Gold smuggling govt. MP walks free after paying Rs 7.4 mn fine

Jewellery, gold biscuits and smartphones worth Rs 78 mn confiscated

By Shamindra Ferdinando

United National Alliance (UNA) General Secretary, M. M. Naimullah, yesterday (24) said that the All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) should take disciplinary action against Puttalam District MP Ali Sabri Raheem who was nabbed by the Customs for smuggling in 3 kg and 397 grammes of gold and 91 smartphones in the early hours of Tuesday (23) via the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA).

Naimullah said so when The Island asked him how his party intended to deal with MP Raheem as his party fielded the businessman at the last general election, conducted in August 2020. The Island raised the issue with the party that he represented in Parliament as the Customs released the lawmaker, after he paid a fine of Rs 7.4 mn, consequent to a brief inquiry. Customs confiscated the undisclosed gold and smartphones estimated at Rs 74 mn and Rs 4.2 mn, respectively.

Naimullah, who had served the Central Provincial Council during 2004-2009 period, as an SLMC (Sri Lanka Muslim Congress) member, elected on the UNP ticket, emphasised that Rishad Bathiudeen’s All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) fielded Raheem from the Puttalam District.

Asked to explain the arrangement between the UNA and the ACMC, Naimullah said that the SLMC and ACMC fielded four candidates each, on the Muslim National Alliance (MNA) ticket. They were joined by former SLFP/UPFA Provincial Council member and ex-UNP Urban Council member, Naimullah said, adding that Raheem got through.

Subsequently, Naimullah has re-registered MNA as UNA with the Election Commission.

According to Naimullah, in terms of a MoU, signed between the then MNA and ACMC, disciplinary matters, in respect of elected members, would be handled by the latter. Pressed to explain the status of internal inquiry, if any, …read more

Source:: The Island