Tax sleuths go after opposition candidates

By Bandula Sirimanna

The Inland Revenue Department (IRD) is to crack down on 40 politicians, almost all Opposition candidates who are engaged in the current parliamentary elections campaign, an official said yesterday
though most of the high-spenders with huge cutouts and posters are ruling party candidates.

He said the investigation division of the department had been directed to probe financial dealings and files of tax returns of these opposition candidates while one or two government politicians and businessmen, funding their campaigns, were also being probed on the spending spree.

An official said they had received information on several businessmen who were making massive donations to candidates and political parties during the past few weeks. The tax investigators had been empowered to conduct raids on any business place or residence of these suspected tax defaulters and to take action, he said.

Some of the politicians who were taxpayers would be asked to furnish information in relation to their recent financial transactions, he said.

The official said the information received would be sent to with other revenue agencies, banks and the Criminal investigation Department to verify the details provided by these politicians.

However, when asked about this probe, Inland Revenue Commissioner General Mahinda Medagoda said he was not aware of any such investigations against high spending politicians.

He said if there were complaints, the department would follow the normal procedure but so far he had not received any such files.

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