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* Legality of charges against defendants of Avant Garde case challenged
Mon, Feb 13, 2017, 10:31 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Feb 13, Colombo: An objection, challenging the legality of the charges laid against defendants of Avant Garde case including former Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, was filed with the Colombo Magistrate's Court today when it was taken up for hearing .

The Defense Counsel Romesh de Silva PC argued in court today that the Bribery Commission, which filed the charges against the seven defendants, according to the terms of the Bribery Act should have presented a written approval to the court before filing the charges.

The Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption on September 01, 2016 filed charges at the Colombo Magistrate's Court against Chairman of controversial Avant Garde Maritime Services (Pvt) Ltd Nissanka Senadhipathi and seven others including the former Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and three former navy commanders Somathilaka Dissanayake, Jayanath Colombage and Jayantha Perera.

The suspects, who were arrested and subsequently released on bail in September last year, are charged with soliciting a bribe of 35.5 million rupees.

The senior State Counsel Janaka Bandara told the court that a written approval is not required for the Commission to file charges according to the Section 11, No.19 of the 1994 Bribery Act.

Colombo Chief Magistrate Lal Ranasinghe Bandara tallowed the defense counsel to file preliminary objections on March 15 in the case.


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