Presiding HC Judge changed

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Colombo High Court Judge Damith Thotawatta, on Friday (24) ordered the case against four former Customs Directors, who were charged with soliciting a bribe of Rs 125 million, to be convened before High Court Judge Namal Balalle.

The case had previously been taken up before Judge Amal Ranaraja, but the fourth accused had raised objections at the previous hearing, saying that he has no confidence of justice being meted out to him, by allowing the case to be convened before the said Judge.

Hence Judge Ranaraja stated that he has no intention of further presiding over the trial, if any of the accused, have no trust on his ability to hear the case impartially and he promptly withdrew from the hearing.

Later the case was referred to the Chief Judge of the High Court, to decide on a suitable Judge to preside over the trial, on 23 June.

Accordingly the case is now slated to be convened before Judge Namal Balalle. The Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) has indicted three accused before the High Court, over the solicitation of a bribe amounting to Rs. 125 million, towards the release of motor spare parts valued at Rs 1,500 million ,imported to the country by a businessman from Panchikawatta, on concessionary rate, from 22 June to 15 October seven years ago.   

By Hansi Nanayakkara