Bar Owners take lid off corrupt Excise officials | Daily News

Bar Owners take lid off corrupt Excise officials

Says Rs.400 mn lost daily in tax evasion
Liquor makers also owners of taverns now

Sri Lanka Liquor Licensees Association on Saturday said the government was losing around Rs.400 million in taxes on a daily basis as some corrupt Excise Department officials are helping liquor manufacturers to evade taxes.

The Association spokesman Dullus Fernando addressing the media said there was a huge gap between the amount of liquor produced daily by the distilleries in the country and the amount they show to the government for payment of taxes and that this tax evasion has been going on for many years with the support of some Excise officials.

He said monies earned through such corrupt means change hands among several groups, including politicians, Excise officials and liquor manufacturers.

He called on the President and the Prime Minister to appoint a separate team to investigate the incident and expose the identity of tax evaders to the country.

He said that although the owners of liquor factories could not maintain liquor outlets under the Excise Act, there were many liquor outlets in the country owned by manufacturers. He said liquor produced in the distilleries would go to the liquor outlets of the manufacturers without falling into the tax net with the blessings of the some Excise Officers.

He said that there was a lot of malpractice in the production of toddy as well and that toddy is being prepared using harmful substances.

He said that the Excise Department has appointed a supervisor for each distillery and that some of them, along with top officials, were paving the way for manufacturers to evade taxes.

Ajith Udugama, President of the Liquor Licensing Association meanwhile said that although sugar and rice could not be used in the production of beer under the Excise Act, it was confirmed by a Government Analyst’s report that local breweries were using sugar and rice in blatant violation of the Act.

“There are brokers working for beer companies in Batticaloa and Akkaraipattu to buy paddy”, he said. He also said that the Agriculture Department in particular should look into the matter at a time when there is a rice shortage in the country.

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