The Colombo Chief Magistrate's Court yesterday fixed date for order regarding the preliminary objection raised by former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and seven others over Avant-Garde corruption case.
Accordingly, the corruption case filed by Bribery Commission against Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and seven others for allegedly causing a Rs.11.4 billion unlawful loss to the government when giving permission to Avant-Garde Maritime Services (Pvt.) Limited to operate a floating armoury was yesterday fixed for November 17.
When the matter came up before the Colombo Additional Magistrate, counsel appeared on behalf of the accused filed their written submissions. The Bribery Commission was directed to submit its written submissions yesterday itself.
The defence had raised a preliminary objections alleging that the Bribery Commission Director General had filed this case without the written sanction of the Bribery Commission. The defence moved Court that case proceeding pertaining to the matter be terminated since the case had been filed without the consent of the Bribery Commission. The Defence Counsel further moved Court that the notices issued against the accused be recalled since the notices were gone injuria (unlawfully).
Senior State Counsel Janaka Bandara appearing on behalf of the Bribery Commission informed Court that the Bribery Commission had given its consent to this legal action. He said the Director General of Bribery Commission is vested with power to file cases in the Magistrate’s Court in accordance with the Bribery Commission Act and a judgement issued by the Court of Appeal.
When the matter came up before court, seven accused, former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, Avant Garde Chairman Major Nissanka Senadhipathi, former Navy Commanders Somatilleke Dissanayake, Jayanath Kolambage and Jayantha Perera, Rtd. Major General Palitha Piyasiri Fernando and Banda Adhikari were present in Courts.
The court had at a previous occasion allowed to proceed the case in absentia of second accused Sujatha Damayanthi, former Additional Secretary to the Defence Ministry.
The Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption had filed this case against eight accused under Section 70 of the Bribery Act.
The Bribery Commission alleged that the accused had had given permission to Avant-Garde Maritime Services (Pvt) Limited to operate a floating armoury between August 7, 2012 and January 8, 2015 in violation of laws by providing unlawful income to this private company, amounting to Rs.11.4 billion.