Govt’s revenue collecting body has no head
The controversial Inland Revenue Commissoner A.A. Wijepala retired on Thursday, leaving the Inland Revenue Department headless and bringing work to a standstill.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Non-Cabinet Finance Minister Ranjit Siyambalapitiya, at a meeting with IRD unions, assured that Mr. Wijepala would not be given an extension and the next most senior officer would be considered for the post.
The Sunday Times, however, learns that no cabinet paper was presented for the appointment of a new tax chief and thus the vital department is headless.
Mr. Wijepala has been accused of complicity in the multi-billion rupee VAT fraud and IRD unions have vehemently opposed any extension of his service.
The Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee which probed the VAT fraud had also recommended that Mr. Wijepala be sent on compulsory leave, but no such action was taken.
Some selected staff gave Mr. Wijepala a farewell on Friday but he was not available for comment yesterday on the crisis in the department.
A Finance Ministry official said the signature of Commissioner General of Inland Revenue was essential for tax collection and other administrative work of the department in accordance with the Inland Revenue Statute and the Establishments Code.
A union official said they feared the government was planning to appoint an outsider to this top post and they would strongly oppose any such move.