The Supreme Court yesterday refused to grant leave to proceed with a Fundamental Rights petition filed on behalf of former Ambassador to Russia Udayanga Weeratunga.
He is seeking an Interim Order to recall the warrant issued for his arrest by the Colombo Fort Magistrate.
The Supreme Court three-judge-Bench comprising Justice Buwaneka Aluvihare, Justice Sisira de Abrew and Justice Nalin Perera refused to grant leave to proceed with the petition and dismissed the petition in limine after taking into consideration the facts presented by both petitioner and respondent parties.
Udayanga Weeratunga had also challenged the freezing of his 16 bank accounts by the Financial Intelligence Unit in Sri Lanka, containing USD 2.5 million, auctioning his consignment of goods brought down by the Port Authorities since he failed to pay demmorages.
On October 20 last year, the Colombo Fort Magistrate had issued a warrant written in English through the Interpol for the arrest of Udayanga Weeratunga, a first cousin of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa over alleged financial fraud that is alleged to have taken place in procuring seven MiG-27 ground attack crafts for the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF).
Udayanga Weeratunga had filed this petition through his mother-in-law Latha Indrani, the power of attorney holder of the petitioner.
In his petition, Udayanga Weeratunga stated that he is currently residing in Mekhanizatoriv Street Kyiv, Ukraine.
The petitioner further sought an Interim Order restraining the Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit of the Central Bank from suspending the petitioner’s bank accounts and continuing to suspend the bank accounts.
The petitioner stated that the seventh respondent, a Chief Inspector of the FCID had moved Magistrate’s Court for a warrant for the arrest of the petitioner. The petitioner sought a declaration from the Court that the Chief Inspector infringed the petitioner’s Fundamental Rights guaranteed in terms of Articles 11, 12(1) and 13 of the constitution.
The petitioner further said the Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit of the Central Bank has infringed his Fundamental Rights guaranteed in the Constitution by the purported decision to suspend and suspension of debit transaction of the bank accounts of the petitioner in contravention of the provisions of the Financial Transaction Reporting Act No. 6 of 2006.
In his complaint to the FCID, journalist Iqbal Athas stated that he had written several articles regarding the financial irregularities that had taken place in procuring four Mig-27 aircraft at a higher price.
He told the police that these ground attack aircraft had been manufactured between 1980 and 1983. He said financial irregularities had taken place during the transaction between Sri Lank and Ukraine.
President’s Counsel Manohara de Silva appeared for the petitioner. Additional Solicitor General Yasantha Kodagoda appeared for the Attorney General.