By Ranjith Padmasiri
Two senior Attorney General’s Department officials have allegedly attempted to forcibly obtain evidence from a lawyer, implicating politicians as having obtained payments from W.M. Mendis and Company which is linked to the Central Bank bond scam.
The lawyer, in an affidavit filed in the Colombo Fort Magistrate Court, this week claimed that the top officials wanted him to get his client W.M. Mendis & Company to hand over a set of vouchers relating to payments made to top politicians of ‘both parties’.
Attorney Chandana Perera claims he was summoned to the AG’s Department and told to hand over the voucher set to a CID officer before they got him “arrested and remanded”.
The affidavit was filed when the bond scam case was taken up before Fort Magistrate Lanka Jayaratna on Thursday.
Mr Perera states a senior AG’s Department officer had questioned him whether he knew who was “RK”and “RW” and “NR” and few other initials and said some of the vouchers had been destroyed by the company, but there was another set held back and wanted it handed over.
Upul Jayasuriya, PC told courts that four employees from the W.M. Mendis & Co had also been summoned to the CID and after recording their first statements the employees were intimidated and a second statement was recorded.
Mr Jayasuriya said their claims were being supported by affidavits which have been filed in courts.
Wasantha Bandara Nawaratna, PC, told courts that Attorney Perera was a lawyer for W.M. Mendis & Co.
Mr Perera’s affidavit says that recently when four of the company’s employees including its Finance Manager Sujith Alwis had been summoned by the CID, he had met them at the Grand Oriental Hotel before they called over at the adjoining CID building to make a statement.
He said it was thereafter on September 12 that he had received several calls from a State Counsel and when he responded, the phone had been passed on to a senior AG’s Department official who wanted him to see him at his office.
He said when he called over, the officer had showed him video footage of him entering the Grand Oriental Hotel and told him he had committed a serious offence punishable with imprisonment by instructing persons who have been noticed to come to the CID to suppress material and make false statements.
“You may be able to get bail but you must realise that you will still lose your black coat”, the Officer had warned, Mr Perera said in his affidavit.
Assistant Solicitor General Yasantha Kodagoda, PC told courts that the allegations made were serious and that he would study the affidavit and other documents and provide a suitable response on the next date.
The case has been fixed for October 11.
Copies of Mr. Perera’s affidavit have been sent by his senior counsel Kolitha Dharmawardena to the Chief justice, the Attorney General, the Inspector General of Police, the Law and Order Minister and the Justice Minister.
Meanwhile, W.M. Mendis & Co’s three employees whose statements were recorded by the CID have lodged complaints with the Police that the CID officers had tried to force them to change their statements.
One of the employees, Ruwansiri Jayakody who is the company’s head of the Information Technology section, in a complaint to the Police described on how he was forced to change his statement. He claimed facts not mentioned in his statement had been included by the CID officials.
One such statement was that the Company lawyer Mr Perera had told him to make false statements to the CID.
In his complaint, he said that one of the CID officers had followed him and tried to get a statement recorded while he was travelling. He had declined to make such statement.