Avant Garde case: Gota, seven others de-manacled

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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.   

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