HC Trial-at-Bar acquits Gamini Senarath, two others | Daily News


Litro Gas money laundering case:

HC Trial-at-Bar acquits Gamini Senarath, two others

The Permanent High Court Trial-at-Bar set up to hear high-profile financial frauds and corruption cases yesterday delivered its first judgment acquitting and releasing former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Chief of Staff Gamini Sedara Senarath and two others over the Litro Gas case.

The Attorney General had filed indictments against three accused over the alleged illegal transfer of Rs.500 million from Litro Gas to Canwill Holdings Pvt Limited in February 2014.

The Permanent High Court-at-Bar ruled that the prosecution has failed to prove the accused’s guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Accordingly, the Trial-at-Bar bench comprising High Court Judges Sampath Abeykoon (President), Sampath Wijeratne and Champa Janaki Rajaratne ordered to the acquittal and release of Gamini Sedara Senarath, former Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation Managing Director Piyadasa Kudabalage and Lasantha Bandara from all 24 counts.

The accused had been charged under the Penal Code, the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and the Public Property Act over the offences of committing criminal breach of trust, criminal misappropriation, aiding and abetting and money laundering. The prosecution filed charges relating to the transfer of Rs. 500 million from Litro Gas to Canwill Holdings Pvt Limited.

According to the indictments, money had gone into the account of Helanco Hotels and Spa that had backed the proposed Hyatt hotel in Hambantota. The first installment of Rs 50 million had been transferred on February 14 while Rs 450 million was sent on February 19.

Delivering, a 283-page lengthy judgment, Trial-at-Bar bench observed that there was no sufficient evidence to prove that the transferred money had been misappropriated by the accused for personal use. The Trial-at-Bench also observed that the Rs.500 million of funds had been released with the approval of the Cabinet of Ministers and the board of directors of the relevant companies. The court observed that there was no any illegality of transferring Rs.500 million to Helanco Hotels and Spa from Canwill Holdings for the purpose of investing in the hotel industry in Hambantota.

The Trial-at-Bar bench also observed that there was no evidence to prove that the accused had acted in a dishonest manner to commit several offences including criminal breach of trust, misappropriation and offences under money laundering. Taking into consideration the evidence, the Trial-at-Bar bench held that the prosecution has failed to prove the accused was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

On a previous occasion, the Court ordered the acquittal from the case and release of third accused former Samurdhi Commissioner Neil Bandara Hapuwinna, owing to the lack of evidence that transpired against him during the prosecution evidence.

The Attorney General alleged that the accused had committed this offence between February 1, 2014 and January 20, 2015.

Deputy Solicitor General Thusith Mudalige appeared for the Attorney General. President’s Counsel Gamini Marapana, Anil Silva PC, Ali Sabry PC and Navin Marapana PC appeared for the defence.



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