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Easter Sunday probe in tatters: Director CID transferred following internal inquiry into Riyaj release



AG wants report within one month

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Close on the heels of Attorney General Dappula de Livera, PC, alleging serious lapses on the part of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), in respect of the probe on Riyaj Bathiudeen’s alleged involvement with those responsible for the Easter Sunday attacks, the premier investigating agency’s Director SSP Prasanna de Alwis has been moved out.

The transfer took place consequent to an unprecedented meeting the AG had with the new Director CID Prasad Ranasinghe and three other officers, including SSP Alwis. The AG found fault with the CID over the way the police had released Riyaj arrested last April on the basis of irrefutable evidence of direct links with at least one Easter Sunday suicide bomber.

The National Police Commission (NPC) has cleared the CID Director’s transfer as Director, Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) whereas SSP G.N. de Zoysa received the CID Director’s post. Zoysa had been the Director of the recently formed unit responsible for inquiring into ill-gotten wealth. At the time, SSP de Alwis received appointment as Director, CID a couple of months ago, he was Director CID.

Within days after the media reported Riyaj Bathiudeen’s release, Police headquarters moved the then DIG CID Nuwan Wedasinghe out of the unit. He received an appointment as Acting DIG Western Province (North). Wedasinghe received posting as DIG, CID in late Dec last year following the change of government.

Following instructions received from the AG, who asked for a comprehensive report within a month, the police were now in the process of inquiring into the conduct of the CID.

Acting IGP C.D. Wickremaratne last week set up two special teams to probe the circumstances leading to Riyaj Bathiudeen’s release and serious lapses on the part of the CID.

Since the change of government in Nov 2019, the SSPs had held the post of Director CID. Of them, the first to hold the post was SSP W. Tilakaratne followed by de Alwis and now de Zoysa.

SSP Shani Abeysekera, who had been the director CID at the time of the change of government, is in remand custody. The police arrested him in July this year over charges of framing DIG Vass Gunawardena now on death row.

The CID is the second special unit to come under investigation this year. Earlier, the DIG, Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) Sajeewa Medawatta and its Director SSP Manjula Senarath were transferred out after investigations launched at the behest of the AG exposed a section of the PNB dealing in heroin.

Well informed sources said that proper inquiry was needed to clean up the department. Sources explained that law enforcement apparatus was under scrutiny both by the AG and the Defence Secretary in the wake continuing accusations regarding impropriety. Sources also alleged that shortly before Riyaj’s release, his brother Samagi Jana Balavegaya lawmaker Rishad Bathiudeen met some senior CID officers.



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Heat Index at Caution level in Northern, North-Central, North-western and Eastern provinces and Monaragala and Hambanthota districts




Heat index Advisory Issued by the Natural Hazards Early Warning Centre At 07.30 a.m. 28 May 2023, valid for 28 May 2023

Heat index, the temperature felt on the human body is expected to increase up to ‘Caution’ level at some places in Northern, North-Central, North-western and Eastern provinces and Monaragala and Hambanthota districts.

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GCE Ordinary Level examination commences on Monday (29)




The General Certificate of Education (Ordinary Level) examination 2022 (2023) will commence on Monday (29).

472,553 candidates have applied to to sit this years examination which will be held at 3568 examination centers

The examination will conclude on 8th June 2023

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Personal income tax shock dims economic activities



ECONOMYNEXTSri Lanka’s personal income tax hikes have hit economic activity in the first quarter though despite currency stability helped businesses cut prices, Hemas Holdings, a top consumer goods group has said.As the currency stabilized, as central bank ended contradictory money and exchange policy conflicts, businesses had cut prices. Mainstream economists generally claim that price falls lead to delayed transactions and try to generate positive inflation through money printing, though businesses believe otherwise.

“The market witnessed price reductions and promotional trade schemes to stimulate consumption,” Hemas Holding told shareholders in the March quarterly statement.

“However, changes made to the personal income tax structure severely impacted modern trade sales volumes as consumers rationalised their purchases under reduced disposable income levels.”

Sri Lanka hiked personal income tax rates in 2023. Value added taxes were raised to 15 percent from 8 percent last year. Another 2.5 percent cascading tax was imposed on top of VAT, the effect of which was estimated to be around 4.5 or more through the cascading effect.

While value added tax allows the government to get tax revenues after citizens make transactions and getting the economy to work, based on best decisions needed to drive the economy to satisfy real needs, income tax kills economic decisions and transfers money to state actors, analysts say.

Net gains on income tax therefore comes at a cost of lost value added tax as well as killed real economic activities which would otherwise have been based on decisions of those who earned the money.

UK also almost doubled VAT in 1979, also to 15 percent, cut the base income tax rate and widened thresholds above inflation to give choice to individuals, amid criticism from Keynesian style or mainstream economists to recover the economy, after two back-to-back IMF programs failed to deliver concrete results, analysts point out.At Hemas Holdings, group revenues went up 52.6 percent to 32 billion rupees in the March 2023 quarter from year earlier amid price inflation as the rupee fell, and cost of sales went up 45.1 percent to 22.2 billion rupees, allowing the group to boost gross profits 72 percent to 9.8 billion rupees, interim accounts showed.

However, administration costs went up 54 percent, selling and distribution costs went up 36 percent, and finance costs went up to 1.3 billion rupees. Profit after tax was flat at 1.06 billion rupees.Sri Lanka’s central bank stabilized the rupee in the second half of 2022 after the rupee collapsed from 200 to 360 to from two years of money printing and also removed a surrender rule in March allowing the exchange rate appreciate.

The US Fed also tightened policy from March 2022 helping bring down global commodity prices after triggering inflation not seen for 40 years through Coronavirus linked money printing or accommodating a real shock through monetary expansion.

“While the modern trade channels witnessed a slow down due to the adverse impact of the tax reforms and high cost of credit on the middle-class urban population, the general trade channels experienced significant growth and increased foot fall,” Hemas told shareholders.

“The decline in global commodity prices in the second half of the year, enabled the business to make price reductions across the portfolio.

“However, the benefit of appreciation of the Sri Lankan Rupee in March 2023 was not seen during the quarter due to the lag effect but is expected to realise in the quarters to come, provided the current economic conditions prevail.”

Hemas is also has operations in Bangladesh where the central bank is also buying up government securities with tenors as long at 20 years to mis-target the interest rate, triggering forex shortages and depreciating the Taka, according to analysts who study the country.

Inflation had hit 9.3 percent in Bangladesh by March.

“In the face of numerous challenges including slowdown in the global economy, depreciation in Taka, heightened inflation and depleting foreign currency reserves, the country entered an IMF programme in January 2023,” the firm said.

“The value-added hair oil market witnessed a degrowth, as consumers curbed consumption in many non-essential items and switched to value-for-money alternatives.”

Mainstream economists mis-target rates to boost growth known as either monetary stimulus or bridging an output gap, though the effort result in instability and economic contractions.

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