By T. K. G. Kapila – BIA
A French national who was apprehended by the Customs at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) on Saturday for attempting to smuggle in gold worth over Rs.85 million was ordered to be remanded by the Negombo Magistrate as the former had failed to pay a staggering fine of Rs.70 million imposed by the Customs.
The incident comes to light within two weeks when Parliamentarian Ali Sabri Raheem was nabbed by the Customs at the BIA VIP lounge for attempting to smuggle in gold worth of Rs.70 million and who was subsequently released on a Customs fine of just Rs.7.4 million.
According to a Customs official the foreigner who had arrived in the country on Saturday night on a SriLankan Airlines flight from Paris was arrested upon finding gold in his baggage.
The suspect had visited the country on several prior occasions but the Customs officials had felt suspicious and had searched his belongings to find some gold jewellery and a bunch of gold bars painted black weighing about four kilos and 611 grams.
Senior Deputy Customs Director S. Shivagnanam conducted the Customs Inquiry on this case and had ordered to forfeit the contraband whilst imposing a fine of Rs.70 million on the suspect.
The Customs however, had to produce the foreigner before Negombo Additional Magistrate Indika de Silva, as the suspect had failed to pay the massive fine, and later the Magistrate had ordered to remand the suspect till Thursday, June 8.
Many raised eyebrows hearing the staggering fine of Rs.70 million imposed on the foreigner, which is almost 100 per cent similar to the value of his contraband, when a local Parliamentarian apprehended with contraband amounting to the same value was just fined only 10 per cent against the total worth of his contraband.