HC dismisses case against Johnston | Daily News

HC dismisses case against Johnston

UPDATE: The Colombo High Court yesterday dismissed the case and ordered to release Minister Johnston Fernando from a corruption case filed by the Bribery Commission.

The case was taken up before the High Court Judge Adithya Patabendige and he observed that the manner in which the case was filed against Minister Johnston Fernando in the Magistrate’s Court was unlawful and ordered to release Minister Fernando from the case.

The case was filed by the Bribery Commission under Section 70 of the Bribery Act, during the period of the former Director General of Bribery Commission Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe against Minister Johnston Fernando, allegedly causing a Rs.40 million unlawful loss to the government by employing 153 employees of the Cooperative Wholesale Establishment (CWE) for election work during the period 2010 to 2014, while he was serving as the Cooperative and Internal Trade Minister.

At a previous occasion, a revision application filed by Minister Johnston Fernando challenging a Chief Magistrate’s Court order that the Magistrate’s Court has decided to continue the case even though his lawyers have filed a preliminary objection stating that the manner in which the case has been filed is illegal.

In his petition, the Minister said that the Bribery Commission filed a case against him in the Colombo Magistrate’s Court alleging that the government had incurred a loss of Rs.40 million by employing 153 employees of the CWE.

In this case, the Counsel for Johnston Fernando raised a preliminary objection to the effect that in any event the prosecution cannot maintain the case as they had failed to comply with the mandatory provisions of Law required under the law. It was contended that the Former DG had filed the action maliciously and without obtaining a mandatory direction under Section 11 of the Bribery Act. Under this provision the Director General cannot institute an action without the three Commissioners approving a prosecution. It was further contended that when a prosecution is initiated in a Magistrate Court it was mandatory to obtain the sanction of the Commission and that the former DG Bribery had filed this action without such sanction.

Minister Johnston Fernando has asked the Colombo High Court to declare the decision of the Magistrate’s Court illegal and acquit him of the charges.

President’s Counsel Kalinga Indatissa with Samantha Premachandra, Kalpana Indatissa and Razana Salih appeared for Petitioner Minister Johnston Fernando.

Deputy Director General Ganga Heiyanthuduwa appeared on behalf of the Bribery Commission.


Court dismisses Bribery Commission’s case against Johnston-Time: 15:07

The Bribery Commission's case against Minister of Highways and Chief Government Whip Johnston Fernando was dismissed by the Colombo High Court.

The case is over allegedly causing an unlawful loss of Rs. 40 million to the government by employing 153 employees of the Cooperative Wholesale Establishment for election work between 2010 and 2014.