CB bond scam case to be heard on 18 March

Monday, 22 February 2021 00:55 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The Colombo High Court on 18 March will take up the case of the Central Bank bond scam against 10 suspects, including former Central Bank Governor Arjun Mahendran.

The case was filed by the Attorney General during the former Government, charging all defendants under the Public Property Act with conspiracy to commit criminal misappropriation in respect of Treasury bonds to the face value of Rs. 10.058 billion and criminal breach of trust in respect of Treasury bonds against the first and second accused and causing a loss to the Government to the tune of Rs. 688 million.

The defendants include Lakshman Arjuna Mahendran, former Central Bank Deputy Governor Paththinige Samarasiri, Perpetual Treasuries Ltd. (PTL) Director Arjun Joseph Aloysius, CEO Kasun Oshadhi Palisena, Chairman Geoffrey Joseph Aloysius, and Directors Pushyamithra Gunawardena, Chitta Ranjan Hulugalle, Muthuraja Surendran and Ajahn Gardiye Punchihewa.

The case was taken up before a three-judge bench comprising Justices Champa Janaki Rajaratne, Damith Thotawatte and Namal Balalle on Friday.

Senior State Counsel Wasantha Perera, who appeared for the Attorney General, stated that Additional Solicitor General Priyantha Navana and Deputy Solicitor General Parinda Ranasinghe, who are prosecuting the case, were unable to appear in court due to personal difficulties and asked for another date to hear the case.

Former Central Bank Governor Arjun Mahendran, who has been named as the first accused in the case, and Ajahan Gardiya Punchihewa, who has been named as the 10th accused, did not appear in Court when the case was taken up.

Earlier this week Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya named judges to two trials-at-bar to hear cases involving the Central Bank bond transactions of March 2016. Three High Court judges will make up each of the benches at a trial-at-bar.

One bench will include High Court (HC) Judges D. Thotawatta, Manjula Tillakaratne and M. Irsadeen, while one will include HC Judges Amal Ranaraja, Namal Balalle and Adithya Patabandige.

The two trials-at-bar were appointed on the request of Attorney General (AG) Dappula de Livera to hear the cases against former Minister Ravi Karunanayake, former Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran, Arjun Aloysius and eight others.

The accused, including Karunanayake, face charges such as criminal misappropriation, market manipulation, cheating and insider dealing in relation to bond auctions held in 2015/2016.

They face charges under the Penal Code, Offences against Public Property Act and the Registered Stock and Securities Ordinance.