Foreign Employment Bureau official nabbed for human smuggling: Dilan Perera denies links | Sunday Observer

Foreign Employment Bureau official nabbed for human smuggling: Dilan Perera denies links

Former Foreign Employment Minister Dilan Perera rejected claims that the ex-Foreign employment official arrested in Milan for human smuggling was one of his aides.

Reports from Italian media stated a Sri Lankan diplomatic passport holder was arrested at the Malpensa Airport, Milan while attempting to smuggle four Sinhala youth, two girls and two boys, into Italy under the pretext that two of them were his children and the others were his relatives. He was accompanied by his wife at the time.

“There were about 4000 employees at the Foreign Employment Bureau and you don’t expect me to remember each and everyone of them, “ the ex- Minister snapped adding that he used to write a personal letter to each one of the employees once a year, inquiring if they had any grievances. He, however, vouched that he had no recollection of the suspect. The Officials of the Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Milan have met the person arrested and have established his identity, and confirmed that he was not currently employed in any Lankan missions abroad, the Foreign Affairs Ministry stated.

The man, a Muslim national in his sixties was legally married with two wives. Originally from Kalmunai, he currently lives in Maligawatte.

Authoritative sources said the suspect had been a counselor working on contract, at the Sri Lankan Embassy in Jordan from 2012 - 2015. He had been a manager at the Foreign Employment Bureau at the time of his arrest.

The suspect had been recalled from the Jordan mission in 2015 after the change of government. Upon his return he is compelled to return the diplomatic passport. But at the time of his arrest he had been using an invalid diplomatic passport, a release from the Foreign Affairs Ministry said.

The Airport Border police apprehended the suspect when he presented four fake passports with Shengan visa stamps. He and the wife’s passports too had Shengan visas but the immigration officials had been particularly suspicious of the passports of the four youth. According to media reports he had forged his own children’s passports, reconstructing the biographic page to smuggle the four youth into Italy.

The four youth had admitted upon questioning that they were not the children of the suspect.

After verifying that he holds no diplomatic immunity in Italy, the man was arrested by the border police. His wife and the four others were returned to Sri Lanka on a direct flight.