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Witness says Karunajeewa gave Rs. 30 MN cheque to be encashed

Rohan Abey Iriyagolla yesterday told Colombo High Court that Indika Karunajeewa, a companion of Namal Rajapaksa gave him a cheque worth Rs. 30 million to be encashed and deposited in a bank account of Iriyagolla’s company.

Witness Iriyagolla was testifying in a case filed against Parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa and five others under the Money Laundering Act.

Rohan Abey Iriyagolla, the chairman of Boston Capital Pvt Ltd made this revelation when the case against Namal Rajapaksa and five others for their alleged involvement in laundering money amounting to Rs.30 million through Gowers Corporate Services was taken up for trial yesterday.

The witness said a cheque (worth Rs.30 million) issued by Hovael Construction (Pvt) Ltd was given to him through Indika Karunajeewa of Gowers Corporate Services for encashment. In reply to a query made by Deputy Solicitor General Thusith Mudalige, the witness said he did not refuse to encash the cheque since Indika Karunajeewa had close relations with high-ranking persons during the previous regime.“I got to know Namal Rajapaksa through businessman Nimal Perera. I have met him and spoke to him over business activities,” the witness said.

The witness said a sum of Rs.24 million out of Rs.30 million was deposited in a Bank account belonging to Boston Capital following the encashment. The remaining Rs.6 million was given to Boston Capital to recover its office expenses. Iriyagolla said Gowers Corporate Services had sent five invoices on several occasions requesting to make payments for handling the construction works regarding a 100 GW of wind power milestone in Mannar.

However, the witness said neither his company nor the Gowers Corporate Services really engaged in any business activity regarding wind power milestone.

Further trial was fixed for May 30 by Colombo High Court Judge Sampath Abeykoon.

Four accused Namal Rajapaksa, the eldest son of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Nithya Senani Samaranayake, Sujani Bogollagama and Iresha Silva who functioned as the directors of Gowers Corporation Pvt Ltd director were present in court when the case was taken up before Colombo High Court.

However, the second accused Indika Karunajeewa was not present in Court but represented by attorneys. At a previous occasion, the High Court permitted the prosecution to proceed the trial in the absentia of second and sixth accused in the case in terms of section 241 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

The Colombo High Court had served indictments earlier, on three accused regarding this money laundering case.

The Attorney General had filed indictments against Namal Rajapaksa, Indika Karunajeewa, Sujani Bogollagama, Iresha Silva, Nithya Senani Samaranayake and Gowers Corporate Services (Pvt) Limited on 11 counts under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act for their alleged involvement in money laundering amounting to Rs.30 million in a company (Gowers Corporate Services (Pvt) Limited) owned by Namal Rajapaksa between 2013 and 2014.

It was reported that Gowers Corporate Services of Colombo 5, is providing coordinating services to Sri Lankan Airlines. The FCID had initiated investigations into this matter following a complaint by Voice Against Corruption Convener Wasantha Samarasinghe.

Samarasinghe alleged that MP Namal Rajapaksa had bought shares of a company named Hello Corp and set up a company called Gowers Corporate Services while being an MP from the Rs.125 million earned through illegal means. Deputy Solicitor General Thusith Mudalige appeared for the Attorney General.

President’s Counsel Jayantha Weerasinghe appeared for Namal Rajapaksa. President’s Counsel Anil de Silva appeared for the third accused.

Counsel Sampath Mendis appearing for the second and fourth accused.