Avant-Garde case removed from trial list | Daily News

Avant-Garde case removed from trial list

Court proceedings to resume on October 30

A corruption case filed against former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and seven others for allegedly causing an unlawful loss of Rs.11.4 billion to the government when granting permission to Avant-Garde Maritime Services (Pvt) Ltd to operate a floating armoury, was removed from the trial list by the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court, yesterday.

Chief Magistrate Ranga Dissanayake was informed that the Court of Appeal had issued an Interim Order staying the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court proceedings pertaining to the case until October 3. Therefore, the Chief Magistrate fixed the matter for October 30 as a calling date. The witnesses of the case were advised to appear before Court upon receiving notices.

First accused Gotabhaya Rajapaksa had filed a revision petition in the Court of Appeal, challenging the Chief Magistrate’s Court and Colombo High Court’s decision to refuse preliminary objections raised by him.

The Court of Appeal issued an Interim Order on July 4 after observing that the High Court had interpreted a non-existing section of the Bribery Commission when it delivered an order regarding the revision petition.

When the matter came up before the Chief Magistrate, the eight accused; former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, Avant-Garde Chairman Major Nissanka Senadhipathi, former Navy Commanders Somatilleke Dissanayake, Jayanath Kolambage and Jayantha Perera, Rtd. Major General Palitha Piyasiri Fernando and Banda Adhikari; were present in courts. The charge sheets comprising 19 counts had been served on the accused. Meanwhile, the court, on a previous occasion, had allowed to proceed the case in absentia of second accused Defence Ministry former Additional Secretary Sujatha Damayanthi.

The Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption had filed the case against eight accused under Section 70 of the Bribery Act.

The Bribery Commission alleged that the accused had had granted permission to Avant-Garde Maritime Services (Pvt) Ltd to operate a floating armoury between August 7, 2012 and January 8, 2015, in violation of laws by providing unlawful income to the company.

Senior State Counsel Janaka Bandara appeared for the Bribery Commission. President’s Counsel Ali Sabry with Shavindra Fernando PC, counsel Asoka Weerasuriya and Sampath Mendis appeared for the accused. 


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