Business Times

Forged passports: Public deserves a response

With reference to the Business Times article on February 6 on forged passports, all passports now issued are genuine, but the information printed- photograph, date of birth, name, profession, identity card number may be changed before printing the passport, with the connivance of a few unscrupulous officials of the Department of Immigration (DIE).

If an applicant tenders documents with wrong information or forged documents and the officer who accepts same sometimes may not be an expert in identifying forged documents, which leads to the issue of a genuine passport but with false information. The travel/job agent who suspects a travel document can always check with the issuer, the DIE. No agent can be fined by the courts if they are not involved. However some job agents request those who apply for jobs in West Asia to increase or reduce the age. A case in point is Ms. Rizana Nazeek, the maid who still suffers in Saudi Arabia.

Some travel bureaus also ask visa-refused applicants to get a new travel document to apply afresh. If anyone suspects a client about the age etc he can refer the suspect to the police or refer the passport to the issuing authority for verification. No data or photos can be tampered with, and the database of the DIE has stored all details of passport applicants since 1997 with the issuance of M and N series of passports. The public pay salaries for the officials and they deserve a clarification by the authorities on this issue. Officials hardly reply such queries but the public has a right to this information. That is the way we can march forward for good governance.

Recently the DIE stopped acceptance of applications for Dual Citizenship without giving a valid reason for this and keeps the public in the dark. President Mahinda Rajapaksa who is the Defence Minister and Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, Secretary must set an example by replying the public when an issue is like this crops up.

Kanchana Perera

TFC – Please walk the talk instead of not paying dues of investors
Recently an article in the advertorial section of the Sunday Times discussed the future plans of The Finance Company (TFC) with the public share issue, as outlined by its CEO. This is all nice for existing and future investors since many existing FD holders have had to undergo untold difficulties in getting their monthly interests during the crisis period and thereafter. Most of the retirees depended on this to keep the home fires burning. As a result of their not getting the monthly dues on due dates they lost all the faith they had on TFC .

The payment was so erratic, all retirees some disabled and who are also unsteady on their feet had to make many visits to the TFC during the month to get their money which was also paid in installments. This treatment was meted out to everyone who had his/her FD on monthly interest, received at the TFC. It is another story with regard to withdrawals. Withdrawal was not permitted even at maturity of the FD at onetime. Withdrawals are approved on specific circumstances and that too those in different stages. First it is a condition that you apply for a loan of 50% of the capital which is also not paid immediately, and the balance is paid in installments on a subsequent month or thereafter.

I maintained a FD at TFC’s Nugegoda branch which was to mature in November 2010. A request by letter was made in October 2010 for its withdrawal as I needed this money for a cataract operation, periodic consultation of cardiologists and the various medical tests and purchase of drugs, as my wife and I are heart patients. Repeated reminders were made to this branch and having made many visits, I was unable to get this money as I requested. Instead I was informed to apply for a loan of 50% maximum of the capital. The balance 50% to be paid subsequently in two installments, stretching upto February 2011. My loan was received after two weeks of the date of my application.

A disappointing stage has again cropped up in this branch now. It is understood that the payment of monthly interests are withheld until the collation and compilation of the issue of public shares are straightened out, according to officials of this division.

As a result of the non payment of the full capital at the time it is required, FD holders have no option but to consent to renew the existing deposit for a further period which I believe has shown an 85% growth.
I trust some meaningful steps would be taken by the CEO to ensure that monthly interests are effected on due dates and withdrawals are approved as required by the FD holders.


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