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* Supreme Court rejects Gotabhaya Rajapaksa's petition requesting to suspend hearing of misappropriation case
Wed, Sep 11, 2019, 08:01 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Sept 11, Colombo: Sri Lanka's Supreme Court Wednesday rejected a revision application and writ petition filed by former Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa requesting the nullification of an order given by the three-member Special High Court.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa has sought the Supreme Court to issue an order to void the verdict of the Permanent High Court at Bar and to suspend the hearing of the case on misappropriation of funds when constructing the D A Rajapakse memorial museum until the final decision on the petition is delivered.

In a split decision, the five-judge bench comprising justices Sisira de Abrew, Priyantha Jayawardena, Prasanna Jayawardena, Vijith Malalgoda and the LTB Dehideniya has rejected the petition filed by Rajapaksa.

The Chairman of the five-judge panel Justice Sisira de Abrew announced that the petition was rejected by the majority of judges without further consideration.

The Chairman of the panel stated that there is no reasonable legal basis to permit the petition to be heard.

President's Counsel Ali Sabry, appearing on behalf of the petitioner Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, said that there were two conspiracy charges against the defendants in the case and the manner in which the allegations were made was flawed. Ali Sabry also told the court that the allegations are vague.

The State's Additional Solicitor General, Viraj Dayaratne appearing for the Attorney General, has rejected the submissions by the defense that the manner in which the charges were filed in the relevant case is flawed.

State lawyer also stated that the defendant's argument that the allegations in the case are vague is baseless.

The State Additional Solicitor General further stated that the first charge of conspiracy in this case relates to all the seven accused in the case and since the charge sheet had specified the period underlying the conspiracy charge, there was no ambiguity.

After a lengthy deliberation, the Supreme Court Bench decided to refuse to grant permission to hear the petition with the consent of the majority of the five-judge panel.

The Attorney General filed charges against seven defendants including former Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, accusing him of misappropriating state funds amounting to nearly Rs. 34 million to construct the DA Rajapaksa Commemorative Museum at Weeraketiya in Medamulana.

The former Defense Secretary raised preliminary objections through his counsel that the Colombo Permanent High Court-at-Bar does not have jurisdiction to hear the D.A. Rajapaksa Museum case since the court, which was established under the Judicature (Amendment) Act, is only authorized to hear cases pertaining to serious economic and financial crimes, and as this case does not fall into the aforementioned category.

The Court of Appeal on 18 June 2019 rejected a revision application and writ petition filed by former Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa requesting the nullification of an order given by the three-member Special High Court.

In addition to Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, the other respondents in the case are former Chairman of the Land Reclamation and Development Corporation Prasad Harshana de Silva and members of the Board of Directors Bhadrawati Kamaladasa, Sudhammika Attygalle, Saman Kumara Galappathi, D. Mendis Saliya and Mallika Kumari Senadheera.

The seven accused had been charged under Section 5(1) of the Public Property Act and Section 388 of the Penal Code, the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and the Public Property Act.

 

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