The process of paying back depositors of the failed Golden Key Credit Card Company will begin after the certified Supreme Court order on the repayment plan is received by the Central Bank, a senior official said.
"The Golden Key case made headline news last week", he noted, referring to the Supreme Court directive to seize Rs. 259 million from six bank accounts of Mrs. Sicille Kotelawala, who is still not in custody.
"But, we need the official documents on the court order to go ahead with the repayments", the official explain. "When they are in place, depositors can expect some relief".
The repayment plan submitted by the Attorney General was accepted by the three-member Supreme Court Bench headed by Justice Shiranee Tilakawardane and comprising Justices K. Sripavan and P. A. Ratnayake.
In terms of the formula worked out, depositors who had invested up to one million rupees will receive 75% of their deposits within a three-month time-frame while those who had deposited up to two million rupees will be paid within six months. The others will be repaid within a year.
There are 2,995 investors who had deposited one million rupees or less and 5,540 who had placed deposits between one million and ten million rupees, according to available information.
Ordering the seizure of Mrs. Kotelawala’s funds deposited at Seylan Bank, HSBC, Ceylinco PLC, Standard Chartered Bank, Citizens Development Bank (a Ceylinco associate company) and People’s Bank, the Supreme Court also directed the Attorney General to submit the list of properties and assets of all Directors, present and past, as well as Chief Executive, owners and agents of Golden Key for further order.
Court also ordered that all assets converted directly or indirectly including those of any subsidiary company be included in the list.
The properties and assets identified and listed can be seized and be disposed of on a judicial order to repay depositors in terms of the law, the official said.
A deputy director was also appointed last week to the Golden Key Secretariat set up in the Central Bank headed by P. K. R. Karunaratne as its Chief Operating Officer, to expedite the repayment process.
"We will have to start selling assets to realize liquid cash to settle depositors within the timeframe given by the Supreme Court", he noted.
"This has to be done expeditious with the sanction of the Supreme Court as we need the hard cash", he explained. "Depositors have been denied their investments and interest for eleven months".
Ceylinco Consolidated Chairman Lalith Kotelawala and other directors are on remand for the past nine months in connection with this scam.
The case will come up for hearing again before the Supreme Court on October 23.
Lalith Kotelawala, other Golden Key directors further remanded
Mt. Lavinia Chief Magistrate Harsha Sethunga ordered Ceylinco Chairman Lalith Kotelawala, Kavan Perera, Saradha Sumanasekera, Suramya Karunanayake, Niranjan Fernando, Padmini Karunanayake, Bandula Ranaweera, Manoj Chaminda and Padmini Nandani Kumari to be further remanded till October 29, when the Golden Key was taken up last Friday.
The Chief Magistrate directed the CID to record the statements of witnesses and investigate threats leveled against them. He ordered a report to be submitted to court at the next hearing.
State Counsel Damith Totawatte said the auditing of around 2,000 deposits has already been done and the process will be completed in the near future despite the lack of cooperation of some Golden Key employees.
He said that he intends to bring such employees before court.
Suspect Manoj Chaminda made a two and a half hour confidential statement to court.