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Bond Case: Tenth accused reveals vital info in writ petition

29 July 2019 08:16 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Filing a writ application in court, the tenth accused in the treasury bond case, Ajahn Punchihewa has stated that he could have given vital information regarding investigations over the bond scam, Mr Punchihewa advised he had information about a penthouse apartment in Singapore valued at Singapore Dollars 7.6 million, occupied by the family of Arjun Aloysius, which was purchased by a company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands. 

The tenth accused, Ajahn Gardiye Punchihewa, had filed a writ petition in the Court of Appeal citing 16 respondents including the Attorney General, the director of the CID, Inspector General, and nine other suspects who were named as accused in the indictment. 

The petitioner had stated that the decision to initiate action against him before the High Court by the Attorney General was unreasonable. 

Therefore, he sought an interim relief be given until the final determination of this petition suspending the inclusion of his name on the indictment, and charges against him contained in the indictment. 

He also sought interim relief to restrain commencing of any proceedings against him in the High Court and taking any measures to extradite him over the case. 

The petitioner in his petition has also requested a final order in way of writ of certiorari and prohibition to issue a mandate quashing the charges against him pertaining to the charges stipulated in the indictment and to prohibit respondents from commencing further proceedings against him based on the indictment. In his petition, Ajahn Punchihewa had comprehensively informed the court that he had no connection with the matters that happened during the time that the alleged bond auction had taken place on February 27, 2015. 

He had stated that he was appointed as a director of the board of Perpetual Treasuries Ltd on February 18, 2015, on the request of Arjun Aloysius. 

However, he states that he did not participate in, and is not aware of any meeting of the board of Directors of PTL, whether formal or informal, during the month of February 2015. 

And the very first meeting to which the petitioner was invited was for the month of March 2015. Furthermore, he had not been part of any decision making whatsoever of PTL until 13th March 2015, when the petitioner attended a board meeting for the very first time. 

The petitioner said that he had started gathering relevant information in order to assist the CID, after he received notices on April 14, 2019, from the Chief Magistrate’s Court over the inquiry to appear before the CID on June 26, 2019. 

The petitioner states that as of his receipt of the said notice, the petitioner had already commenced gathering further information connected to the affairs of PTL as well as the assets of Mr. Arjun Aloysius and his family, in order to assist the ongoing investigations, and in preparation to provide a detailed and truthful statement. 

The petitioner had taken the following steps: 

-The petitioner requested details of his credit card statements from the Standard Chartered Bank, in the belief that such details would allow him to corroborate his account of certain transactions related to his tenure at PTL. 

-The petitioner sought and obtained electronic records of various Singaporian state agencies, including incorporation documents for a suspicious company operated by the wife of Arjun Aloysius, who is also the daughter of Arjuna Mahendran, in the belief that certain monies and properties may have been held by the said companies and/ or have been transferred to other entities by using the said company. 

-The petitioner had obtained the title deed for a penthouse apartment in Singapore occupied by Arjun Aloysius and his wife, whose owner is a company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands named "Perpetual Holdings Worldwide Limited". 

The petitioner has also obtained evidence that during August 2017, the name of this company was altered to remove the word "perpetual". 

The petitioner states that while he had no knowledge and/ or involvement whatsoever about PTL' s role in the alleged bond auction, he was still willing to fully assist the ongoing investigations to the best of his knowledge and ability, and was making all preparations to make a comprehensive statement before officers of the Criminal Investigation Department on or before the 26th of June 2019, as stipulated in the notice. 

The petitioner stated that, in the meantime, he had learned that the Attorney General was going to initiate actions against him also by deliberately ignoring that the petitioner was not given fair and reasonable opportunity to respond to the allegations against him, as the investigation was not concluded at the magisterial level. 

The petitioner further states that the CBSL is still conducting the forensic audit pertaining to the bond issue, and the said audit is not yet completed. The petitioner had stated that indicting him and nine others in High Court put the petitioner in jeopardy, as he was already prepared with a comprehensive statement to be given to the Criminal Investigation Department with a wide range of documents, corroborative materials, and information pertaining to PTL and Mr. Arjun Aloysius which would immensely assist the ongoing investigations. 

The information he had gathered: 

-A first-hand account with documentary records of a large number of securities transactions involving Mr. Arjun Aloysius that may serve as evidence of systematic securities frauds and including possible "dumping" of overpriced shares on public entities, over a long period of time prior to January 8, 2015;

- How at the 13th March 2015 board meeting, Mr. Kasun Palisena responded to queries raised by certain directors about improprieties that had by then been publicly alleged about PTL' s role in the 27th February 2015 bond auction, including means by which investigators could independently corroborate the account of the petitioner; 

-Emails between Mr. Arjun Aloysius, directors, officers and company secretaries of PTL over a period from March 2015

- July 2017 which established the extent to which Arjun Aloysius was covertly involved in the executive decision-making process of PTL 

- telephone calls between Mr. Arjun Aloysius and Mr. - Kasun Palisena overheard by the petitioner and near-contemporaneous emails that corroborate the petitioner's account of these conversations, which may serve as evidence of possible offences under the Registered Stocks and Securities Ordinance and other relevant laws 

- Evidence of Financial transactions that may be connected to proceeds of the crime including possible efforts to mask the ownership of overseas assets in 2017 during the term of the Commission of Inquiry into the Issuance of Treasury Bonds; 

-Instances in which the petitioner personally witnessed events connected to the incorporation of a company in Singapore at the instance of Mr. Arjun Aloysius, with the initial directors being Mr. Atjun Aloysius's wife, and an officer of PTL; 

-Information about overseas assets such as the particulars of a penthouse apartment in Singapore, valued at Singapore Dollars 7.6 million, occupied by the family of Mr. Arjun Aloysius, which was purchased by a company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands. 

Mr.Uditha Egalahewa PC with Mr.N.K.Ashokbharan appeared for the petitioner. Mr.Parinda Ranasinghe PC - ASG, with Ms.Shaheeda Barrie SSC, appeared for the Attorney General. 

The Bench comprising Justice Shiran Gooneratne, Justice Mahinda Samayawardhana, Justice Arjuna Obeyesekere ordered to reissue notices on the respondents and re-fixed for support on September 10. (Shehan Chamika Silva)

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