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Suspects overseas: Bond Scam Case to proceed in absentia

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The Attorney General yesterday requested the Colombo High Court Trial-at-Bar to proceed the case in absentia of Former Central Bank Governor Arjun Mahendran and Perpetual Treasuries Former Director Ajahn Gardiye Punchihewa in connection with the frauds that took place at the third Bond auction held on March 31, 2015.

The case was yesterday taken up before the Colombo High Court Trial-at-Bar bench comprising Colombo High Court Judges Champa Janaki Rajaratne, Damith Thotawatta and Namal Balalle.

Additional Solicitor General Priyantha Navana appearing on behalf of the Attorney General told  the court that the Attorney General’s Department was working with the Attorney General of Singapore to bring the first accused Arjun Mahendran in the case to Sri Lanka under the extradition law as he is still in hiding in Singapore. He requested the court to allow him to conduct testimony to commence the trial in the absence of the accused as the extradition process would take considerable time to complete.

The Additional Solicitor General stated that Ajahan G. Punchihewa, who has been named as the 10th accused in the case, is currently residing in Malaysia and it was practically impossible to bring the accused back to Sri Lanka under the extradition law and informed the court that he hoped to conduct evidence to continue the case in the absence of the accused.

Considering the circumstance, the Colombo High Court Trial-at-Bar ordered the prosecution to inform the Court through a motion if there is any progress in the extradition process to bring the accused Arjun Mahendran to this country and to take steps to conduct the necessary evidence to continue the trial without the two accused on the next hearing.

The case will be taken up again on December 03.

The Attorney General has filed indictments against ten accused including former Central Bank Governor Arjun Mahendran and former Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake before the Colombo High Court Trial-at-Bar under the Public Property Act, alleging that they caused a loss of over Rs.688 million at a bond auction held by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka on February 27, 2015.

The indictments were filed against ten accused in the Colombo High Court by the Attorney General. They are; Perpetual Treasuries Private Ltd, former Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayke, CBSL former Governor Arjuna Mahendran, Perpetual Treasuries Limited (PTL) beneficiary owner Arjun Aloysius, PTL Chief dealer Kasun Palisena, Chairman of PTL Jeffrey Joseph Aloysius, Chitta Ranjan Hulugalle, Muthuraja Surendran, Ajahn Gardiye Punchihewa, Badugoda Hewa Indika Saman Kumara.

The Attorney General alleged that the Perpetual Treasuries Limited had used the Central Bank’s important undisclosed information to artificially alter the final outcome of the Treasury Bond auction, as it has had a huge impact on the overall national economy as a result of the subtle and systematic conduct of the offenses related to this fraud and has caused injustice to other primary sellers in the bond market and the PTL has acted cunningly and made a huge profit and conspired to cause a huge loss to the Government.

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