Following a vehement protest by six Ministers at yesterday’s (5) Cabinet meeting, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa ordered the immediate revocation of the licence issued to restart production of W. M. Mendis Old Arrack, owned by Arjun Aloysius. Aloysius is one of the main suspects in the Central Bank Treasury Bonds scam that took place during Yahapalana regime.
W.M. Mendis & Co. Ltd’s licence had been cancelled by the Excise Department in 2018 for evading tax payments exceeding Rs 1.5 billion but it was granted permission last week to resume production of Old Arrack .
Ministers Dr. Ramesh Pathirana, Bandula Gunawardena, Mahindananda Aluthgamage, S.M. Chandrasena, Wimal Weerawansa and Udaya Gammanpila criticised the move to let the company resume production despite there being arrears running into billions of rupees.
Meanwhile, reconsideration of allowing a banned vehicle assembly plant in Miniwangoda resume operations, despite having a Bribery and Corruption Commission case pending, also came under criticism. However, President Rajapaksa said he has already issued directives not to let the company start operations.