The Permanent High Court Trial-at-Bar hearing high profile today discharged the former Samurdhi Commissioner Neil Bandara Hapuhinna from all charges filed against him.
The three Trial-at-Bar Bench included High Court Judges Sampath Abeykoon (President), Sampath Wijeratna and Champa Janaki Rajaratne who reserved to disclose the reasons for discharging the accused at the adjudication of the case. The Court has fixed the trial for May 6, to allow some of the accused in the case to go abroad.
The Attorney General had indicated that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Chief of Staff Gamini Sedara Senarath, former Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation Managing Director Piyadasa Kudabalage, former Samurdhi Commissioners Neil Bandara Hapuhinna and Lasantha Bandara as well as three others, are accused of illegally transferring of Rs.500 million from Litro Gas to Canwill Holdings Pvt Limited.
The accused were earlier released on a cash bail of Rs.100, 000, each of them with two sureties for one million rupees. The Attorney General filed indictments against the accused for illegally transferring of Rs.500 million from Litro Gas to Canwill Holdings Pvt Limited. The Attorney General further alleged that the money had instead gone into the account of Helanco Hotels and Spa, backed by the proposed Hyatt hotel in Hambantota. It is also alleged that another Rs.18.9 million had been spent to buy an apartment for the use of the fourth accused, Lasantha Bandara.
Therefore, the four accused have been charged for money laundering. Some of this money was used to pay off a credit card bill amounting to around Rs.700, 000. The Attorney General has listed 92 documents as evidence while 63 persons have been named as witnesses for the case. (T. Farook Thajudeen)