Bail refused for former Deyata Kirula CEO in Rs. 39 m fraud case

Thursday, 1 August 2013 02:16 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By Lakmal Sooriyagoda The Colombo Fort Magistrate yesterday turned down a bail application filed on behalf of the former CEO of Deyata Kirula National Exhibition 2013, on the basis that the defence failed to establish exceptional circumstances. Accordingly, two suspects Kanthi Gunawardana, the former CEO of Deyata Kirula National Exhibition 2013, and Sarath Chandra Ekanayake, an owner of a construction company, were ordered to be further remanded till 7 August by Magistrate Thilina Gamage regarding a Rs. 39 million fraud at the Deyata Kirula exhibition site in Ampara. Filing a bail application on behalf of the second suspect Kanthi Gunawardana, defence counsel Chula Bandara submitted to Court that the deteriorated mental health condition of his client’s son owing to her prolonged remand custody be considered as an exceptional circumstance. However, the CID argued that the son of the second suspect had also been involved in some transactions pertaining to the Deyata Kirurla exhibition while serving as one of the directors of a constructing company. Magistrate Thilina Gamage maintained that Court cannot be satisfied with the submissions put forwarded by defence and ordered the suspects to be further remanded till 6 August. The suspect Kanthi Gunawardana, who was also served as an Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technology, was arrested by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) soon after her anticipatory bail was rejected by the Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court. Prosecutors alleged that a contract relating to the construction of temporary toilets had been given to her close relative by the suspect without the approval of the Procurement and Technical Evaluation Committee (PTEC). They further alleged that the 17-year-old son of the suspect had been named as the second owner of this construction company called Ransara Constructions but not a single toilet had been constructed. They further alleged that the company was believed to have been set up in concurrence with the Deyata Kirula exhibition and a payment of Rs. 5 million was made to the construction company even prior to the agreement signed with Deyata Kirula Secretariat Office for constructing 400 toilets. They further informed Court a brother of the first owner of the construction company handed over Rs. 1.1 million to the CID which was given to him by his brother. The concerned person had told police that he had nothing to do with the Deyata Kirula Exhibition but received Rs. 1.1 million from his brother who owned the Ransara Construction company. Prosecutors further told Court a timber shop owner handed over Rs. 592,750 to the CID which was given to him by the petitioner to construct 19 louvre doors and seven doorframes required for a cinema hall at the exhibition site. It transpired in court that the wooden items had not been installed at the exhibition site. The CID further told Court that a complaint had been made in this regard by Telecommunications and Information Technology Ministry Secretary H.M. Gunasekara on 21 February regarding the alleged misappropriation amounting to Rs. 39 million. In this case, the complainant alleged that the contract relating to the construction of temporary toilets had been given to a private company without the approval of the PTEC by the CEO of Deyata Kirula 2013 and thereby made an additional payment of Rs. 1.7 million to the contractor. The complainant further alleged that the suspect had made other payments amounting to Rs. 12 million, Rs. 11 million and Rs. 255,000 for a reading room, a canteen and for floral decorations respectively at the exhibition site.