Chief Magistrate says bail out may give rise to public disquite
-Prosecution did not request to remand suspects
-Allegations against all suspects bailable : defense
Former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank P. Samarasiri, and Directors of Perpetual Treasuries Ltd Geoffrey Aloysius, Pushyamithra Gunawardena, R. Hulugalla, and M. Surendran were ordered to be remanded till April 5 by the Colombo Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne.
Eventhough the allegations were levelled against the suspects were bailable upon the discretion of the court, Chief Magistrate Jayaratne pointed out the section 14(1)(B) of the Bail Act and said that the suspects were alleged to have involed in an offence where huge amount of public money is misappropriated, hence, "the Court has reason to believe that the particular gravity of, and public reaction to, the alleged offence may give rise to public disquiet". Therefore, the Magistrate rejected to release suspects on bail.
At the onset of the inquiry, Senior Deputy Solicitor General Haripriya Jayasundara informed Court that five directors of the Perpetual Treasuries Ltd have been named as suspects into the inquiry. However she said one director named Ajan Punchihewa was not produced with other suspects as he has said to have gone abroad.
According to SDSG Jayasundara, the prosecution has leveled allegations against all directors over the violation of the section 56(A) of the Registered Stock and Securities Ordinance (RSSO)
The prosecution also leveled allegations against them for abettement and Conspiracy arising out of the violation of the above section of the RSSO.
The prosecution has levelled allegations separately against former Deputy Governor P. Samarasiri over the violation of the section 56 of the RSSO and conspiring with former governor Arjun Mahendran to commit the main offence, said SDSG.
P. Samarasiri was the Tender Board chairman during the February 27, 2015 Bond auction.
All these allegations were levelled parallel with the allegation levelled previously against Arjuna Aloysius and Kasun Palisena accusing them for abetting and conspiring with Arjuna Mahendran to misappropriate public funds worth Rs. 688 million during the Bond auction held on February 27, 2015.
However after the submissions of allegations, the prosecution interestingly did not request the court to remand the suspects.
Thereafter, Appearing on behalf of Geoffrey Aloysius, Senior Counsel Jeewantha Jayathilake said that his client does not need to provide any exceptional grounds to get bail as the allegations cited by the prosecution comes under normal bail law and therefore the court has discretion to grant bail.
He said his client has so far complied with every court orders and assisted the investigation even with his personal capasity when the company money is frozen. Mr. Jayathilake said his client has no intention to interfere with investigation or abscond the court because already he had Reported 25 times to the CID and also he traveled abroad few times and returned.
He also quoting the Bond Commission report said that even the Commissioners in their report had declared that they cannot attribute any liability to Geoffrey Aloysius as the chairman of the director board of the PTL.
Citing a precedent he said as his client corporated the inquiry so far there is no reason to refuse his bail since 'it is the rule to grant bail and the exception to refuse it'.
Appearing for PTL former director Pushyamithra, Counsel Asela Rekawa specifically pointed out that the prosecution has not requested the suspects be remanded. He said the offences cited in the further report is triable at the Magistrate's Court and therefore comes under the Bail Act, which is bailable at the discretion of the court. He also said his client had fully corporated the investigation so far and therefore no reason to keep him in remand.
President's Counsel Upul Jayasuriya appearing for suspect Hulugalle said
eventhough the summary of evidence cited against the suspects (directors) suggest that they are directors of PTL, there is no evidence apparently to suggest that they have conspired or abetted in connection with the main offence.
President's Counsel Nalin Ladduwahetti appearing for suspect former deputy governor said the allegations leveled against his client are compoundable offences hence bail Act applies. He said hia client has no intention to abscond the court as he doesnt even possess a passport to travel abroad. Mr. Ladduwahetti said his cliebt had retired from the Central Bank in 2017 August and so far he has corporated the investigation fully.
Resoponding to the allegations leveled against his client, Mr Ladduwahetti said that during this auction process his client had received the recommendation of the governor over the acceptance of Rs 10.058 billion and then he checked about it and complied with the instructions of the then governor Arjun Mahendran because at the Central Bank the Governor is the powerful body. He said if following instructions amount to conspiracy then all the officers at Public Debt Department (PDD )should be also charged over this allegations as the Governor had visited the PDD and instructed them also.
However, after hearing all the submissions of the parties Chief Magistrate observed specifically the fact of the amount of the public money that has been in question over the main offence. She decided under section 14(1)(B) that releasing the suspects on bail may give rise to a public disquite.(Shehan Chamika Silva)