Ministry gags Customs
By Lenin Amarawickrema
The Ministry of Finance has barred Customs officers from providing
information to the media -- days after a senior officer investigating
a controversial gold coin import business fled the country upon
receiving death threats.
Customs officers told the Finance Ministry in a circular had said
it was aware that at least five officers had left the country owing
to fears about their safety after they received threats in connection
with investigations they were doing.
Finance Ministry was thus barring officers from speaking to the
media. The latest officer to flee was Superintendent Athula Lankadeva,
who was probing a case of alleged under-invoicing in the import
of gold coins for the GoldQuest referral marketing scheme. (See
story in The Sunday Times FT).
is believed to have gone abroad with his wife and two children.
This is the second time Mr. Lankadeva has left the country after
receiving death threats. Earlier this month, Mr. Lankadeva was attacked
by three men, one of whom was armed, but he managed to escape without
serious injury. He said he had received death threats and alleged
the attack was connected to his gold coin investigation.