State Minister of Co-operative Services, Marketing Development and Consumer Protection Lasantha Alagiyawanna, yesterday (31) said that a large stock of hoarded sugar, detected with the information provided by Derana journalists, belonged to three importers.
Asked whether he could name the culprits and explain the status of the investigation, SLFPer Alagiyawanna said that the importers would be named at a media briefing on Wednesday (1).
During raids carried out since last Saturday (28), authorities detected approximately 10,255 metric tonnes of sugar, sources said.
Of that amount the biggest culprit Global Trading Company had 4,800 metric tonnes each found at two warehouses at Wattala Mabole and Handela Kerawalapitiya. The same company is under investigation over the import of contaminated coconut oil.
State Minister Alagiyawanne, who assured a no holds barred investigation into the alleged sugar scam said that detected sugar stocks had been imported after the government reduced duty on imported sugar from Rs 50 a kilo to 25 cents late last year.
Chairman of the Committee on Public Finance (COPF) Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, MP, told The Island that his committee inquired into the issuance of the relevant gazette 2197/12 on Oct 13, 2020. Lawmaker Yapa said that COPF member Susil Premjayanth recently called for a second report from the Finance Ministry in that regard. Responding to another query, MP Yapa explained how the whole process had been manipulated to the advantage of a few at the expense of those struggling to make ends meet.
In addition to MP Yapa, two other SLPP lawmakers, Vidura Wickramanayake and Nalin Fernnado have expressed serious concern over the sugar scam during COPF proceedings, according to statements issued by the Parliament Communications Department.