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Video: Customs officers refuse to open container in media presence

15 March 2013 01:39 pm - 12     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Customs officers today shied away from opening two containers suspected to contain 62,000 litres of illegally imported Ethanol worth about Rs.40 million.

The stock of Ethanol which was imported from Vietnam was seized at Thotalanga by Excise officers on Wednesday.

Although on many previous occasions the Customs had opened containers containing large stocks of illegally imported goods in the presence of the media, they had refused to do so today giving rise to many questions.  

“As the person in charge here, it is my duty to protect the workers and the goods. You media people have no right to enter this area, let me carry out my duties,” Grandpass Warehouse Customs Officer W. Nanayakkara said. “I have to protect my workers from media. If any pictures of the workers are published in papers, they may come under threat,” he said.

When journalists asked why he refused to allow the media to cover this issue unlike in previous instances, he said he could not comment on it.

“I cannot comment on previous issues, if the media wants to cover this they should get permission from the Director General of the Customs or from the Media Spokesman,” Mr. Nanayakkara said.

Journalists then tried to contact the spokesman but failed.

However the container was not opened even though an officer who could handle the matter was present saying they would wait till the owner of the container arrived and asked journalist to leave the premises. (Chathuranga Pradeep and Lahiru Pothmulla)


The picture shows the excise officials inspecting the container reported to hold illegally imported ethanol. The government banned the import of ethanol recently with the view of increasing the local production of ethanol, which is the main ingredient in alcohol products. Inset – The Customs officer asking journalists to leave the warehouse complex. Pix by Pradeep Dilrukshana

  Comments - 12

  • Srimevan Saturday, 16 March 2013 03:09 AM

    Don't be surprised if all Ethanol is evaporated and the container is empty by the time it’s opened in front of the Media

    Eagle Eye Saturday, 16 March 2013 03:31 AM

    May be it contain " Cow Dung?

    Ishy Saturday, 16 March 2013 06:48 AM

    These fellows will shamelessly ask money to let taxable items in!!!

    Sumanasiri Friday, 15 March 2013 02:30 PM

    With the recent highlighting of customs officers commission scheme, may be the media is not exactly popular at the moment.

    Calistus Jayatilleke Saturday, 16 March 2013 04:28 AM

    Obviously, most prople know that those behind the import of this consignment have very high connections with the government and somehow we will not be surprised if the whole consigment of Ethanol just vanishes into thin air.

    Roger Friday, 15 March 2013 02:39 PM

    "Puhul hora karen danawi" - The crook does not know he is exposed.

    Nuzrath Anver Friday, 15 March 2013 02:50 PM

    Custom Officers are crooks.

    Guru Friday, 15 March 2013 03:03 PM

    These are more worrying things than the halal thing this can drug the whole of sri lanka

    RamUk Friday, 15 March 2013 03:15 PM

    may be a rolls Royce will pop up ...

    Upul Friday, 15 March 2013 03:33 PM

    Sri Lanka might be the only country where media cover opening of suspected containers in customs.

    Saman Saturday, 16 March 2013 02:36 AM

    No wonder country going down the pallam...(Down Hill). This is what you call Alibaba in action.

    Jambo Friday, 15 March 2013 03:55 PM

    Customs office fear what a county what a county

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