High Court dismisses bribery case against Minister Fernando

Saturday, 3 October 2020 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Court decides case cannot proceed on defective charge sheet  

By T. Farook Thajudeen 

The Colombo High Court on observing that a case cannot be maintained against a suspect on a faulty charge sheet, dismissed the bribery case filed against Minister Johnston Fernando yesterday; for allegedly employing Cooperative Wholesale Establishment (CWE) workers for election work from 2010 to 2014. High Court Judge Adithya Patabendige further said a Magistrate Court cannot hear a case on a faulty charge sheet and should have dismissed the case at the very inception of inquiry. 

The Commission to Investigation Allegations of Bribery and Corruption had filed a bribery action case against Minister Fernando and two others for causing losses amounting to Rs.40.1 million to the Government by employing 153 CWE employees for political activities during the period from 2010 to 2014. 

Other suspects in the case were former Sathosa Chairman Eraj Fernando and its former Working Director Mohammed Fakir. They too, were discharged. 

The case was originally heard before the Colombo Magistrate Court and the attorneys representing Minister Fernando filed preliminary objections before the magistrate, claiming that the Bribery Commission had filed charges against the suspects which was bad in law and could not be maintained. 

Consequently the suspects’ Counsel filed the revision papers in the Colombo High Court challenging the Magistrate’s decision.

Colombo High Court Judge Adithya Patabendige on hearing the petition of the suspects, dismissed it observing that while three directors of the Commission should sign a charge sheet and a signature by one director alone was in bad law and the case could not be maintained on a faulty charge sheet.