By Chamodi Gunawardana
The United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) yesterday handed over a no-confidence motion with the signatures of 88 Parliamentarians to Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa against Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake.
UPFA Parliamentarian Bandula Gunawardena and some other UPFA MPs yesterday visited Speaker Rajapaksa and handed over the motion.
Commenting on the motion, UPFA Parliamentarian Manusha Nanayakkara told the Daily FT that some UPFA MPs who were currently holding ministerial posts in the Government had also signed this no-confidence motion against Karunanayake.
“We are planning to pressurise the Speaker to bring this no-confidence motion to Parliament as soon as possible. Now it is up to the Speaker to take the next step in this regard,” Nanayakkara stated.
During a press conference held last week, Minister Karunanayake commenting on the no-confidence motion the UPFA hoped to bring against him asked them to file it as soon as possible.
Responding to queries in this regard at the press conference, Karunanayake said: “No issues, ask them to file that no-confidence motion soon. But before that, they better understand the real role of the Opposition.”
Ravi K acquitted in exchange control case
Colombo High Court Judge Iranganie Perera yesterday acquitted Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake and two others on charges of money laundering in violation of the Exchange Control Act. She said the charges framed against the accused did not comply with the Exchange Control Act.
Judge Perera made her ruling after hearing submissions made by prosecuting counsel Deleepa Pieris and Counsel Kolitha Dharmawardana PC who defended Karunanayake.
Pieris said that the defence did not have any status to take up the objection at this stage of the trial. He said the defence should submit any objections at the inception of the hearing, after the prosecution closes its case or at the adjudication of the hearing before judgment was delivered.
However, the Defence Counsel said that the case was first taken up for hearing in 2009 and that the transaction had taken place in 2006. He said until 2009 no action was taken by the prosecution and the charges filed in the indictment were not in compliance with the Exchange Control Act and as such pleaded that his client be acquitted.
The Attorney General indicted Nexia Corporation, Linton Sirisoma and Ravi Karunanayake on charges of money laundering by violating the regulations of the Central Bank and the Exchange Control Act. They were charged with depositing $ 3 million into an account at Standard Chartered Bank which was then used to purchase shares in Union Bank with the intention of laundering the money.
Karunanayake was charged with aiding and abetting a non-resident Sri Lankan, Raj Rajaratnam of Galleon Investments International, Master Prime Establishment to deposit the $ 3 million at the Standard Charted Bank branch in Kirulapone without the authority of the Central Bank.
The other accused Nexia Corporation Services Ltd. and Linton Sirisome were indicted on charges of not following standard procedure when carrying out a transaction through the Sierra account and depositing these funds at Standard Chartered Bank.
Senior State Counsel Dileepa Pieris, with Nayomi Wijesinghe, prosecuted while Counsel Kolitha Dharmawardena PC, Anil Silva PC, Rasika Balasuriya and Shan Senanayake, instructed by G.G. Arulpragasam, appeared for Karunanayake and Ananda Wijesekera PC with Sudath Jayasundera, instructed by K. Ganshayogan, appeared for Nexia Corporation and Linton Sirisoma. Counsel Heshan Hewawithana, instructed by Sudath Perera Associates, appeared for SCB.