The Colombo High Court today resumed recording evidence from the prosecution’s witnesses in a corruption case filed against two accused, including former North Central Province Chief Minister S.M. Ranjith Samarakoon.

The Bribery Commission had filed indictments before the Colombo High Court against former North Central Province Chief Minister S.M. Ranjith Samarakoon and his private secretary Shanthi Chandrasena, the spouse of former Minister S.M. Chandrasena, for allegedly causing an unlawful loss to the government when obtaining fuel allowance between September 27, 2012, and December 31, 2014. S.M. Ranjith Samarakoon is the brother of former Minister of Lands S.M. Chandrasena.

During the trial, the prosecution’s witness, chief accountant Rajakaruna, admitted that there was a resolution passed by the Provincial Council with regard to the fuel allowance of the Chief Minister. Senior Counsel Darshana Kuruppu informed the Chief Minister that he has not exceeded his fuel limit and that he owes more than what he has been paid. Defense Counsel further informed me that none of the circulars that the prosecution is going to rely on is applicable to the post of Chief Minister.

Taking into consideration the facts, High Court Judge Aditya Patabendige ordered the prosecution to obtain the relevant Provincial Council resolutions from the chief accountant and file a motion indicating the documents that the prosecution is going to rely on. The case is to be called again on May 22 for the prosecution to get the necessary documents.

The Director-General of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption filed indictments against S.M. Ranjith and his then-private secretary Shanthi Chandrasena under Section 70 of the Bribery Act on eight charges.

The Bribery Commission alleged that the first accused, S.M. Ranjith while serving as the North Central Province Chief Minister, had made arrangements to allocate a sum of Rs. 2.68 million to the official vehicle of his private secretary, Shanthi Chandrasena, despite the fact that her fuel allowance had been added to her salary.  The indictments had been filed under five counts under Section 70 of the Bribery Act and Sections 113 and 102 of the Penal Code.

The Assistant Director-General of the Bribery Commission, Asitha Anthony, appeared for the prosecution. A team of lawyers led by Senior Counsel Darshana Kuruppu appeared for the accused.


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