The Mount Lavinia Chief Magistrate Harsha Sethunga on Friday made order for details of the Golden key Credit card Company and Ceylinco group assets to be released in a bid to raise enough cash to refund the money of depositors.
These details including the amounts deposited are to be furnished to the CID on Monday. The ruling came after the court was informed that only the list of names of depositors numbering around 9,200 was handed over to the CID. Counsel for Golden Key and the depositors agreed before court to finalise the modalities of the proposed trust to refund the money of depositors in consultation with the Attorney General on Monday and to inform its progress on February 13, the next hearing date of the Golden Key fraud case.
Romesh de Silva, senior counsel for Ceylinco Chief Lalith Kotelawala, informed the court that his client is ready to provide Rs.50 million even today (Friday) to set up the trust. It was earlier revealed in court that around 10,000 depositors had money amounting to Rs.26 billion at Golden Key Credit Card and that their details cannot be obtained within a short period as the main computer which was used to store data had been damaged.
Chief Magistrate Sethunge then ordered the Golden Key management to allow the CID and its computer experts access to inspect the main computer network of the company to restore data of depositors on a request made by Deputy Solicitor General (DSG) Sarath Jayamanne.The DSG told Court that the company submitted a financial statement to the CID last Thursday instead of the relevant information and proposals on the setting up of the Trust .He disclosed that only two meetings were held at the AG’s Department with regard to this issue and no final decision was taken due to the lack of coorperation from the Golden Key management.
In a shocking revelation, Mr Jayamanne told court that the Golden Key management has set up 48 subsidiary companies investing Rs 13 billion of the depositors money. This was misappropriation of funds, he said. Another sum of Rs. 1 billion was spent in an improper manner and Rs 6 billion was granted to other companies of Ceylinco on the instructions of Mr Kotelawala and some directors of the company. Counsel for former company auditor M Nallanthuvan informed court that his client is innocent and he has not placed his signature on the audited accounts of 2004 -2005 and he was not an employee of the company at that time. The Chief Magistrate directed the CID to verify this matter.
He also ordered the further remand of the suspects-- Deputy Chairman -Michael Khavan Perera, Finance Director -Saradha Sumanasekara Manoj Chaminda Jayalath of Ceylinco Insurance and Mr Nallanthuvan till the next hearing date. Mrs Sicile Kotelawala, wife of Mr Kotelawala and also a Golden Key director, was not present. Her lawyer informed court that his client was indisposed and receiving medical treatment overseas.
The court room and the premises were full with angry depositors numbering around 400. They staged a protest demonstration after the hearing of the case demanding the Ceylinco Chief refund their money soon without resorting to delaying tactics. Ceylinco Chairman Lalith Kotelawala was escorted by armed security guards and STF personnel to enable him to leave the court premises amidst screams and shouting of depositors.