With the country currently being hit by a severe foreign currency crunch, it appears that even companies registered with the Board of Investments of Sri Lanka are exploring every possible loophole in its system to stay afloat during this foreign crisis.
The LNW’s team of investigative journalists have uncovered as to how a particular company registered under the BOI and owned by an Australian father and son duo named Peter Norman Hill (father) and Robert Andrew Hill (son) are currently in blatant violation, firstly of the country’s immigration laws and from a business operational perspective have been noted for even violating Central Bank issued guidelines and even flouting the proper payments of income tax in conducting their existing businesses.
For starters the son Robert Andrew Hill despite being on a BOI issued visa for the purpose of running the registered BOI business named Auto Group International Pvt Ltd (formerly known as Overseas Vehicle Sales Pvt Ltd), is also running a private business as well named South Pacific Agencies Pvt Ltd (formerly known as Auto Group Pvt Ltd) and self claims to be the Chairman of this business.
The swapping of the names of their BOI registered company to a locally registered business and vice versa could also create some sort of confusion even though the swapping of names or re-registering the existing business with a newer name is permissible.
The Chairman Robert Andrew Hill (son) who runs the local arm of the business, strangely doing so whilst being under a BOI issued visa, in his boldness even states so on his LinkedIn profile where he claims to be the importer of products under the brand name Tovi Foods and also runs a restaurant and reception hall in Kaduwela.
It has further been uncovered that even certain incoming receivables for invoices raised by AutoGroup International Pvt Ltd which should be received in US Dollars is being paid in Sri Lankan Rupees by their local business operation.
In the past gaping loopholes being existent in the BOI system then, led many companies to take advantage of the six month period to show foreign revenue recognition on invoices raised.
However this same practice continues to be flouted even today, providing certain BOI registered companies to continue exploiting this loophole.
Industry professionals say that this six month period must be reduced immediately to prevent such irregularities being practiced by these certain companies.
A BOI official, when questioned regarding these issues pertaining as to how the Hill duo of father and son are running their businesses in this manner, chose to remain tight lipped.