- Arraigned for alleged offences against Public Property Act
By S.S. Selvanayagam
The Court of Appeal yesterday (4) fixed the revision application filed by former Minister Wimal Weerawansa, which contests the decision to remand him and seeks bail, for 7 April.
The matter came up before Justice H.C.J. Madawala.
The petitioner cited IP Anura Premaratne (OIC), ASP Kamal Paliskara, IP Sanjeewa Fernando, DIG Ravi Waidyalankara (all of FCIC), IGP Pujith Jayasundera, Commissioner General of Prisons H.M.N.C. Dhanasinghe and the Attorney General as well as the second suspect Samantha Priyanath Lokuhennedige as respondents.
Gamini Marapane PC with Navin Marapane and Kaushalya Molligoda instructed by Sanath Wijewardane appeared for the petitioner.
He is seeking the Court to set aside the judgment of the Colombo High Court which affirmed the orders dated 10.01.2017 and 24.01.2017 made by the Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court committing him to remand custody.
He stated that he was questioned by the FCID with regard to a purported investigation on the allegations concerning the allocation of fuel and drivers to certain vehicles obtained on rent by the State Engineering Corporation for the alleged Offences Against Public Property Act. He states that he was arrested and produced before the Fort Magistrate’s Court on 10 January 2017 and remanded on 10 January 2017 and 24 January 2017 at the behest of the FCID.
Weerawansa revealed that there were a large number of subjects and functions assigned to him during the time he served as Minister of Construction, Engineering Services, Housing and Common Amenities, and except for making relevant policy decisions and the submission of relevant Cabinet memoranda where necessary and he did not engage or participate in the day to day administrative matters of the Ministry or the departments and institutions coming under it. He claims the Chairman/General Manager of the State Engineering Corporation was its Chief Financial Officer and the Secretary to the Ministry was its Chief Finance Officer and he had no financial authority over either the Ministry or the Corporation.
Weerawansa alleges that the purported remanding and either allowing or refusing his applications for bail was illegal and in violation of his fundamental rights to freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention and the right that every person shall be presumed innocent until he is proven guilty.