HC issues arrest warrant on Cecille K’wela

Golden Key Case

By A.J.A.Abeynayake

Colombo High Court Judge Deepali Wijesundera yesterday issued a warrant for the arrest of Cecille Kotelawela, Director of Golden Key Ltd. and the Ceylinco Group of Companies.

Cecille Kotelawela is accused of criminal breach of trust and misappropriation of funds to the tune of Rs 7,200 million deposited in the Golden Key Ltd.

Earlier, the High Court ordered summons to be served on Kavan Micheal Perera, Saradha Sumanasekra, Suramya Saranatha Karunaratne, Jude Leonard Neranjan Fernando, Lalith Kotelawela, Cecille Priyakanthi Koteleawela, Padmini Karunayake, Punyasgantha Ranatunge and Witharanage Dharmasiri.

When the case was taken up yesterday, eight of those on whom summons were served were present in Court, except the sixth accused Cecille Kotelawela who has fled the country to an unknown destination.

Of the eight accused seven (except Suramya Sranatha Karunaratne, third accused) were ordered to be released on Rs five million each surety bail while Karunaratne had been released on bail by the Mgistrate’s Court on an earlier occasion.

The judge ordered the police to take finger prints of the accused and submit a report, if any punishable offences were committed by them according to the penal code of the country.

The Court also ordered the accused to surrender their passports or if the passports have been surrendered to any other Court to inform of it.

The Court yesterday filed indictments on the eight accused and fixed the next hearing for November 17.

Defence attorneys told Court that all the accused had either deposited five million rupees or Rs 10 million in the Supreme Court to obtain bail where the same case is concerned.

The attorneys told the Judge that the accused in this case had been earlier released by the Supreme Court on certified bail in Rs 100 million and hence not to order any monies to be deposited in Court to grant bail for them.

The counsel appearing for the third accused told Court that his client has been released in Rs 100 million cash bail by the Mount Lavinia Magistrate’s Court and requested the Court not to order any monies to be deposited for his client who was on bail.

On a plea made by the Defence Counsel that the eight accused, on an order of the Supreme Court, have made arrangements to pay back the monies owed to the depositors of the Golden Key Ltd. and if they are ordered to deposit cash to be released on bail, the prior arrangement made to bring relief to the depositors by the accused by paying back the monies owed to them would not be fulfilled as they don’t have any more money.

"Eventually they would have to be imprisoned as a result," the Defecne Counsels told the Court.

Counsel for the prosecution, Damith Totawatte, objected to the plea made by the Defence claiming that they were separate cases.

But he said that he wouldn’t mind the Court using its discretion.

Counsel for the prosecution told the Court that sixth accused Cecille Kotelawala had not been present in Court since the first hearing of the case.

He requested court to grant permission to proceed with the case in her absence under the provisions of section 241 of Criminal Procedure Code. The Court granted permission.

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