Business Times

No action on hedging deals by AG, says Ameresekere

The petitioner in two fundamental rights cases filed in the Supreme Court in Sri Lanka over the oil hedging scandal is urging the Attorney General (AG) Mohan Peiris to take action against those involved in the illegal deals.

The petitioner Nihal Sri Amereresekere’s cases were dismissed earlier this year by the Supreme Court on technical grounds but in a letter addressed to the AG dated 24 June 2010, he states that the AG concurred with Mr. Ameresekere’s submissions and the stances taken and arguments adduced by him in Court.

He further states that the AG assured that he would take all such stances and arguments in the foreign legal proceedings commenced by the three foreign banks involved in the hedging deals with the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC), those being Deutsche Bank, Citibank and Standard Chartered Bank.
Mr. Ameresekere’s letter says that the AG has failed and neglected, in terms of the law, to deal with the persons who were involved in the illegal deals. He also says that the AG held out an unqualified assurance and guarantee that he will succeed in the foreign legal proceedings against the government and the CPC and that no payments would have to be made from public funds to the banks.

Mr. Ameresekere also states that the AG admitted that the deals were illegal and that he would recover the costs estimated to be around Rs.150 million used to defend the foreign legal proceedings.
Mr. Ameresekere added that there are certain grave and serious facts detrimental to the public interest revealed by the documents filed in the Supreme Court by the respondents in the fundamental rights cases. He says he reserves the right to take up those issues at a later date in the public interest.

‘To me this is a matter of national and public importance and interest, with potential threat of colossal claims of monies in foreign exchange, reckoned to be in the region of US$800 million in the context of the actual claims being mysteriously and intriguingly suppressed from the public, including the real facts pertaining thereto,’ the letter said.

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