A.J.A. Abeynayake and Kasuni Rebeca
Deputy Solicitor General Thusitha Mudalige yesterday (06) told Fort Magistrate Ranga Dissanayake that part of USD 2 mn received by Priyanka Niyomali Wijenayake, wife of former SirLankan Airlines CEO Kapila Chandrasena, from Airbus SE of France, had been credited to the accounts of one or two persons living in Sri Lanka.
DSG Mudalige said that in addition to the funds transferred to an account or two in Sri Lanka, part of the money received by Wijenayake had been credited to several offshore accounts.
Representing Attorney General Dappula De Livera, Mudalige objected to the suspects being granted bail. The DSG said that investigations could be hampered if they were granted bail.
Magistrate Dissanayake, remanded the suspects till Feb 19 for allegedly receiving a bribe of USD 2 mn to influence the national carrier to acquire ten aircraft.
Colombo Fort Magistrate on Feb 3 issued warrants for the arrest of the two suspects.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa called for action on British media reports and UK court documents regarding a massive bribery scandal. Investigations revealed Wijenayake had received USD 2 mn to an account maintained in Brunei. Court documents revealed that Airbus and the suspects negotiated for a staggering USD 16 mn bribe of which USD 2 were paid.
The suspects yesterday surrendered to the CID through their lawyer Buddhika Chandrasekera. The CID recorded lengthy statements from the suspects before producing them in Fort Magistrate court.
DSG Mudalige told court that the suspects had told the CID they were not aware of the bank account bearing Wijenayake’s name or the account opened under Kapila Chandrasena’s name or subsequent transfers to other accounts.
The UNP-led government cancelled the Airbus deal. Sri Lanka had to pay a staggering amount as compensation to the supplier due to the cancellation.
Magistrate Dissanayake, while pointing out that actual purchase of aircraft had not taken place, inquired from DSG Mudalige whether the suspects had committed any offences other than those under money laundering and bribery laws.
DSG Mudalige said that as investigations hadn’t been over he found it difficult to answer that question.
Magistrate Dissanayake also inquired whether the CID had sought arrest warrants as the suspects moved court on January 29 to have travel ban imposed on them lifted.
Magistrate Dissanayake inquired whether the police had moved to arrest them fearing they were planning to flee the country.
DSG Mudalige said that they acted in the wake of a ruling given by UK court.
Counsel Nalin Ladduwahetty told court that the investigations conducted at snail pace since 2016 had been suddenly stepped up. He said that his client Wijenayake was ready to face investigation.
DSG Mudalige said that investigations had been delayed due to various reasons.
Chandrasena was represented by a tem comprising Anuja Premaratne, Nayana Dissanayake and Kaushalya Rajapaksa while Nalin Ladduwahetti, Buddhika Chandrasekera, Anura Chandrasiri, Deemani Baddewela and Jayantha Dias Nanayakkara appeared for the second suspect.