Treasury Bond Commission summons Aloysius

The Presidential Commission of Inquiry investigating into the Treasury Bond issue yesterday issued a notice summoning Perpetual Treasuries Limited owner Arjun Aloysius to give evidence before the commission on Wednesday (13). Accordingly, the notice of summoning was served to Aloysius through a fiscal, Chairman of the commission Justice K.T. Chitrasiri said.

The respective order on the summoning will be done by the commission on Wednesday, Chairman Justice Chitrasiri also said.

The Criminal Investigation Department recorded statments from Arjun Aloysius for the fifth day yesterday.

President’s Counsel Gamini Marapana appearing on behalf of Arjun Aloysius requested from the Treasury Bond Commission not to compel Aloysius to give evidence. Marapana PC, while stating that there is every possibility of indictment or disciplinary action against his client, pointed out to the commission that Aloysius has a right for a fair trial before a competent court.

Marapana PC also pointed out that an accused person cannot be compelled to give evidence, while pointing out that such testimony will jeaopardize Aloysius’s right for a fair trial.

Marapana PC also requested the commission to grant special immunity for Arjun Aloysius not to use evidence given before it to be used at other judicial procedures. “If you are hoping to call him as a witness, it is only

drawing from cases such as Sirisena Kure Vs Tissa Banadaranayake, R.D.Mel Vs Hanifa and Karunatilake Vs Ameen, Marapana PC showed instances where the accused was not compelled to testify before a court.

Applying the law on self-incrimination, Marapana PC pointed out that Aloysius “is unwilling to give evidence.”

Speaking on behalf of Aloysius, Marapana PC said “I prefer to remain silent. If I have to face a criminal procedure, I cannot incriminate myself in advance, which is a well established law.”

In answering to Marapana PC, Senior Additional Solicitor General Dappula de Livera insisted that summoning Arjun Aloysius to testify before the commission is of utmost importance since the Treasury Bond Commission is a fact finding commission. “Arjun Aloysius, in my submission, is a necessary and material witness,” he said.

Reasoning out his submission, SASG de Livera pointed out that the Presidential Commission of Inquiry investigating into the Treasury bond issue is only but an inquisitorial process and not an adversarial process. In such an inquisitorial process, Aloysius’s testimony as a witness is crucial to find out the truth behind the Treasury bond issue, he said.

Pointing out the differences in provisions in Commission of Inquiry law and Special Presidential Commission of Inquiry law, SASG de Livera said, the former is not adversarial as the latter. Treasury Bond Commission is falls under the Commission of Inquiry law.

According to the Commission of Inquiry law, no such person can be implicated to be a wrong doer, unlike a Special Presidential Commission of Inquiry which has provisions to specify or implicate, SASG de Livera explained.

SASG De Livera pointed out that a PCoI does not implicate anybody as a wrong-doer, which will be the same treatment to Arjun Aloysius. According to SASG Livera, all persons are liable to be summoned before the PCoI.

“This is a truth seeking process. The Section 07 of the Commission of Inquiry Act empowers the commission to procure and receive all such evidence written or oral by examining all persons necessary for the investigation.” SASG de Livera said.

Stressing the importance of Arjun Aloysius’s testimony, SASG De Livera said it is only through his evidence the commission will be able to identify the wrong doings caused by other parties involved in the Treasury bond issue, most importantly government institutions.

Drawing from recent evidence before the commission, SASG de Livera said the deleted call conversation between Kasun Palisena and Arjun Aloysius mentions certain powerful people in the Public Debt Department, the National Savings Bank and Employee’s Provident Fund, who may have acted as insiders for Aloysius.

“He is the one and only person who can give evidence as to who gave such information to him.” SASG de Livera pointed out. These facts in his knowledge make it compulsory that this commission must call Aloysius to testify. If the PCoI does not summon Aloysius to give evidence, it will be failing in its duty, warrant, mandate and national interest.” SASG De Livera said. The Presidential Commission of Inquiry to investigate into the Treasury bond issue was appointed considering national interest.

“President appointed this commission in the national interest. People of this country are awating the outcome of this commission.” SASG de Livera added.

SASG de Livera assured that the evidence recorded before the commission will only be used for the purposes of the commission itself. He also said that Attorney General will not consider any facts or material which falls under Section 14 of the Commission of inquiry Act if or when indicting such person.

“So my submission is that criminal law has no applicability to this inquisitorial process which is in search of the truth. All are equal before this commission. There is no question at all that this person will incriminate himself. The commission will only take evidence given by him to make recommendations,” SASG de Livera pointed out.

SASG de Livera went on to point out both Arjun Aloysius and Arjun Mahendran must testify before the commission. Mahendran’s counsel Chanaka de Silva rose to say that no such application similar to Aloysius has been done by his client. He objected mentioning Arjun Mahendran’s name in connection to the present submission made by Aloysius.

Commissioner Supreme Court Justice P.S. Jayawardena promptly asked de Silva will there be “such an application” in the near future from Arjun Mahendran, to which de Silve with a smile answered “I have not yet received such instructions from my client.”

Meanwhile, objecting to SASG de Livera Marapana PC said the Commission’s take on is not an inquisitorial process but a judicial process. Marapana PC said the fundamental rights of a witness should be protected at all costs.

Explaining the commission’s stance, Chairman K.T. Chitrasiri said the tribunal will consider all submissions made by respective parties and make the relevant order on the matter on Wednesday. (13)

Justice Jayawardena quoting from Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure said the commission is very well aware not to go beyond the rule of law. He said “It is excellent to have a giant’s strength, it is tyrannous to use it like a giant.”

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