Three Former Directors Arrested
By Hansi Nanayakkara
The CID arrested three former directors of ETI Finance and Swarnamahal Jewellers on the Attorney General’s orders.
Last evening, Attorney General Dappula de Livera directed IGP Chandana Wickremaratne to launch a criminal investigation against the former Directors of ETI Finance and Swarnamahal Jewellers, the AG’s Coordinating Secretary, State Counsel Nishara Jayaratne said.
In less than two hours, former directors of Swarnamahal Jewellers Ltd., Jeewaka Hemal Edirisinghe, Anjalee Deepa Edirisinghe and Asanka Srimal Edirisinghe were arrested for running an unauthorised finance business. However, of the four directors, Nalaka Premal Edirisinghe had not been taken into custody by late night.
Jayaratne said, the AG will also file indictments against the Directors of the two aforesaid institutions before the Colombo High Court.
She observed that the AG has noted that the actions of the Directors of the ETI Finance and Swarnamahal Jewellers had flouted provisions contained in Sections of the Financial Crimes Act No.41 of 2011.
The State Counsel remarked that her boss would thus institute necessary action against the deceased Chairperson of ETI Finance Soma Edirisinghe and her family members namely Jeewaka Edirisinghe, Deepa Edirisinghe, Nalaka Edirisinghe and Asanka Edirisinghe, based on recommendations of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry which was formed to probe financial irregularities of the said firms.
The AG had given instructions to the IGP in writing on 23 October last year over the unlawful possession of a sum of Rs 6.8 billion through undisclosed accounts to the Central Bank by the ETI Finance.
The AG in his letter to the IGP had mentioned that the institution Swarnamahal Jewellers had not been duly registered with the Central Bank.
De Livera had also stated, in his letter to Wickremaratne, that the probe conducted by the Commission had revealed that the said firm had illegally maintained a sum of Rs 7.2 billion in its coffers which had all been deposits belonging to the public.
The AG had noted that the late Chairperson of the ETI Finance Soma Edirisinghe and her family members had presided over the Director Boards of the two firms in question.
Hence the AG has ordered the IGP to carry out separate probes against the ETI Finance and Swarnamahal Jewellers Director Board members on charges of money laundering, gross misappropriation of public funds and on conducting of unauthorised finance business activities.
De Livera has also urged the IGP to conduct these inquiries based on provisions contained in Sections of the Penal Code and Offences against the Money Laundering Act over the illegal acquisition of a sum of Rs 7.2 billion from its depositors.