The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka

Saga of Golden Key depositors


File pic. of a GK depositor preparing court papers.

Having worked in the Middle East and saved a small amount in my NRFC, I deposited all my hard earned money in Golden Key in 2004 as I was unemployed and needed a monthly income as my aging mother was with me and needed looking after and she was also incuring constant medical bills.

As I also wanted ‘shelter’ during the twilight years of my life, I decided to invest in Golden Key mainly due to the fact that it was part of the Ceylinco Consolidated Group which I thought was strong and steady and thereby secure!  What happened is history but has left so many of us destitute and desperate with no means of support in the present context of the ever rising cost of living.  I am now a senior citizen and my medical needs have also kicked in, in addition to other needs.

I now plead that the small time depositors who comprise 75% of the total depositors be given a desperately needed respite.  For more than three years now, we have been without funds to live with dignity whilst those who have perpetrated this fraud are living in the lap of luxury.  Most of us are retired and therefore have no recourse to employment as an alternate means of income and these monies invested in Golden Key were our hard earned money and meagre savings. As depositors over the age of 60, please heed our pleas and return to us our dignity. We were respectable average middle class citizens of this country, and not the paupers we are now!

I was also present at the meeting held at BMICH on 22nd December, 2008 where Mr Lalith Kotalawela made a public pledge and assured us that all obligations to deposit holders would be honoured and that repayment would begin in three months time!  We were hoodwinked again!

Another desperate

CB Special Investigation report of 2006 on Golden Key transpires again
By Bandula Sirimanna
The Central Bank Special Investigations Unit (SIU) report of 2006 on Golden Key Credit Card Company identifying that it carried on a finance business in contravention of the provisions of the Finance Act No.78 of 1988 came to light once again, when the GK Fundamental Rights case was taken up for hearing before the three member supreme court bench headed by ChiefJustice Shirani Bandaranayake on June 28, lawyers of GK depositors told the Business Times.

H.M. Zafrullah, counsel for the depositors, told the court that the monetary authorities are responsible for regulatory failure, and therefore they should take over and ensure repayment of depositors before winding up the company. He also requested the court to make available the Monetary Board report dated 23rd November 2006, on the basis which the Supreme Court delivered an interim order .

The Supreme Court on 23-03-2009 has directed the Monetary Board of the Central Bank to take into account the report of the SIU as the failure to take action on the report, which had been made more than three years ago as required by Section 11(1), amounts prima facie to a denial of the equal protection of the law guaranteed by Article 12(1) of the Constitution.
The order was made over three years ago but the hapless depositors, who are suffering due to  parting with their lifetime savings are yet to receive their deposits, except for a meagre Rs.200,000 paid in two installments since the collapse of the company in 2008.
If the Central Bank performed its functions and prohibited the operations of the GKCC at that time a large majority of the depositors would have been saved from the miserable plight  they are facing  at present, counsel said.
The Court indicated that it is essential to list out all the interim orders made so far by court. The case was re-fixed for tomorrow, July 16.

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