VAT fraud case: Convict’s property confiscation if fine not paid within one month
Former Deputy Commissioner of Inland Revenue, Gnanasiri de Soyza Jayathilake who was sentenced on Thursday to 102 years in prison (to be served concurrently in three years) after he pleaded guilty in the Rs. 4 billion VAT fraud case had valuable assets in Colombo and the outstations, the Court was told.
He owned properties in Colombo 7, Nawala, Kollupitiya and Kurunegala.
Colombo High Court Judge Kumuduni Wickramasinghe imposed a fine of Rs. 12 billion on the accused. This is considered the biggest fine imposed by a Sri Lankan Court. The judge has ordered if the convict fails to pay the fine within one month all his property will be confiscated in order to recover the Rs. 12 billion fine.
Of the 13 suspects who were prosecuted, eight reportedly fled the country at the beginning of the trial and only five appeared before the courts. Verdict was delivered against four of them in a previous trial after they pleaded guilty. Accordingly Gnanasiri de Soyza; the only suspect remained also pleaded guilty during the trial.
The main charge against the convict includes conspiring to misuse money belongs to the Department of Inland Revenue, misusing the tax income and supporting such a scam together with Dharmadasa Wattalagedara in Colombo between November 15, 2002 and December 15, 2004.The case was heard for nearly six years whilst the suspect was indicted under 34 charges. He was sentenced to three years rigorous imprisonment for each charge.
Having considered the confession of the convict which eased the verdict in a complicated case, the long duration that the suspect spent in remand, his health condition, his contribution to save the time of the court and the arguments provided to lessen the sentence on the defendant, the judge ordered a 102 year jail term to be spent in three years.
Senior State Counsel Shanil Kularatne led the prosecution whilst Counsel Sarath Liyanage, Janaka Marapana, Buddhika Jayasinghe and President’s Counsel Thilak Marapana appeared for the defendant.