Court grants permission to commence investigations on M/V Mahanuwara

Court grants permission to commence investigations on M/V Mahanuwara

Court grants permission to commence investigations on M/V Mahanuwara

Written by Staff Writer

22 Oct, 2015 | 12:34 pm

Court granted permission to commence investigations into M/V Mahanuwara – a vessel of Avant Garde which was found docked at the Galle Harbour in January this year, under the Money Laundering Act.

Permission was granted upon a request made by the Criminal Investigations Department to Galle Magistrate Nilupuli Lankapura. State Counsel Shanil Kularatne, appearing on behalf of the CID informed court that there was no sufficient evidence to file action against Avant Garde in terms of the Prevention of Terrorism Act, Explosives Ordinance and Firearms Ordinace.

The Attorneys-at-Law appearing on behalf of the Avant-Garde Security Services [Pvt] Ltd requested court to terminate proceedings.

However, the State Counsel representing the Attorney General objected to this application and stated that investigations are being carried out under the Money Laundering Act. The Magistrate, after considering the submissions made by both parties, ordered for further investigations to be carried out over Avant Garde under the Money Laundering Act and for further reports to be submitted on February 25, next year.

When this case was taken up on a previous occasion, an application was made to court on behalf of Avant Garde that the armoury contained on M/V Mahanuwara, be transfered to a different vessel as the vessel was in a deteriorated condition. Accordingly, court ordered the Registrar to direct the Ports Authority and the Southern Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy to enforce the order given by the Magistrate in this regard.

Speaking in Parliament yesterday, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe made a statement on Avant Garde.

Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe stated that in the letter dated September 18, 2012, the then Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development D.M.D. Jayarathne informed the chairman of Avant Garde that the Ministry of Defence had permitted to operate the floating armoury on international waters.

However, the Ministry of Defence is not in possession of the document that was given to anchor the floating armoury at the Galle Harbour. He went on to note that the only permit for the weapons were from the countries the weapons were issued from; the accepting and issuing of those weapons are to be done under the supervision of the SL Navy.

He added that the Ministry of Defence has not granted permission to issue any of the weapons from the floating armoury. In addition, the Ministry of Defence is not in the possession of the documents which detail the weapons nor the country of origin.

He went on to note that the Attorney General has not advised to withdraw the case nor to conclude the investigations. As clear instructions were provided to continue with the investigation, the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption will continue with the investigations over bribery allegations while the Police will continue with the investigations under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act No. 5 of 2006.

Therefore, it was pointed out, there is no requirement for another external investigation in this regard

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