Can the trade afford it?
Fradulent documents and bouncing cheques
The Academy for International Trade and Transport (AITT) together with the Sri Lanka Shippers’ Council (SLSC) will present an industry awareness programme on fraudulent documents and bouncing cheques at the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce on March 30.
As Sri Lanka’s domestic and international trade grows, the industry faces a very serious problem in respect of documents and financial transactions, as more and more fraudulent acts are committed with documents such as bills of ladings, according to Rohan Masakorala from the AITT.
In addition to this, an enormous number of cheques are reported to be bouncing on a daily basis – as much as 6000 cheques according to the Central Bank. “Under the Debt Recovery Act of 1992, it is an offence to issue a cheque without funds, and is punishable with a two year term of imprisonment. However in most cases the industry is unaware of what to do or how to act in such a situation and tend to accept the offence and make enormous business losses and in some cases losing credit lines from banks and being blacklisted for depositing bouncing cheques,” AITT said.
Masakorala said parties who are involved have to be extremely careful of how they do their documents and with whom they deal with. So that the exporters as well as the service providers have a good idea of the authenticity of the shipper, forwarder, line or the documents issued such as bills of ladings etc. It has been reported to the Sri Lanka Shippers’ Council in many occasions how fraudulent documents have been issued by certain shipping/forwarding companies and in the process many shippers have either lost their cargo, money and the buyers. On the other hand there have been instances that the shippers (accidental exporters) and the forwarder in conjunction have misled foreign buyers and created massive losses to Sri Lanka’s trading partners.
The Academy for International Trade and Transport (AITT) the training arm of the Sri Lanka Freight Forwarders’ Association (SLFFA) together with the Sri Lanka Shippers’ Council (SLSC) have organised a presentation to educate the business community with the assistance of the Fraud Bureau of the Sri Lanka Police, with an expert from The Central Bank and other stake holders of the industry. The idea of this seminar is to guide the business community (domestic and international) and give them the necessary tools to protect themselves against fraudulent acts.