Eight more sentenced in VAT fraud case, fined Rs.30 billion

Eight more sentenced in VAT fraud case, fined Rs.30 billion

September 26, 2014   01:25 pm

Eight accused found guilty in Sri Lanka’s largest VAT fraud case were sentenced to 20-years imprisonment and fined approximately 30 billion rupees by the Colombo High Court today.   

High Court Judge Kumuduni Wickremasinghe imposed the sentence on the accused, who are absconding after leaving the country, when the case regarding the VAT scam amounting to Rs 3.9 billion was taken up for hearing.

Court instructed the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and the Attorney General to submit a report regarding the defendants’ assets and to take steps to seize them.

The Attorney General had filed charges against 14 defendants while a former Deputy Commissioner of the Inland Revenue Department had been sentenced on 08 May, 2014.

Former Inland Revenue Officer, Gunasiri de Soyza Jayatillake was imposed a 102-year suspended jail term to be served for 3 years and a Rs 12 billion fine after he had pleaded guilty to 34 charges in the case, which is considered as the biggest VAT scam in South Asia.

Jayatillake had pleaded guilty to the charges when the case was taken up on April 26, 2014.

Previously charges against only 5 of the accused were heard as the other 9 were abroad and absconding.  

The offence was said to have been committed by the businessman known as Kamil Kuthubdeen and his accomplices between November 15, 2002 and August 15, 2004.

The Colombo High Court had issued warrants for his arrest but he is said to be on the run after hiding at his Dubai city hotels.  

The former Inland Revenue Assistant Commissioner Ananda Ambepitiya was sentenced to 14 months in jail by the Colombo High Court in April last year after he pleaded guilty to the charge of having been involved in the same VAT scam.

Meanwhile, the eleventh accused Salawudeen Mohamed Ashraff a businessman was ordered to pay a fine of Rs.60 million and two years of rigorous imprisonment after being found guilty of the charge of having fraudulently received Rs.16.5 million.

On a previous occasion, the tenth accused Selliah Subramaniam, a businessman was sentenced to 13 months rigorous imprisonment and fined Rs.100 million when he was found guilty to the charge of Rs.646 million as VAT refunds from the IRD.

The 13th accused Rizwin alias Abdul Kareem was sentenced to one year’s rigorous imprisonment and fined one million rupees after he was found guilty of having received Rs.188 million as VAT refunds.  

The 14th accused Shabdeen Abdulla was sentenced to eight months rigorous imprisonment and fined Rs.50,000 after he was found guilty of preparing false documents to facilitate the fraud.  

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