Controversy gets fresh airing in annual report
"We’ve broken no laws," says DCSL on Sampath Bank share purchase

The Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka Limited (DCSL) which has acquired 5% of the Sampath Bank in a controversial purchase over the last two years has accused "certain interested parties" of creating "unwarranted adverse publicity" about this investment, "defaming the company and its directors."

DCSL Chairman V. P. Vittachi said in the company’s annual report that some Sampath employees and shareholders have filed court cases in an attempt to deprive DCSL of its rights as shareholders of the bank.

"Although there are certain restrictions on exercising voting rights due to enjoining orders obtained by misrepresenting facts to court, all DCSL holdings of Sampath Bank have been registered and dividend has been paid," he said.

Vittachi also reported that as a result of their purchase of Sampath shares, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka (SEC) has determined that DCSL has acted in concert with several other parties in the purchase of these shares.

"We can confirm to the shareholders that your company has not violated any rules and laws governing the dealing with shares in the Colombo Stock Exchange. It is our belief that the determination made by the SEC is in contravention of the provisions in the Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka Act No. 367 of 1987 as amended by Act No. 26 of 1991," Vittachi said.

He accused some un-named persons with vested interests of orchestrating a disinformation campaign against DCSL during the period of the Sampath share purchase. The main purpose of this campaign appeared to mislead the general public which is not fully aware of the laws governing the transactions, he said.

Vittachi said that the company had opinions from several leading legal experts to confirm the view that it had not contravened sections of the Banking Act or the SEC Act as a result of its Sampath purchases.