By T. Farook Thajudeen
The Colombo Chief Magistrate yesterday discharged former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa and seven others from a corruption case filed by the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC).
The magistrate did it consequent to the Court of Appeal ordering made against the magistrate hearing the corruption case filed by CIABOC in connection with the Avant Garde floating armoury case.
Court of Appeal Judges Achala, Wengappuli and Arjuna Obeysekara had set aside an order by the Colombo Chief Magistrate to continue with the trial of the corruption case filed by CIABOC against Gotabaya Rajapaksa and seven others.
The Bribery Commission had charged Mr. Rajapaksa and seven others for allegedly causing an unlawful loss of Rs.11.4 billion to the State by permitting Avant Garde Maritime Services (Pvt) Limited to operate a floating armoury.
Mr. Rajapaksa’s lawyers challenged the magistrate’s decision to refuse preliminary objections raised by the defence against charges filed by the commission.
The commission had alleged that eight accused including Gotabaya had violated Section 70 of the Bribery Act and permitted Avant Garde Maritime Services (Pvt) Limited to operate a floating armoury between August 7, 2012 and January 8, 2015 to earn an unlawful income of Rs.11.4 billion.