Liquor licences without Minister approval in 2017/18 to be cancelled

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) – Liquor licences obtained without the required Ministerial approval during the years 2017 and 2018 face cancellation if procedural requirements under the Excise Ordinance have not been met, the Excise Department announced.

This follows action by Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera who has given Excise Commissioner-General H. G. Sumanasinghe 2-weeks to investigate and report back to him as to how liquor licenses have been issued by the Excise Department without his approval during 2017 and 2018, a Finance Ministry communiqué stated. The protocol followed so far by the Excise Department, when issuing liquor licenses, has been to obtain the approval of the subject Minister or to inform the subject Minister in this regard.

The Ministry communiqué disclosed that the Excise Department had issued 10 new liquor licenses in 2017 and 74 new liquor licenses in 2018. However, the approval of the subject Minister was not obtained nor was he informed of these new licence issuances, as is required under the provisions of the Excise Ordinance, the Ministry stressed. Under the Excise Ordinance, the subject Minister has the discretion to decide whether to issue, renew or cancel any liquor license or licenses at any time the Minister decides to do so.

The Ministry communiqué also adds that news reports published by certain electronic and print media that the Excise Department had issued four new licenses to set up distillery factories are completely false. The Commissioner-General reiterates that no such new licenses have been issued for distillery factories during this year.

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