Following a protracted legal battle between members of the popular Capri Club at Kollupitiya in Colombo and its former President, Colombo Additional District Judge W.R.R.S. Wathupola lifted a long standing enjoining order preventing either party from operating the club's affairs and allowed the holding of elections of new office-bearers.
In his order, Judge Wathupola held that the former President of the Club (Morgan Fernando) had been elected for the year 2009/2010 but had taken no steps for nearly two years to convene a general meeting at which new office-bearers would be elected, nor provided a reason for not doing so.
Judge Wathupola held that Mr. Fernando who had obtained the enjoining order preventing the holding of a general meeting to elect new office-bearers was violating the rights of the general membership and was therefore not entitled to have his enjoining order extended.
He said that the management of the club had come to a halt due to the act of omission and neglect on the part of Mr. Fernando and that salaries of employees, payments of loans and the payment of statutory allowances had come to a standstill.
The Judge pointed out that the trustees of the club and almost all the committee members had already resigned and that Mr. Fernando had not mentioned in his petition asking for an enjoining order, that the Police Fraud Bureau had instituted action against him in court in a related matter involving the club. It was his responsibility to have brought that fact to the notice of court, the Judge held.
The Sunday Times reported in August last year that the club, officially known as the Circolo Amichevole Per Residenti Italiani (Capri) which is over 50 years old and boasts an exclusive membership of 750 professionals and businessmen had defrauded the Income Tax Department by obtaining a fraudulent VAT certificate with the connivance of the Department.
A special committee of the club that went into the matter had found the then President and Vice President guilty of violating club rules and procedures in the matter. The Inland Revenue Department officials said they were initiating an inquiry, but the matter was shelved by higher ups without giving any reasons.
Last Sunday, the club elected a new set of office-bearers. Lasantha Fernando, a former President of the club was unanimously elected the President for the next year, while Samantha Kulatunge was elected Vice President, Leslie Dharmaratne Secretary and Rohan Fernando the Treasurer.
Razik Zarook PC, Manik Pereira and Chella Kundanmal were elected as Trustees of the club. The other office-bearers elected were Dr. K. Rajendran (Entertainment), S. Ashokan (Bar), Ananda Warakawa (Restaurant) and a General Committee comprising Ms. Zulekha Abdeen, S. Sinnathamby, Dr. N. Gunaratne, Harin Gomes and Sampath Liyanage.