COLOMBO (News 1st); Four employees at Lanka Sathosa Limited have been sent on compulsory leave following the expose’ on the #GarlicScam, said Rear Admiral (Retd) Ananda Peiris, the Chairman of the state-owned enterprise.
It is revealed that freight containers with garlic cleared from the port, have been sold to a businessmen under the pretext of shipping them to Lanka Sathosa Limited.
Sathosa is conducting an internal investigation over the #GarlicScam and the report is to be made available to him on Wednesday (15), he said.
State Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna assured that necessary action will be taken against the #GarlicScam, while a police investigations is also underway.
At the same time a complaint was also filed with the Criminal Investigations Department on Tuesday (14), by the importer of the said consignments of garlic.
The importer was identified as Enricher Investment Lanka (Pvt) Ltd and in their noted in their claim that 02 out of 18 freight containers with garlic imported by them were taken out of the ports in a secret manner
Attorney-at-Law Harith Hettiarachchi appearing for the complainant told reporters that although in paper it is said that the stocks were released to Sathosa, that had not taken place.
‘Corrupt officials at the Sri Lanka Ports Authority and Sathosa are selling off essential food items and we are seeking an investigation from the CID in to this matter,’ he said.
On the 09th of September 2021, the Consumer Affairs Authority carried out a surprise inspection on imported essential food items.
Chairman of the CAA Thushan Gunawardena said a Sathosa employee tipped the CAA noting that an illegal transaction was taking place at the Sathosa warehouse in Welisara.
“Our investigation team found that 02 freight containers with over 56,000 kilograms of garlic,” he said adding the investigation led to the conclusion that an illegal activity had taken place.
In addition, the Welisara store manager had been instructed by head office to release the consignment without invoices, which is an illegal practice, he added.
He said the CAA has informed the CID to conduct an investigation as well.
The consignment which was sold on the 09th of September was traced to a location in Seeduwa on Tuesday (14), said the CAA Chairman.
‘Officers found that the CID has already taken two containers in their custody. But there are reports that the containers have been unloaded and the garlic was sold to outside vendors through this warehouse,’ he added.