Additional Solicitor General Yasantha Kodagoda today revealed that some 102 original vouchers relating to the transactions between WM Mendis & Company and third parties had been destroyed and replaced by some Finance officers of the company upon the instructions of its CEO in November 2017, while the Bond Commission was in progress.
The ASG revealed this based on the confessional statements given by three officers of WM Mendis & Company namely, Sujith Alwis (Finance Manager), Buddi Sankalpa Perera (Audit Manager) and Sivasundaram Harisam (officer at Finance Division) to the CID recently.
Earlier, WM Mendis & Company had given a set of vouchers relating to the transactions it made with third parties to the CID for its investigation, which conducted into the alleged suspicious transactions that Perpetual Treasuries Ltd had made with its related company, WM Mendis & Company to release money/payments to third parties.
However, according to the statements given by those officers, some of these vouchers (physical documents) had been already replaced altering its true transaction details in November before handing them over to the CID.
ASG Kodagoda said, these three officers who had confessed, had also been involved in the destroying process of the 102 vouchers upon the instructions of their CEO at the Board Room of the Company by using a shredding machine.
At the onset of the inquiry, ASG Kodagoda drew the Court's attention to an incident that the CID and the officers of the Government Analysts Department had to undergo when deploying an investigation at the WM Mendis & Company over its central computer data server.
The CID had deployed this exercise upon the direction of the court to get a cloned copy of the data base in expectation of searching all details relating the payment system of WM Mendis & Company.
According to ASG Kodagoda, Chief Operating Officer of WM Mendis & Company, Savith Kalupathirana had obstructed the government officers to conduct their investigation when the officers went to get a clone copy of the server.
The ASG further said that WM Mendis & Company had then provided the CID a lap top containing data relating to its payment system by copying from the main server to get the cloning done.
However, the ASG was of the view that what the prosecution specifically required to do is to get a clone copy of the main data server to compare with the vouchers that the CID already have and to see the nature of those particular 102 transactions and more.
However, the Counsel who appeared for WM Mendis & Company denied the allegation and said that they have provided the CID full cooperation.
The Counsel was of the view that their payment system and the data base was not separated and therefore, there was a difficulty in providing a third party to get a copy of its server, since it comprised with also business sensitive and private information about their clients and employees.
Considering both parties requests, Fort Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne directed to get down the experts from the Government Analyst department and the company which provided services to the data system to understand how the data system of WM Mendis & Company can be cloned.
Meanwhile, ASG Kodagoda also invited the Court to consider taking legal action against Chief Operating Officer of WM Mendis & Company, Savith Kalupathirana, who had allegedly obstructed the government officers duties at WM Mendis & Company premises over the offence of Contempt of Court for not obeying the court order. He also pointed out that the CID can also parallelly initiate actions against him under the section 183 of the Penal Code for obstructing their duties.
Meanwhile, Perpetual Treasuries Ltd owner Arjun Aloysius and its CEO Kasun Palisena were also ordered to be re-remanded till September 27 by the magistrate over the magisterial inquiry in which they were accused of abetting and conspiring with Arjuna Mahendran to misappropriate public funds worth Rs. 688 million during the Bond auction held on February 27, 2015.
Perpetual Treasuries Ltd defacto owner Arjun Aloysius, its CEO Kasun Palisena were also re-remanded by the Fort Magistrate till September 27 over the parallel magisterial inquiry conducted relating to the Bond scam on deleting phone call data from Perpetual Treasuries Ltd voice recording system and fabricating evidence to the Bond Commission.
On the instructions of Senior Additional Solicitor General Yasantha Kodagoda, Senior Deputy Solicitor General Haripriya Jayasundara, Senior State Counsel lakmini Girihagama and State Counsel Sahanya Narampanawa appeared for the prosecution, while President's Counsel Kalinga Indatissa, President's Counsel Anil Silva, Senior Counsel Jeewantha Jayathilake, Counsel Ralitha Amarasena and Counsel Theruni Fernando appeared for the defense. (Shehan Chamika Silva)