Business Times

Court reprimands MBSL chief Ratnayake over Ceylinco share issue

By Bandula Sirimanna

Janaka Ratnayake, Chairman of the state-owned Merchant Bank of Sri Lanka (MBSL), which is managing some failed Ceylinco Group companies, was on Monday reprimanded by the Supreme Court over an unauthorised transfer of some shares of a Ceylinco company to his personal account.

When the Ceylinco Shriram case came up before court to discuss a repayment plan, Justice Shirani Tilakawardene was critical of Mr Ratnayake (who was not present in court) for the unauthorised transfer of shares and asked the Central Bank representative, Sepala Ratnayake , who was present as to what the bank was doing when there was a clear ruling that no shares of any Ceylinco firm should be transferred without court permission.

The judge said she had received a letter (from whom was not stated) and proceeded to read it out in open court in which Mr Ratnayake’s transfer to his personal account of 500,000 shares was mentioned. Justice Tilakawardene directed the Senior State Counsel Janak de Silva from the Attorney General’s Department to investigate the transaction and report to court at the next hearing fixed for May 6. Though MBSL has no connection with Ceylinco Shriram issues, the judge is believed to have raised this in the context of public concern and as it part of the wider Ceylinco Group crisis, court officials said.

Sepala Ratnayake, Director, of the Department of Supervision of Non Banking Financial Institutions of the Central Bank conceded to court that despite an order of the Supreme Court issued on 20-10-2008 stating that no assets could be transferred, 500,000 shares of Ceylinco Investment Company had been transferred to Janaka Ratnayake, Chairman of the MBSL.and another 500,000 shares to MBSL. The Court also ordered the Central Bank to submit a separate report on this matter.

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