SC suspended magisterial proceedings against former CJ Mohan Peiris

The Supreme Court yesterday issued an Interim Order preventing the Bribery Commission’s Director General from taking any further steps against former Chief Justice Mohan Peiris in the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court.

The Supreme Court three-judge-Bench comprising Justice Eva Wanasundara, Justice Nalin Perera and Justice Prasanna Jayawardena made this order pursuant to writ petition filed on behalf of former Chief Justice Mohan Peiris.

This order will be effective until the final determination of this petition.

On January 18, the Bribery Commission filed a corruption case in the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court against former Chief Justice and former Attorney General Mohan Peiris, Court of Appeal Judge A.H.M.D. Nawaz and former Secretary to the Ministry M. M. C. Ferdinando.

Taking into consideration the facts, Chief Magistrate Lal Ranasinghe Bandara had issued summons on the three accused to be present in Court on March 8.

This is over an allegation that they conferred a wrongful or unlawful benefit, and favour or advantage on the perpetrators who had been accused of misappropriating funds belonging to Lanka Electricity Company (Private) Limited (LECO).

President’s Counsel Gamini Marapana appearing for former Chief Justice said that upon perusal of the proceedings filed before the Magistrate’s Court, it was apparent that no offence in terms of the Bribery Act is disclosed against former Chief Justice since he just given a legal opinion in respect of the LECO transaction.

President’s Counsel J.C. Weliamuna appearing for a respondent party informed Court that the act committed by former Chief Justice while he was serving as the Attorney General is tantamount to a offence comes under section 70 of the Bribery Commission Act. He reiterated that fact that Supreme Court should not interfere with the magisterial inquiry. In his petition, former Chief Justice cited members of Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) including its Director General Sarath Jayamanna PC, Chairman T.B. Weerasuriya, CIABOC members Justice W.L.R. Silva and Neville Guruge and Colombo Chief Magistrate Lal Ranasinghe Bandara as respondents. Meanwhile, a writ petition filed on behalf of Court of Appeal Justice A.H.M.D. Nawaz, President’s Counsel M. A. Sumanthiran raised objections to take up the writ petition before Justcie Eva Wanasundara since she has served the post of Attorney General. Taking into consideration the facts, the Supreme Court decided to support this petition on March 7.

Gamini Marapana PC, Dr. Harsha Cabral PC, Nigel hatch PC, Naveen Marapana attorney-at-law, Nishan Premathiratne attorney-at-law on the instructions of attorney at law Indunil Bandara appeared for Mohan Peiris.

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