Chanuka Ratwatte and four others, who were arrested by the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) were today remanded till September 28 by the Colombo Fort Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne.
The son of former Defence Minister, the late Anuruddha Ratwatte, had been arrested in connection with an alleged misappropriation of Rs. 4.2 billion government funds. Mr. Chanuka Ratwatte is also the brother of Joint Opposition MP Lohan Ratwatte.
The prosecution alleged that the suspects had misused the funds belonging to the four Departments of the Central Bank and the Employees Provident Fund at the CEB, while investing those funds in the Government Securities through a company named Entrust Securities PLC, which is headed by the suspects.
The Central Bank took over Entrust Securities PLC this January and handed it over to the National Savings Bank as the management agent, to restructure the troubled primary dealer.
The Central Bank however did not directly admit uncovering of any fraudulent activities by the company or its top management, but said it was taken over to ensure the credibility of the Government securities market.
The FCID said the suspects were members of the alleged company, which was registered under the Central Bank as a primary sales broking company to invest in securities and bonds.
They told court that the Government funds were never invested in the securities, but were transferred into the Entrust Ltd. causing a huge financial loss to the government.
The suspects were charged under the section 5(3) and 8(3) of the Public Property Act and section 386 of the Penal Code over criminal breach of trust and misappropriation.
The suspects are Dharmapriya Bandara Dassanayake (Chairman, of the Entrust Securities Plc), Chanuka Ratwatte (Managing Director), Romesha Dushanthi Senarath, Executive Director), Sanjeewa Dayaratne (Director) and Niloshan Romelo Mendis (Director).
The FCID conducted investigations over the allegations following a complaint from the Central Bank. (Shehan Chamika Silva)
Pix by Damith Wickramasinghe