Customs seeks Attorney General’s advice to release containers stuck at port
Mon, Sep 27, 2021, 10:57 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.
Sept 27, Colombo: Regarding the release of uncleared containers with essential food items, the Customs Department, has decided to seek the advice of the Attorney General only for the containers that have pending legal cases filed by the importers.
Customs Media Spokesman, Deputy Director of Customs (Legal Affairs) Sudaththa Silva told ‘Lankadeepa’ that a number of containers containing goods banned by the Controller of Imports and Exports are in the custody of the Customs.
He said there was a legal impediment to the release of the containers as the importers of some of the containers had filed lawsuits.
The importers of these containers have filed cases against several parties including the Government, the Controller of Imports and Exports and the Customs Department. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the Customs Department as a state institution to seek the advice of the Attorney General to release those disputed containers, said Customs Spokesman Sudaththa Silva.
Another senior official of the Customs Department said that nearly 90 percent of the containers in the custody of the Customs were containers of sugar that arrived at the port after the import ban. He said five or six of the companies that imported them had sued the state institutions for not releasing them.
The official said the Ports Authority and two other private terminals had about 800 containers of essential goods and most of the containers were stuck due to a shortage of dollars.
A senior official of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) said that more than 500 containers of sugar in the possession of the Ports Authority and two private terminal companies were not released due to the ban on sugar imports and the current shortage of dollars in the country had prevented the release of the remaining containers.