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Corruption case against Gota fixed for trial

 

A corruption case filed against former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and seven others for allegedly causing a Rs.11.4 billion unlawful loss to the government by giving permission to Avant-Garde Maritime Services (Pvt) Ltd to operate a floating armoury was fixed for trial by the Colombo Chief Magistrate's court, today.

Chief Magistrate Lal Ranasinghe Bandara fixed the case for trial on February 26 and March 26. 

Meanwhile, the Chief Magistrate decided to refuse preliminary objections raised by Gotabaya Rajapaksa citing that the Director General of Bribery Commission is vested with power to file cases in the Magistrate’s Court in accordance with the Bribery Commission Act.

The defence raised preliminary objections alleging that the Bribery Commission Director General had filed this case without the written sanction of the Bribery Commission.

Senior State Counsel Janaka Bandara appeared for the Bribery Commission.

President's Counsel Ali Sabry appeared for former Defence Secretary. 

When the matter came up before the Chief Magistrate, seven accused, former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, Avant Garde Chairman Major Nissanka Senadhipathi, former Navy Commanders Somatilleke Dissanayake, Jayanath Kolambage and Jayantha Perera, Rtd. Major General Palitha Piyasiri Fernando and Banda Adhikari were present in Courts.

The charge sheets comprising 19 counts were served on the accused before the Chief Magistrate.  

Meanwhile, the Chief Magistrate had at a previous occasion allowed to proceed the case in absentia of second accused Sujatha Damayanthi, former Additional Secretary to the Defence Ministry.

The Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption had filed this case against eight accused under Section 70 of the Bribery Act.

The Bribery Commission alleged that the accused had had given permission to Avant-Garde Maritime Services (Pvt) Ltd to operate a floating armoury between August 7, 2012 and January 8, 2015 in violation of laws by providing unlawful income to this private company, amounting to Rs.11.4 billion.