Blue Diamonds Jewellery Wor ldwide PLC (BLUE) Chairman Xia Liqiang has stepped down from the post with effect from June 20, and has taken the mantle of Deputy Chairman/ Managing Director.
Liqiang’s resignation comes in the wake of an investigation carried out by the capital market regulator Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over the conduct of business affairs by the company, leading to possible misappropriation of public funds by the management. We l l-known lawyer Dr. Dayanath Jayasuriya PC, who holds no shares of the company, has been appointed as Chairman of BLUE with effect from June 30. Dr. Jayasuriya was a former Chairman of the SEC, Insurance Board of Sri Lanka and Public Utilities Commission.
T h e c o m p a n y a l s o announced the appointments o f two new d i r e c t o r s — Samantha Pushpakumara and Somasundaram Prabaharan—to fill the seats vacated by the two Chinese directors who resigned last week. According to the SEC, an independent audit into the books of BLUE has found “several irregularities in the conduct of business affairs of BLUE by the management, which may point to possible misappropriation of public funds.” The shareholders of the company unanimously agreed to the audit at an Extraordinary General Meeting this January. The main purpose of the audit was to investigate the alleged misuse of Rs.165.25 million raised through a rights issue. In view of the findings, the SEC said further investigations into the company had been initiated and measures would be taken to safeguard investor interests. Meanwhile, the SEC barred payments to Xia Liqiang over a share sale carried out by him before the results of the special purpose audit into the com