By Manopriya Gunasekera
The Attorney General (AG) yesterday filed indictments against former Central Bank Governor Arjuna Maahendran, his son-in-law Perpetual Treasuries owner Arjun Aloysius and eight others before the three-member Permanent High Court Trial-at-Bar.
Co-ordinating Officer to the AG State Counsel Nishara Jayaratne, stated that the Special High Court has summoned the accused to appear before the court on 19 July. The Attorney General has presented 23 charges under the Public Property Act and Registered Stocks and Securities Ordinance for causing losses to the State with questionable bond transactions. The AG’s Department has said they will summon 115 people to give evidence and will present 236 documents to court to prove the charges.
Earlier this month, the Attorney General had requested permission from the Chief Justice to file indictments against the 10 defendants over the Central Bank bond scam before the Permanent High Court-at-Bar.
On 13 June the AG received the approval of the Chief Justice to hear the case before the Permanent High Court-at-Bar.
The trial will be taken up by the Permanent High Court Trial-At-Bar. In addition to Mahendran and Aloysius, the former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank P. Samarasiri, along with seven other directors of Perpetual Treasuries Limited (PTL), the primary dealer at the centre of the controversial Treasury Bond auction on 27 February 2015, are to be indicted on 23 counts, including criminal misappropriation and criminal breach of trust under the Penal Code, Public Property Act, and the Registered Stocks and Securities Ordinance.
Lakshman Arjuna Mahendran, CBSL’s former Deputy Governor Paththinige Samarasiri, Perpetual Treasuries Ltd., Arjun Joseph Aloysius, Kasun Oshadhee Palisena, PTL directors Jeffery Joseph Aloysius, Pushya Mithra Gunawardane, Chitta Ranjan Hulugalla, Muthuraja Surendran and Ajahn Gardier Punchiheva will be indicted by the Attorney General in connection with the bond scam.
The suspects will be indicted in connection with the charges arising from the Treasury Bond auction held on 27 February 2015 (in respect of the face value of Rs. 10.058 billion) causing a Rs. 688 million loss to the Government.
The charges had been formulated based on evidence presented during the Bond Commission Inquiry, conducted by the Commission of Inquiry appointed by the President, and also considering the material disclosed during the investigation conducted by the CID.
According to the Auditor General, the estimated avoidable loss suffered by the Government at this auction alone (on 27 February 2015) was approximately Rs. 688,762,100.
The Attorney General on 7 June wrote to the Chief Justice seeking direction on the indictments, and the constitution of a trial-at-bar at the Colombo High Court to institute criminal proceedings against the suspects implicated in the controversial bond auction. At the time, the AG’s Department said more indictments were also possible.