It was disclosed during the parliamentary session that Sri Lankan Customs is actively investigating a multi-crore tax fraud allegedly committed by Sri Lankan Cricket through the underestimation of fixed prices. This revelation coincides with a parliamentary resolution uniting members from both ruling and opposition parties to take legal action against corrupt officials of Sri Lanka Cricket.
Opposition leader Sajith Premadasa outlined the alleged malpractices, stating that Sri Lanka Cricket engaged in three fraudulent acts during the purchase process of 360 and 30 LED screens for stadiums in Dambulla, Pallekele, and Kettarama. The three issues highlighted are:
1. Pre-Tender Money Transfer:An amount of $29,000 was sent to a certain organization a day before the tender opening on July 14, 2023.
2. Bid Irregularities: Million Laugh Entertainment and Imagine Laugh Entertainment submitted bids for the tender, with Million Laugh Entertainment offering $360 million and Imagine Entertainment bidding $335 million. The tender was awarded to Million Laugh Entertainment, even though they offered a higher price, and a pre-tender amount was credited to their account.
3. Tax Fraud: Customs officers are investigating the LED screens installed in the stadiums, with a serious allegation of tax fraud. The fraud involves undervaluing the screens to pay less tax. The estimated loss in state revenue is approximately Rs. 29.7 million.
Opposition leader Premadasa shared photographs indicating that arrangements have been made to remove the digital screens from the stadiums amidst the ongoing customs investigation. State Finance Minister Shehan Semasinghe confirmed that Customs is actively conducting investigations related to the alleged fraud.