Financial Times

LMS – BOI case now before Supreme Court


A fundamental rights petition filed by public interest activist Vasudeva Nanayakkara against John Keells Holdings (JKH) and Lanka Marine Services (LMS) on the 'illegal' tax concessions the company received from the Board of Investment (BOI) during privatization is due to come up before the Supreme Court on Thursday.

Not only does the petition state that LMS did not qualify for the tax concessions but that BOI regulations had been altered to suit JKH with the concurrence of the then BOI Chairman and the Minister of Enterprise Development at that time. The other respondents include the current BOI Chairman Dhammika Perera, then BOI Chairman Arjuna Mahendran, former Commission General of Inland Revenue A.A. Wijepala, JKH Chairman Susantha Ratnayake, the former Minister of Enterprise Development G.L. Peiris and the Attorney General.

The recent LMS Supreme Court judgment – in which the privatisation was overturned -- dealt with the BOI concessions where they were revoked and LMS was ordered to pay taxes in the amount of Rs.375 million based on formal assessments by the Inland Revenue Department.

The petitioner is asking that an order be made declaring that the fundamental rights, guaranteed under Articles 12(1) and 12(2) of the Constitution, of the petitioner and the citizens of Sri Lanka have been infringed. He is also asking that the order declaring that the grant of BOI approval is wrongful and unlawful.

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