Presidential Commission:Legal implications to be assessed over phone calls made to witness?

Presidential Commission:Legal implications to be assessed over phone calls made to witness?

Written by Keshala Dias

07 Jul, 2017 | 8:43 pm

The Presidential Commission of Inquiry has instructed the Attorney General’s Department to look in to the legal provisions in relation to a witness being contacted by certain parties before giving evidence.

The witness, Richard Aruna Benedict Dias said that after News1st reports on Pan Asia Banking Corporation acting as an intermediary in bond transaction aired last week, people at PABC, including himself, had several concerns.

These were relating to his own reputation and that of Pan Asia Banking Corporation.

On June 30, Arjun Aloysious, the owner of Perpetual Treasuries had telephoned the witness and pleaded to meet with him. This was a month after he had given a statement to the CID officers assisting the Commission.

The witness had thereafter, met with Arjun Aloysious and expressed his displeasure over the situation.

Richard Dias stated Arjun Aloysious has assured him that if he is forced to leave PABC, there will be an opening for him at Perpetual Treasuries Limited.

When asked why he visited Arjun Aloysious, the witness said he wanted to know if Nimal Perera, the former Chairman of PABC, had mentioned anything to Aloysious and he himself had many personal concerns. Aloysious had told him that the next two weeks would be crucial and Aloysious wanted his support – this was because they believed the Commission’s tenure would end in that time.

It was stated that in the following days, when the witness was involved in consultations with the Attorney General’s Department, Arjun Aloysious called him three times. However, the witness had ignored these calls.

On July 4, when the witness was leaving the Commission premises, he had received a call from his former Chairman, Nimal Perera.

Nimal Perera assured the witness that if he is to leave PABC there will be an opening for him at a firm owned by him.

The witness testifed that he believed both men had offered him jobs to prevent him from speaking the truth about the intermediary role played by PABC.

What is interesting to note is that most of these calls had not come through conventional lines but via instant messaging application ‘Whatsapp’.

The AG’s Department noted it was done because the service provider would not be able to record the conversations, and in order to avoid detection.

It came to light that after the bond auction on the 29th of March 2016, that PTL had issues surrounding the intra-day liquidity facility.

The witness, Richard Aruna Dias was called to the residence of then PABC Chairman Nimal Perera where, Arjun Aloysious and CEO of PTL Kasun Palisena were both present.

PTL had proposed for PABC to enter into a buy and sell transaction so that PTL could settle payments.

The witness noted that it was an unacceptable process and highlighted that it was massive risk that would have to be borne by PABC.

The witness had informed them that when he was asked to do something irregular by his previous employers, he tendered in his resignation.

The witness spoke on the loans granted to Country Kitchen Lanka (PVT) Ltd – manufacturers and exporters of confectionery products.

Two loans had been released by PABC, Rs. 15 million and Rs. 10 million for the construction of a four storey showroom premises of which the first two floors would be given to Royal Ceramics Lanka Plc.

The salient partner of Country Kitchen is listed as Saman Kumara, who is also a Senior officer of the EPF.

Royal Ceramics PLC at the time was under Nimal Perera.

Richard Aruna Benedict Dias testified that all intermediary transactions performed by PABC were upon the instructions of former PABC Chairman Nimal Perera and Arjun Aloysious.

He revealed that when PABC refused to follow the instruction at one particular occasion in 2016 Arjun Aloysious called the witness and spoke to him in a threatening manner.

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