JOHNSTON’S BAIL APPLICATION REFUSED

A revision application filed by former Minister Johnston Fernando seeking an interim order to release him on bail was yesterday refused by Court of Appeal.

Johnston Fernando remanded in connection with the misappropriation of Rs. 5.2 million in public funds had filed a revision application in the Court of Appeal challenging the Kurunegala High Court’s order to remand him until the conclusion of the trial.

The Court of Appeal two-judge-bench Bench comprising Justice Janak de Silva and Justice Achala Wengappuli refused this application since it did not notice any justifiable reason to set aside the High Court order.

Senior State Counsel Naomi Wickremasekara appearing for the Attorney General had raised objections to the revision application citing that there was no illegality in the order issued by the Kurunegala High Court.

SSC Wickremasekara further submitted to court that the High Court Judge made this order for the purpose of expediting the trial after being heard on a day-to-day basis and the accused will be allowed to attend the Parliament sessions. She further argued that the Bail Act does not apply for offences committed under the Public Property Act.

However, President’s Counsel Romesh de Silva appearing for Johnston Fernando told court that the High Court Judge made an order to remand the accused without a legal basis. He contended that alleged misappropriation of funds at Lak Sathosa institution cannot be considered as an offence which comes under Public Property Act.

On September 3, the Kurunegala High Court issued an order to remand former Minister Johnston Fernando, former Lak Sathosa Chairman K.M.Fernando and the former Minister’s Private Secretary Raj Mohideen Mohamod Sakeer, until the conclusion of the trial.

The Attorney General alleged that Johnston Fernando as then Minister in charge of the Cooperative Wholesale Establishment (CWE) had allegedly ordered that goods worth over Rs. 5.2 million be released from three CWE warehouses in Yanthampalawa, Wehera and Mallawapitiya in the Kurunegala District during the North Western Provincial Council Election in September 2013. 

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