ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, September 24, 2006
Vol. 41 - No 17
Financial Times

Jeyaraj, officials asked to explain in Jacobi case

The Supreme Court last week ordered Trade and Commerce Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle and two officials to appear in court and explain why they ignored a court order in a case where a foreign activated carbon manufacturer is being restrained from using local raw material.

They have been asked to appear in court on October 12 with the court also extending the stay order barring Jacobi Carbons Lanka (Pvt) Ltd from purchasing raw material during the same period.

This ruling was in response to the fundamental rights case filed by Prime Carbons Lanka (Pvt) Ltd, one of several local activated carbon manufacturers, to express concern about the scarcity of raw materials in Sri Lanka and its use by foreign firms.

Jacobi Carbons, a fully owned foreign company, had secured BOI status to operate in the activated carbon industry despite warnings and complaints from local manufacturers on shortages of local raw material supplies. The Coconut Development Authority (CDA) had issued a letter of no objection to Jacobi setting up production here but said the company must heed their rules and regulations. The Supreme Court then ordered the Coconut Development Authority (CDA) to gazette those rules and regulations, one of which stated Jacobi Carbons would not be allowed to purchase raw material locally. The gazetting was never complete because the CDA did not get the concurrence of the Minister of Trade, a requirement as per the CDA Act. The court ordered that the minister, CDA Chairman D.J.U. Purasinghe and Coconut Development Ministry Secretary K.W. E. Karalliyadde to be present on October 12 to explain why they didn’t comply with the court order. Previously, Jacobi Carbons had sought an injunction in the Appeal Court to stop the gazetting of the regulations. On Friday, Chief Justice Sarath Silva ordered that, that case be repealed and all documents be placed under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. (NG)

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