AG appeals against bail for Bonds Scam suspects
By Hansi Nanayakkara
Attorney General Dappula de Livera yesterday (19) appealed to the Supreme Court (SC) against the High Court Trial-at-Bar granting bail to eight suspects, including former Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake, in the Central Bank Treasury Bonds scam case.
This was confirmed by AG’s Coordinating Secretary State Counsel Nishara Jayaratne.
Former Minister Karunanayake and seven others, who were arrested and remanded over two alleged bond scams in March 2016, were ordered to be released on bail by two Colombo High Court Trials-at-Bar on 1 April.
When the second alleged bond scam amounting to Rs36.98 million came up before the Court, a two-thirds split verdict was passed and the accused were ordered to be released on bail.
Accordingly, Colombo High Court Judges Damith Thotawatte and Mohamed Irshadeen granted bail to the accused, deciding that Article 450 (6) of the Criminal Procedure Code was no longer valid and that the Bail Act would be effective beyond Article 450 (6) of the Criminal Procedure Code.
The two Judges also ruled that the accused medical report on their illnesses could not be considered as exceptional or extenuating circumstances to enlarge them on bail, but they would take into account the AG’s failure to make submission against granting bail to accused in the first bond case filed in 2019.
Meanwhile, the Court ordered that the accused be released on bail, taking into account the fairness and complexity of the case.
Announcing his decision, High Court Judge Manjula Tillekeratne stated that the High Court has no jurisdiction to grant bail to an accused under Section 450 of the Criminal Procedure Code and that the High Court has no jurisdiction to disregard the Act.
Judge Tillekeratne also ruled that the Bail Act was not relevant to granting bail to the accused as they were charged under the Public Property Act and hence ordered to further remand them.
Accordingly, the accused were released on Rs 1 million cash bail each and two sureties in Rs 5 million each.