Former president’s chief-of-staff files FR Petition seeking order to prevent arrest

Former president’s chief-of-staff files FR Petition seeking order to prevent arrest

Written by Staff Writer

03 Nov, 2017 | 8:33 pm

Former President’s Chief of Staff, Gamini Senarath, has filed a Fundamental Rights Petition at the Supreme Court, seeking an order preventing his arrest.

The Police Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) is on the search for three people, including Gamini Senarath, for the alleged misappropriation of public funds.

There is an ongoing investigation to arrest Gamini Senarath, ministry Secretary Neil Bandara Hapuhinna and a former head of Litro Gas, Piyadasa Kudabalage.

Recently, the FCID informed court that the trio were missing when they went in search of them to the addresses which were provided by them.

Court has already banned overseas travel for the trio.

On December 21, 2011, the Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation, Litro Gas Lanka and the Employees Provident Fund together formed Sino Lanka Hotels & Spa Private Limited to revive Ceylinco Leisure Properties Limited, which was taken over under the Revival of Underperforming Enterprises and Underutilized Assets Act.

Cabinet approval was granted for this venture.

The founding Directors of Sino Lanka Hotels & Spa Private Limited were Gamini Senarath, Neil Bandara Hapuhinna, Piyadasa Kudabalage and Mohan De Alwis.

The very next day after forming Sino Lanka Hotels & Spa Private Limited, the above four people formed another company by the name of Canwill Holdings Ltd – of which they were made directors as well.

These four individuals are also directors in a company that was formed recently by the name of Helanko Hotels & Spa.

The Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation, Litro Gas and the EPF are represented in Canwill Holdings Ltd under a number of conditions.

Police investigations revealed that Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation invested Rs. 8.5 billion, Litro Gas invested Rs. 5 billion and the EPF invested another Rs. 5 billion – a total of Rs. 18.5 billion in Canwill Holdings Ltd.

A condition imposed by the EPF in its investment was, until Canwill Holdings Ltd completes and hand over a hotel project, Helanko Hotels & Spa and the other companies cannot initiate any other hotel development projects.

However, on February 24, 2014, the Board of Directors of Canwill Holdings Ltd. decided to transfer Rs. 500 million to Helanko Hotels & Spa.Similarly on December 29, 2014, another Rs. 3.5 billion was transferred to Helanko Hotels & Spa.

Funds have been transferred to a bank account under the name of Helanko Hotels & Spa on three separate occasions even before obtaining approval through a circular issued by the Board of Directors.

Helanko Hotels & Spa thereafter launched the Hyatt Regency project in Hambantota at a cost of Rs. 312.2 million in direct violation of the investment conditions.

The Attorney General says, the former President’s Chief of Staff had committed a crime under the Public Property Act,adding that he had instructed the FCID to take appropriate action under the Code of Criminal Procedure Act.

The FCID presenting facts to court said they made the announcement to arrest Gamini Senarath, Neil Bandara Hapuhinna and Piyadasa Kudabalage, and to produce them in court after the Attorney General provided instructions.

It is in this backdrop that Gamini Senarath filed a petition with the Supreme Court seeking an order preventing his arrest.

In the Fundamental Rights Petition, Senarath has named the OIC of the Police FCID and the Attorney General as respondents.

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