and Inland revenue department staff is corrupted, they harrased the legal traders while do well set business with wrong -doers

    saman Tuesday, 30 April 2013 09:37 AM

    Wow for 3.9 billion scam just 14 month prison ! do u think one can earn that even for even after14 years ! this is jungle law !

    ASHRAFF NAZIM Tuesday, 30 April 2013 09:40 AM

    Nowadays the TIE COAT people are filled in the Prison and whoever makes injustice they have to face the consequences whether TIE COAT or a THUG

    Nirmal Fernando Tuesday, 30 April 2013 09:45 AM

    Is that the true offender?

    Terrace Tuesday, 30 April 2013 09:51 AM

    Poor. Guy failed to pay to politician as he promissef

    osman Tuesday, 30 April 2013 09:57 AM

    we can do Fraud for Billions and spend 14 months in Luxury Jail and come back & be a billionaire. How is that????

    Rahmathullah M. H. Tuesday, 30 April 2013 10:34 AM

    Still he has time. Give part of your loot to a ruling party politician and you will be set free.


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