Opp. wants committee to look into unauthorized liquor permit issue

Wednesday, 18 September 2019 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


  • Chief Opp. Whip Amaraweera proposes committee
  • Alleges permits issued at cost to raise money for UNP Fund
  • Leader of House Kiriella says allegations baseless
  • Finance Minister last week asked Excise Chief to investigate allegation, report back within two weeks

Chief Opposition Mahinda Amaraweera yesterday proposed that the Government appoint a committee to investigate how 84 liquor permits were issued without the knowledge of the Finance Minister.

“Liquor permits were issued at a fee without the knowledge of the Finance Minister. I can provide the telephone numbers of people who are asking for money. They want Rs. 10 million to strengthen the United National Party (UNP) Sirikotha Fund. It is important to investigate this matter,” he said.

However, Amaraweera’s allegations were denied by Minister of Public Enterprise, Kandyan Heritage and Kandy Development and Leader of the House of Parliament Lakshman Kiriella.

“Last week, I revealed in this House with responsibility that no lawmaker took liquor permits since the day the Unity Government came into power. Not even a discussion was held on this topic. This is the election period, and by using newspaper reports, some have started to sling mud,” he said.

Kiriella said this issue was taken up at the Cabinet meeting, where Minister Mangala Samaraweera rejected such issuing of liquor permits. “This is nothing more than false news reports,” he added.

UPFA lawmaker Bandula Gunawardene proposed Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera should make a statement to Parliament with regard to the matter. Opposition lawmaker Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena demanded the list of those who obtained the licenses be revealed to the Parliament.

Last week, Finance Minister Samaraweera ordered Excise Commissioner General H.G. Sumanasinghe to conduct an immediate investigation on how liquor licenses have been issued by the Excise Department without getting his approval in 2017 and 2018, and report him within two weeks. (AH)