The Sri Lanka Customs has issued a clarification regarding the statement made by Mr. Lakshman Weerasuriya, Chairman of Anods Cocoa Pvt. Company, that there was a delay in releasing a stock of imported milk powder from Customs.

The Customs says that Mr. Weerasuriya has made these statements with the aim of influencing the investigations initiated by the Customs regarding Anods Cocoa (Pvt.) company.

Chairman of Anods Cocoa (Pvt) Ltd, Lakshman Weerasuriya has said that the clearance of 17 containers containing 400,000 kg of milk powder stocks has been delayed and his company has to pay demurrage of over Rs. 4 million for the stocks of milk powder imported.

Clarifying the procedure for importation, the Customs said a special gazette published by the Minister of Finance on 05/06/2022 had banned imports on the basis of foreign exchange payment. Later, through a gazette notice published on the 24th of the same month, 30% of raw materials not available in the local market were allowed to be imported on the basis of foreign exchange payment.

The notification issued by the Customs states that this approval must be obtained before importing the goods.

Also, the Customs had started a post-clearance audit investigation to find out the legality of the imports made by Anods Cocoa (Pvt.) Company. As part of that investigation, foreign exchange payments for their imports are to be investigated.

It is also stated in the statement that 6 containers declared to the Customs as milk powder imported by the company were detained for further investigations on November 14th.

The company had declared to the Customs that the import was provided by the foreign supplier on the basis of foreign exchange payment through open accounts. During the investigation, the Controller General of Imports and Exports has confirmed that this was against the regulations related to imports.

Accordingly, Customs investigations have been started regarding this importation and all the information about it will be released to the media, Sri Lanka Customs has further stated in the statement.

Source – Colombo Page