MASERU — A whistleblower who was about to spill the beans on China Garment Manufacturers (CGM)’s alleged fraud and tax evasion was deported under controversial circumstances last Wednesday.
Ranil Yapa, a Sri Lankan financial expert who had a labour dispute with CGM, was kicked out of the country even though he had a High Court order blocking the deportation.
A few days earlier CGM had laid theft charges against him.
When his lawyers intervened Yapa was released but later rearrested on allegations of illegal diamond dealing.
He was never prosecuted for those charges because he was immediately deported to Sri Lanka.
Yapa had already told CGM management that he was going to expose the company’s tax fraud linked to the payment of expatriate employees.
His lawyer believes the charges were “put-up” to keep him in police custody while his deportation order was being prepared.
Yapa was deported together with his father-in-law Solanka Arahchige despite that their residence permits were still valid.
Yapa’s residence permit expires at the end of May while Arahchige’s will expire at the end of February.
Yapa’s lawyer, Letuka Molati, told the Lesotho Times that he was set to file a contempt of court charge against Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister Lesao Lehohla, Director of Immigration Matšeliso Ramathe and Commissioner of Police Kizito Mhlakaza today.
He wants the three charged for ignoring the court order against Yapa’s deportation.
“We are preparing papers now and we are set to file for contempt of court on Thursday (today),” Molati said.
Yapa was working in the financial department when the CGM executive director, Madhav Dalvi, fired him in September last year and allegedly refused to pay him his full package.
Yapa, together with a South African friend named Krish Moodley who is also fighting for his full package after he retired from the company last year, told the management that they were going to tell the Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA) how the company had been evading tax for the past 24 years.
The LRA raided CGM on Monday in search of evidence that it siphoned money out of the country and it could owe hundreds of millions of maloti in tax.
Yapa is expected to be a key crown witness against CGM because he worked in the financial department of the company and was privy to some crucial information.