Temple Tree cheques during Presi Polls ’15: Court orders HNB to submit details

Colombo Chief Magistrate Ranga Dissanayake has once again ordered the Chairman of the Hatton National Bank (HNB) to supply the details regarding certain cheques, be provided to the Police Special Detection Bureau (PSDB) regarding offences committed under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, in the case where a sum of Rs 1,250 million has been encashed from several banks and given to a few officials at the Temple Trees and to certain others in the run up to the last Presidential Poll.

The Colombo Chief Magistrate gave this order to the HNB Chairman after the PSDB informed the Court that the HNB had refused to submit the said details as per a Court order given on 2 July.

The PSDB representing the prosecution told the Court that initial inquiries conducted into the incident had revealed that several persons had encashed the cheques and that a sum of Rs 1,398 million from 82 cheques had been encashed.

The PSDB told the Court that upon receiving advice from the Attorney General, an order had been obtained from the Court towards getting hold of information regarding the banks and that thus far only the HNB has refused to comply with the Court order.

The PSDB told the Court that the HNB had refused to comply on the proviso that the privacy of an individual could go unto a third party.

Colombo Chief Magistrate Dissanayake taking the submissions into consideration told the Court that not supplying necessary details regarding the case could hinder its investigations and that he was ordering the HNB Chairman to comply with the request of the PSDB.

The PSDB told the Court that it had begun inquiries into the case following a complaint lodged by Sarath Dissanayake, a resident of Piliyandala on 9 May 2016.

As per the complaint, Former Head of the President’s Staff Gamini Senerath, from the money given to him by Sarath Dissanayake in December of 2014 at the Temple Trees, had in turn given money to Sugath Lokumudalige who had in turn purchased 18 FMA Cabs, and that from the business run by Lokumudalige he had attempted to portray that the vehicles had been ordered by Lokumudalige.

The complaint states that after the purchase and the end of the 2015 Presidential Poll, out of the 18 Cabs, 17 had been sold and money had been obtained.

The complaint states that Senerath after receiving the cheques had gone with Lokumudalige before enchashing cheques valued at Rs 200 million from banks such as the Bank of Ceylon, HSBC, HNB, Commercial, Sampath and People’s.

The PSDB told the Court that an investigation was being conducted into the case as offences had been committed based on the aforementioned Act, Sections 386 and 389 of the Penal Code and that the passports of Senerath, Lokumudalige and four others have been impounded by the Court since 17 May, 2016.