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Customs Losing Billions

  • Due to irregularities at RMV

A Hummer vehicle

By Nirmala Kannangara

Losses incurred by the Sri Lanka Customs Department due to irregularities in the Registrar of Motor Vehicles (RMV) run into billions, it is alleged.

It has come to light that RMV is registering vehicles that have been imported to the country evading Customs duty but getting registered at the RMV illegally depriving Customs duty charged from those vehicles.
According to RMV sources, owing to registration of these illegal motor vehicles by the RMV, the Customs Department loses more than Rs.10 billion annually.

“Thirty per cent of Customs revenue comes from taxes imposed on vehicle importation. As the RMV is carrying out several methods to register these illegal vehicles, the Customs Department is losing revenue. In 2012, a Hummer brand vehicle, the value of which is around Rs.30 million to Rs.40 million, has been registered by the RMV, although the Customs Department data does not show this vehicle details in their system which means it has been imported illegally – without paying customs duty.

“The customs duty for a Hummer brand vehicle is around Rs.20 million. By illegally registering this vehicle, the country has lost Rs.20 million tax,” sources claimed.

As Customs Department comes under the Finance Ministry, this fraud has been brought to the notice of the Secretary, Finance Ministry but it is surprising that no action had been taken to put a stop to the frauds and to bring the offenders to book,” alleged the RMV sources.

“We believe that the RMV registers the illegal vehicles imported by certain big-wigs. That is why the Finance Ministry does not take any action against these scams,” the sources alleged.

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