Former Trade Minister Johnston Fernando has become the first big shark to come under scrutiny over the notorious Ethanol charge that became a syndrome in the run up to this month's Presidential election, an investigation revealed.
Ethanol is used in the production of alcoholic drinks and is said to have been imported in large quantities under the auspices of Johnston Fernando by a company known as Asterdic under cover of producing deodorant perfumes. The Asterdic company is situated in Wattala and there are no records to show that it produced body perfumes. The Permit held by this company authorized it to import 20,000 litres or 100 barrels of Ethanol a month. The importer was also immune from tax. Officers from the Excise Department told that 50,000 bottles of arrack can be produced from 100 barrels of Ethanol.
Documents of two more persons involved in the Ethanol business are in possession of SLM and will be made public after further investigations. Meantime An alcohol brewery and warehouse of the Wayamba Distilleries has been sealed 19th.
It is said that former minister Johnston Fernando was also a part of the activities of this brewery.