Phone bill case: Keheliya, former SPC Chairman granted bail

Former Minister Keheliya Rambukwella and former State Printing Corporation (SPC) Chairman Jayampathi Bandara Heenkenda were yesterday ordered to be released on bail by the Colombo Chief Magistrate in a case where they are alleged to have caused an unlawful loss of Rs.230,984 to the government through payment of the former Minister’s mobile phone bill, using SPC funds, while functioning as the Mass Media Minister in 2012.

Accordingly, former Minister Rambukwella and former SPC Chairman Heenkenda were ordered to be released on a surety bail of Rs.500,000 each by Colombo Chief Magistrate Lal Ranasinghe Bandara.

The Bribery Commission alleged that the former minister had induced the former CPC Chairman to pay his mobile phone bill from March 15, 2012 to April 14, 2012 causing an unlawful loss to the government, while serving as the Mass Media Minister.

Meanwhile, the defence party yesterday filed written submissions regarding their preliminary objections challenging the maintainability of the case. The prosecution was directed to file their counter objections in court on October 30.

The Bribery Commission had named former (SPC) Jayampathi Bandara Heenkenda as an accused for aiding and abetting to commit the offence.

The Director General of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption filed this case against the former Minister and former SPC Chairman under Section 70 of the Bribery Act on three counts.

Meanwhile, the former SPC Chairman was granted bail in respect of 13 other cases for causing a loss of Rs.74 million to the government when paying hotel bills and bonus payments using SPC funds.

Counsel Anuradha Siriwardena, the Assistant Legal Director of the Bribery Commission appeared for the prosecution. Counsel Niroshan Siriwardena appeared for the accused. 

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