Scam worth Millions at Maharagama Co-Op Society
Customers have alleged that over Rs.1,050 million deposited by 33,000 depositors in 11 rural banks belonging to Maharagama Multi Purpose Co-operative Society have been defrauded by its officials.
Out of these deposits, about Rs.25 million rupees have been disbursed as loans and the remaining Rs.800 million deposits are no longer available in the banks. Of the Rs.250 million rupees disbursed as loans, the loan period of Rs.170 million has expired. They allege that the officers of the society have also mortgaged the headquarters building and taken a loan amounting to over Rs.30 million.
have also mortgaged the headquarters building and taken a loan amounting to over Rs.30 million.
The depositors also allege that officials had taken a loan of Rs.79 million while keeping a Rs.70 million fixed deposit as security.
They request the authorities to investigate as to what happened to this money.
Devananda Suraweera, the convener of an organization representing distressed depositors said that authorities have not initiated legal action against loan defaulters and most of the loans have been issued to the friends and relatives of the officials.
Addressing the media recently he said “there are 33,000 depositors in these 11 banks. Among them, 2,783 people have taken loans. Out of this 2,420 loans have been defaulted. Only 360 members pay the loans. Hemasiri Premalal’s group and Nishantha Costa’s group who ruled for 18 years are responsible for this crime. Hemasiri Premalal was Chairman for eighteen years. Also, the Western Provincial Co-operative Commissioner should be directly responsible for this. He admitted in a discussion held on February 21 that Rs.2000 million have been misused through these banks. He also said that it is not possible to refund the deposits because of that”. A distressed depositor G.K.Premakanthi said:“My son went abroad and deposited money in the bank for seventeen years, but now they are not returning the money and we are in a deperate situation”.
Attorney Sunil Watagala said that these banks have 33,000 depositors and only 3,000 are active now. He said depositors have not been repaid even five cents in six months.
“We are taking legal action regarding this incident. We urge the police to intervene and immediately investigate and take necessary measures” he added.