The Ceylon Motor Traders Association (CMTA) in a statement said that it was recently informed that 13 Audi A5 motor vehicle units had been imported under Customs Declaration number CBMV1 2019 I 4730, which wrongfully declares 2,000 CC petrol engine cars as 1,400 CC.
This false declaration resulted in an approximate duty loss of Rs. 160,000,000 for the Sri Lankan Government and a loss of revenue per vehicle of approximately Rs. 12,300,000.
The association, along with the Vehicle Importers Association of Sri Lanka (VIASL), brought this anomaly to the notice of the Director General of Sri Lanka Customs on 30 September 2019, where the issue and anomaly were clearly articulated to all present. The meeting was followed up by a letter dated 7 October 2019.
On 22 October 2019, the association wrote to the Minister of Finance regarding the issue, with a copy of the missive sent to the Treasury Secretary and Customs Director General.
While CMTA said that it did not receive a response to its letter, it revealed that Sri Lanka Customs had visited the local agent for Audi, which had showed them proof on an Audi computer database confirming that the specification of vehicles imported were not as declared.
Sri Lanka Customs is questioning the authority of the local agent for Audi motor vehicles to provide this information. The local agent has subsequently reconfirmed the information of 13 such units to Sri Lanka Customs in writing.
The CMTA said that it wishes to inform the public to be wary of purchasing vehicles that are under investigation because they could be seized by Customs at any time. The association also appealed to Sri Lanka Customs and the Ministry of Finance to take the strongest action possible against the importer of these vehicles, and also against the Customs officers who fraudulently or carelessly released these vehicles.
CMTA was established in 1920 and represents all international automotive manufacturers through their local agents in Sri Lanka.