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CEA, Customs yet dragging their feet over taking action against toxic garbage importers



By Ifham Nizam

The responsible authorities are now discussing what action to take against the two companies -Ceylon Metal Processing (pvt) Ltd and Hayley’s Hub – which imported toxic garbage from the United Kingdom.

The Sri Lankan Government would demand Rs. 1.6 billion from the United Kingdom for illegal dumping of waste in Colombo in clear violation of the Basel Convention, a senior government official said.

The Central Environmental Authority (CEA) and the Department of the Customs would also file action against those who were behind the import of British garbage. An informed official said that though supposedly only two local companies were behind it, technically four private firms were involved.

Senior officials of both the Department of Customs and CEA yesterday told The Island that they were having discussions on penalties to be imposed. However, due to the second wave of Covid-19, they had to go slow especially due to the shortage of human resources, they claimed.

It is not clear why they took nearly three years to move against the local collaborators of the toxic scam.

The Island reliably learns that though the parties concerned in the United Kingdom have agreed to pay, neither stakeholders of the Environment Ministry and Customs is aware of it.

Environment Ministry officials told The Island Minister Amaraweera had requested them to monitor the development of the waste containers dumped here and act fast.

Ministry officials said Sri Lanka Customs Department and Central Environmental Authority had agreed to prosecute the companies responsible for the illegal importation of post-consumer waste.


Meanwhile, after a yearlong court process, on Wednesday the Court of Appeal ordered repatriation of 243 waste containers imported from the UK.

Court also ordered authorities to take legal action against the companies involved in the illegal importation.

Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ) Executive Director Hemantha Withanage who was the first to take action against, the garbage containers dumped here, told The Island that those waste containers had been imported by Ceylon Metal Processing (pvt) Ltd in 2017 with the support of Hayley’s group and found in Hayley’s Hub operation location in Katunayaka Free Trade Zone (FTZ) and in the China container terminal in Colombo Harbour. The UK exporter Vanguard is owned by the brother of the Sri Lankan importer.

During the legal process the Court requested the Government analyst to produce a report after examining the containers, which was not done due to the lack of capacity. Later the Ministry of Environment and the Central Environmental Authority negotiated with the UK Basel Focal point to take them back.

As a pilot activity two agencies repatriated 21 containers imported by the same companies which are not the subject matter of the case filed by the CEJ. Later the UK Environmental Agency sent an email indicating their interest to take them back.

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SJB, JVP move SC against Finance Secy. for contempt of court



The main Opposition, Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB), and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) yesterday (21) moved Supreme Court against Treasury Secretary Mahinda Siriwardana over his failure to provide funds required by the Election Commission to conduct the Local Government polls, ignoring an interim order issued by the apex court, on 03 March.

Ranjith Madduma Bandara, MP, is the petitioner for the SJB and Vijitha Herath, MP, moved court on behalf of the JVP, the leading party in the Jathika Jana Balawegaya (JJB).

Two Opposition parties declared action against Siriwardana the day after the Freedom People’s Alliance (FPA) issued a seven-day ultimatum to the Finance Secretary to release the funds.

EC Chairman Nimal Punchihewa is on record as having said that in spite of SC directive he didn’t receive fresh funding.

The petitioners sought the issuance of summons on Siriwardana for contempt of court over failure to carry out its interim orders, given on 03 March.

The petitioners want the Finance Secretary punished in terms of Article 105 (3) of the Constitution.

The SJB stated that Siriwardana had refrained from carrying out the March directives, on the basis of a Cabinet decision, taken on 13 Feb., 2023. The SJB also pointed out that the offensive conduct of the Treasury Secretary, inter alia, causes grave prejudice to the esteemed authority of the Supreme Court and in turn disturb the public confidence in the authority of the highest Court in the country. (SF)

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Minister indicates reduction in fuel prices in April



Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekara told Parliament yesterday that fuel prices would be reduced considerably according to the fuel price formula at the next fuel price revision, due in April.

The Minister said that the government would be able to procure fuel shipments, at lower prices, during competitive bidding, with the receipt of the IMF bailout.

There had been practical issues, and problems, in opening Letters of Credit, and obtaining credit facilities, in the recent past, as Sri Lanka could not give a guarantee to fuel suppliers, Minister Wijesekara said.

“We could not open LCs and obtain credit facilities when procuring fuel. After the IMF bailout, we will be able to procure fuel at lower prices during competitive biddings. We will be able to obtain a long-term credit facility as well. Fuel prices in the global market seem to have declined and the rupee has also gained strength against the US Dollar. Having considered all these factors, fuel prices will be reduced by a considerable margin which could be felt by the people,” he said.

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IGP tells CID not to brook any interference from any quarter while they probe ’Harak Kata’ and ‘Kudu Salindu’



By Norman Palihawadane

IGP CD Wickramaratne has directed the CID to maintain a special log of names and details of any attempts by external parties to influene the ongoing investigations on notorious drug traffickers Nandun Chinthaka Wickramaratne aka Harak Kata and Salindu Malshika aka Kudu Salindu.

The suspects are currently under the custody of the CID.

The IGP issued the orders to the DIG CID and its director during a meeting of senior police officers on Monday, police headquarters said.

Sources said that the IGP has further instructed not to allow statements from the detainees to be taken by any police team other than the team currently investigating the suspects.

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