Gamini Warshapperuma Deputy Director General of Customs Department said Integrity Award winner Sujith Perera was probably the best investigating officer that the Customs department has ever produced.
He was speaking after Angela Perera, wife of slain Sujith Perera collected the National Integrity Award from chief guest Kanak Mani Dixit at the NIA presentation ceremony held at BMICH.
“Sujith became an intelligent and an experienced investigating officer by handling many large fraudulent cases. His unimaginable understanding of how to handle cases, untiring hard work, made him an outstanding and memorable investigating officer of Sri Lanka Customs” Warshapperuma said.
He added that irrespective of the parties involved, whether it is a politician, a top businessman or a senior customs officer, he carried out his investigations and never reserved himself, from enforcing the law against the persons concerned.
Following is the full text of his speech
I am delighted, humble and honoured to speak on behalf of Sri Lanka Customs and the family of Late Sujith Prasanna Perera, at this evening. I am also privileged to speak about my sincere colleague Sujith, who served as an Assistant Superintendent of Customs at the time of his demise, to this distinguished gathering.
At the outset I wish to thank the Transparency International Sri Lanka for their magnanimous gesture, for appreciating and recognising an individual, who has maintained the highest level of integrity in the govt service, with a prestigious award titled National Integrity Award 2010. This would not only be a consolation to the bereaved members of the family, but also an encouragement to the future generation to work hard to uphold the principles of integrity. In addition, I wish to thank you for organising, a function of this magnitude, to let the world know about the winner, Late Sujith Prasanna Perera.
I would like to recognise, the presence of the Director General of Customs Mrs Sudharma Karunaratne in this audience. I thank her for nominating late Sujith Prasanna Perera for this prestigious award. I would like to make a special mention here that our DG does not know Mr. Sujith Perera while in service. Yet she nominated him for this prestigious award, based on his excellent and unique performance.
I would like to place on record Mr. Duminda Jayaratne, Addl. DGC (Human Resources) and Sujith’s close Customs colleague Mr. Seevali Arukgoda for initiating the process of this application, on behalf of late Sujith Prasanna Perera. Mr. Jayaratne too does not know Mr.Sujith Perera. but yet again recognised the outstanding work of Sujith and recommended the application for this prestigious award.
Although ten years has passed by of Sujith’s demise, I am sure it looks like 10 days to his dear ones. Sujith left his wife Anjela, his only daughter Ayesha who are here to receive this prestigious award on behalf of their husband and father respectively. I feel that, this award at this moment of time, appears to be a silver lining in the dark clouds of Sujith’s life. It is saddening to note, that Sujith is not here to receive this award, yet it is heartening to note organisations such as Transparency International and Sri Lanka Customs remember him as a great hero of this land. As we share the sorrows of his demise with you Angela and Ayesha, we feel proud of Sujith, who had the courage to deliver his duties with the highest level of integrity, one could maintain in the govt service.
Sujith, having joined the Customs Department as a new recruit in 1989, was posted to the Intelligence & Investigation unit of the department. His investigating skills and ability to handle cases, secured him a place at the Preventive Division, as a Preventive Officer, at a very young age. Sujith became an intelligent and an experienced investigating officer by handling many large fraudulent cases. His unimaginable understanding of how to handle cases, untiring hard work, made him an outstanding and memorable investigating officer of Sri Lanka Customs.
I had the privilege of working with Sujith when I was posted as the Chief Preventive Officer in 1998. I saw his immense capabilities as a great investigating officer. As the Officer in Charge of the Investigation Branch of the Preventive Division, Sujith’s only goal was to deliver his duties to the best of his ability with the highest level of integrity without expecting any rewards. I am yet to see such a fearless, committed, dedicated and a passionate officer in the Sri Lanka Customs department. I feel that Sujith probably was the best investigating officer that our Customs department has ever produced. Sujith was one of those rare officers who did not bow down to internal, external or political pressures. He focussed and committed himself to his job, to the extent of disregarding even death threats against him. He fearlessly fought against the offenders of the Customs law and corruption within the department of Customs. Irrespective of the parties involved, whether it is a politician, a top businessman or a senior customs officer, he carried out his investigations and never reserved himself, from enforcing the law against the persons concerned. In addition, I found Sujith to be a fair and just officer and was humane in handling cases.
However, he had to pay with his life for all good things he had done to the society and to the Customs department in particular. I feel that this country has lost a good 25 years of Sujith’s service as he was gunned down at a prime and very young age of 35. As we pray for Sujith’s soul, to rest in peace, I feel there will be many of Sujith’s calibre, in the government service who could demonstrate and uphold high level of integrity, and who could fight and stand up against the corruption. It is our duty, to protect such officers, who could, make a difference, in serving our motherland, Sri Lanka.