Aloysius cannot be compelled to give evidence

Perpetual Treasuries beneficiary owner Arjun Aloysius in conversation with his attorneys Gamini Marapana PC,G.G.Arul Pragasam and Navin Marapana outside the Commission office yesterday. Picture by Wimal Karunathilake.

COUNSEL GAMINI MARAPANA’S APPLICATION UPHELD:

ASG de Livera to seek AG’s opinion regarding order:

The Presidential Commission of Inquiry investigating into the Treasury bond issue yesterday issued an order directing Perpetual Treasuries beneficiary owner Arjun Aloysius to appear before the commission and to give evidence on a given date.

However, the commission observed that if Aloysius is unwilling or refuses to give evidence; his counsel is entitled to make an application to the commission to the effect that an accused cannot be compelled to give evidence.

“...therefore, on an application, mutatis mutandis, of the rule of the Law that an accused cannot be compelled to give evidence, which Mr. Marapana PC has relied on when he took that same objection, Mr. Aloysius must not be compelled to give evidence. In the event, Counsel for Mr. Aloysius chooses to make such an application, we will be duty bound to act in terms of that rule of the Law and refrain from compelling Mr. Aloysius to give evidence,” the judges said in their order yesterday. Following the order, Aloysius’s counsel Gamini Marapana PC said his client is unwilling to give evidence before the commission and informed that a submission in this regard will be done on Thursday (14). The Commissioner Supreme Court Judge P.S. Jayawardena requested Marapana PC to carefully consider the order before making the submission.

In the same note, Acting Solicitor General Dappula de Livera said he will seek the Attorney General’s opinion regarding the order.

Aloysius appeared before the Treasury Bond Commission yesterday morning complying with the notice of summons which was served to him on September 11,2017.

Aloysius appeared with his legal representative President’s Counsel Gamini Marapana who on the date of summoning notice issuance, objected his client being compelled to testify before the commission on the basis of self incrimination and his right for a fair trial.

Accordingly the Treasury Bond Commission yesterday (13) made the order on the notice of summoning Aloysius to testify before the commission.

According to the order, the Presidential Commission of Inquiry investigating into the Treasury bond issue is of the view that Aloysius is required to give evidence before the commission. The commission states that Aloysius’s evidence is relevant and material. It also believes that Aloysius should be given “the opportunity to explain” himself regarding the matter under probe.

The commission observes that if Aloysius is unwilling or refuses to give evidence, it will “be duty bound to act in terms of the rule of the Law and refrain from compelling Aloysius to give evidence.”

The PCoI’s order states that it requires Aloysius to give evidence with regards to matters including, reasons for PTL bidding for large amounts of Treasury Bonds at some Treasury bond auctions, Transactions on the secondary market of Treasury bonds which PTL obtained by successful bids, the dealings and relationship which existed between PTL-Central Bank, Employees Provident Fund, Pan Asia Banking Corporation PLC and some other Primary Dealers. The matters also include, the profits/capital gains received by PTL as a result of the said Treasury bond transactions, the disposal of these profits/capital gains by way of dividends, fund transfers and transfers of profit and investment.

The Commission also requires Aloysius to give evidence on several matters which are directly within his personal knowledge. The Commission listed out 15 matters on which Aloysius seem to obtain personal knowledge. The said matters pointed out by the commission include, the ownership, control and the structure of group of companies of which PTL is a member, the role played by Aloysius in applying for and obtaining a Primary Dealer license from the Central Bank, Aloysius’s day to day operations of the PTL when he was its CEO, his decision to resign from the said CEO post and his involvement in PTL daily activities after his resignation.

The Commission also seeks Aloysius’s personal knowledge on certain telephone call conversations between him and PTL CEO Kasun Palisena, with regards to Treasury bond auctions held on March 2016 where Aloysius claims that he has information on, the role played by Aloysius with regards to the fine imposed by the Central Bank on PTL, the nature of relationship between Aloysius and Arjun Mahendran, the nature of relationship between EPF officers including Indika Saman Kumara, NSB officer Navin Anuradha and PABC former Chairman Nimal Perera.

The Commission wants Aloysius to give evidence on the reasons for him telephoning Richie Dias of PABC during the period when Dias was making his statement to the PCoI and the reasons for Aloysius leasing an apartment which was occupied by former Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake and his family.

Meanwhile the commission stresses that it is mindful, from its commencement, to act “fairly and with the cold neutrality of an impartial judge.”

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