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Gold smuggling MP’s secretary attempts to influence NMRA officials

1 March 2024 04:13 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Colombo, March 1 (Daily Mirror) - The National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) officials who went to raid a pharmacy in Puttalam that had been operating sans a licence, had to take a ‘tough stance’ when a secretary of the infamous gold smuggling Parliamentarian Ali Sabri Raheem had tried to influence them from performing their duties, the Daily Mirror learns.

Despite several warnings issued by the District Food and Drug Inspectors to cease the operations of the newly opened pharmacy in Puttalam town for selling pharmaceutical drugs without a single licence, the NMRA officials from Colombo organized a raid this week to inspect the illegal premises.

A senior NMRA official from Colombo backed by Puttalam District Food and Drug Inspectors and the Police Special Task Force personnel searched a pharmacy located at Udayar Lane on Marikkar Street in the Puttalam town last Sunday.

Upon inquiry, the officials learnt that the owner of the pharmacy neither possessed a licence for his pharmacy nor a personal pharmacist licence to sell drugs, an NMRA official said.

Whilst the raid was in progress, an individual who had arrived at the scene had introduced himself as the personal secretary of Puttalam District MP Ali Sabri Raheem and had tried to influence the officials from carrying out their duties, the sources said.

The senior NMRA official had taken a tough stance at this moment and had warned the individual with political affiliations not to interfere with their duties and the situation was brought under control.

The officials took a large stock of over 144 varieties of 2A and 2B category prescription drugs into custody from the illegal pharmacy, which is valued at Rs.2.5 million. They had however not sealed the pharmacy, which functioned without a licence as it was selling regular grocery items too.

The owner of the pharmacy had been arrested and had been released on a surety bail of Rs.100, 000. He was ordered to appear before the Puttalam Magistrate on March 6th where the seized medicines would also be produced by the NMRA officials.

When contacted MP Ali Sabri Raheem told the Daily Mirror yesterday that his personal secretary had gone to purchase some medicines from that pharmacy at the time of the raid and said the NMRA officials could take legal action against the secretary if he had interfered with the duties.

Former All Ceylon Makkal Congress MP Ali Sabri Raheem was detained by Sri Lanka Customs at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) in March last year for attempting to smuggle gold worth over Rs.74 million.


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