By Colombo Telegraph –
Viraj Dayaratne, Deputy Solicitor General appearing for the Central Bank and Dr. Zafarullah, counsel appearing for aome depositors informed court that the government is now in the process of working out a repayment plan which is to be implemented soon.
The government did not step in to help the depositors for the past so many years despite the Central Bank having failed to properly regulate the deposit taking institutions of the Ceylinco group being a factor in the tragic collapse that saw many old and sick people lose all they had in savings. Several people died without means of treatment and some even committed suicide. Many others were unable to provide education to their children. Despite many appeals by such affected depositors, the Rajapaksa regime was unmoved until the controversial impeachment of Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake gave the depositors an opportunity to make themselves useful to the regime.
The Colombo Telegraph learns from reliable sources that the Rajapaksa regime entered into a secret pact with depositors’ associations that if they supported the regime by endorsing the controversial impeachment and demonstrating against Bandaranayake, they would be given relief. The desperate depositors jumped at the opportunity to get some relief.
However, several depositors expressed disgust at the fact that the government never showed genuine concern for their plight. “If the rulers didn’t want to oust Shirani Bandaranayake they would not have done anything for us”, said one depositor contacted by The Colombo Telegraph.”Is this democracy?” he questioned.
The Supreme Court presided over by de facto CJ Mohan Pieris directed for the case to be taken up on 02.04.2013 to consider the position. Pieris had earlier appeared in the case as Attorney General and on behalf of the Central Bank.
The cases were previously taken up after Pieris started exercising the functions of Chief Justice, before a bench which referred the cases to him, to decide on an appropriate bench to hear the matter.
Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake (now prevented from exercising her functions by the Rajapaksa regime after an impeachment process declared unconstitutional and void by rulings of the Supreme Court and Appeal Court) had taken over the hearing of the case from a bench presided over by Justice Shiranee Tilakawardane after many allegations that the Watawala Committee appointed by the court to facilitate repayments to depositors had been playing out the depositors and wrongfully alienating assets at much less than market value under cover of protection given by a Supreme Court directive that the Committee would be immune from liability. According to several legal experts contacted by The Colombo Telegraph, such immunity is controversial and not in keeping with the Rule of Law, since no-one should be above the law. Only the President they said is granted constitutional immunity from prosecution, and that too only while he holds office as President.
Anyhow, a large number of depositors now look forward to some promised relief.
Earlier, soon after the collapse of Golden Key, the directors of the Ceylinco group offered to work out a repayment plan. However, Mohan Pieris (then Attorney General) who appeared on behalf of the Central Bank in the Supreme Court, directed his subordinate State Counsel to make applications in cases filed in various Magistrate’s Courts against the directors, to have them remanded. This was done, and thereafter, Romesh De Silva, PC appearing for Ceylinco Group Chairman Lalith Kotelawela and Faisz Musthapha PC appearing for some other key directors told court that with the remanding of directors various factors spun out of control, making it impossible for the chairman and directors to work out a bailout plan.
In the meantime, The Colombo Telegraph is reliably informed that certain members of the Rajapaksa regime have been eyeing certain valuble assets of the Ceylinco Group.
In this situation, it remains to be seen as to how transparently Golden Key/Ceylinco assets are dealt with, and whether the depositors’ best interests are truly served as promised.