Bribery charges: Ratwatte cleared
Colombo High Court Judge Deepali Wijesundera yesterday freed former
Deputy Defence Minister General Anuruddha Ratwatte of bribery charges
levelled against him by the Commission Investigating Bribery or
The Commission indicted Ratwatte with amassing properties worth over
Rs.46 million and deposits worth Rs.35 million which could not have been
accumulated through his declared assets.
The Court after considering the objections by Defence Counsel Rienzie
Arsakularatne following the cross examination of 25 prosecution
witnesses decided that it had no jurisdiction to proceed with the case.
The High Court Judge in her judgement says the Commission had not
apprised the Court that the clarification by the accused in reply to the
notice issued by the Commission has not been rejected and Commission has
failed to append the relevant document with the indictment. Evidence to
this effect has not been furnished before the court.
The Defence Counsel in raising preliminary objections stated that as
per the 23rd clause of the Bribery Act Court had no jurisdiction to
proceed with the case.
Counsel appearing for the Commission stated it rejected the accused’s
response and therefore it did not append it with the indictment.
The Defence counsel stated he expected evidence or a document will
come up during the cross examination of prosecution witnesses to this
He stated this has attributed him to raise preliminary objections
after the cross examination of complainants is over.
The counsel for accused in his objections stated the Commission had
failed to explain the charges against the accused though he had sent his
reply to the commission. He stated his client did not have enough time
to file his objections.
The Commission had not fulfilled the basic criteria in filing
indictments against the accused and therefore the accused cannot be made
guilty, the Counsel said.