Sept 03, Colombo: Three persons including former Minister Johnston Fernando who were accused of embezzling Rs. 5 million of funds of Sathosa during the last Northwestern Provincial Council elections have been remanded.
Kurunegala High Court Judge Menaka Wijesundera today remanded the three accused until the conclusion of the case.
The Judge, who noted in the Courts that the misuse of state funds in this manner is a serious matter, ordered to continue to hear the case.
The other two defendants who were remanded along with Former Minister Johnston Fernando are former Sathosa Chairman Nalin Fernando and the Fernando's Private Secretary Raj Mohamed Shakir.
The Attorney General has accused the defendant Johnston Fernando who was serving as the Internal and Trade Minister during the last Northwestern Council elections that were held in September 2013 had issued orders to the Yanthampalawa, Wehera and Mallawapitiya Sathosa Outlets to release a stock of goods worth 5.2 million rupees.
It was revealed in Courts that the former Minister had issued these orders through his personal phone to the Sathosa regional Managers to release these goods to the Johnston Fernando Foundation. It was also disclosed that these goods had been used for propaganda work on Johan Fernando, the son of former Minister Johnston Fernando.
After recording a statement from the former Minister in respect to these allegation, the Police Financial Crimes Investigation Division arrested him on 05th May 2015, while the Kurunegala High court released him on bail on May 28th.
Several elections monitoring Organizations including Transparency International had lodged complaints to the Elections Department that the former Minister Johnston Fernando in between the election propaganda of his son at the Provincial Council election had organized dansalas spending a colossal amount on alcohol and distribution of goods, the state TV reported.