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CA stays Avant-Garde corruption case against Gota

The Court of Appeal yesterday issued an Interim Order staying the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court proceedings pertaining to the Avant-Garde corruption case filed against former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

This order will be effective until the final determination of this revision application.

Court of Appeal Justices Achala Wengappuli and Arjuna Obeysekara made this order pursuant to a revision application filed by former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

The Bribery Commission had filed a corruption case against former Defence Secretary 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 to operate a floating armoury.

The Court of Appeal observed that the Colombo High Court Judge had interpreted a non existing section of the Bribery Commission when he delivered an order regarding the revision petition filed by Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

The matter was fixed for argument on September 28 and October 2. The Bribery Commission was directed to file objections on July 26.

Through this petition Gotabhaya Rajapaksa is also challenging Colombo Chief Magistrate’s decision to refuse preliminary objections raised by Gotabhaya Rajapaksa regarding the Avant-Garde corruption case.

In his revision petition, Gotabaya Rajapaksa has challenged Chief Magistrate’s decision to refuse preliminary objections raised by him and Chief Magistrate’s decision to fix the matter for trial.

At a previous occasion, the Colombo High Court had also turned down a request made by Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and seven others that they be released from a corruption case filed by the Bribery Commission over Avant-Garde incident. Rajapaksa is also seeking an order to set-aside the Colombo High Court’s order dated February 2, 2018.

The Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption had filed this case against eight accused including Gotabaya Rajapaksa under Section 70 of the Bribery Act.

The Bribery Commission alleged that the accused had had given permission to Avant-Garde Maritime Services (Pvt) Ltd 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.

President’s Counsel Romesh de Silva under the instructions of counsel Sanath Wijewardena appeared for the petitioner.

Senior State Counsel Janaka Bandara appeared for the Bribery Commission.