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* Court allows former president’s secretary Lalith Weeratunga to travel abroad
Sat, Mar 3, 2018, 10:11 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.
Mar 03, Colombo: The Court of Appeal Friday granted permission for the former President’s Secretary Lalith Weeratunga, who was convicted of misusing state money, to travel abroad.
The bench comprising President of the Appellate Court Justice Preethi Padman Surasena and Justice Shiran Gunaratne considering the revision petition submitted by Lalith Weeratunga ordered to set aside the Colombo High Court’s decision to reject Weeratunga’s request for overseas travel.
Attorney-at-Law Kanchana Ratwatte appearing on behalf of Weeratunga stated that his client is required to go to Qatar on an official business and Australia for a personal visit.
Accordingly, the defense requested the court to issue an order to remove the travel ban from 20 April to 30 April.
The State Counsel appearing on behalf of the Attorney General informed the court that state has no objections to the request.
However, the State Counsel requested the court to set a condition that the relevant passport should be submitted to the Court for inspection after obtaining the visa.
The Court of Appeal considered the submissions and ordered to immediately release Lalith Weeratunga’s passport confiscated by the Colombo High Court and ordered the Immigration and Emigration Controller to remove the travel ban imposed on Weeratunga from April 20-30.
This Colombo High Court Judge Gihan Kulatunga has earlier denied Weeratunga’s request for overseas travel. Weeratunga filed the revised petition in the Court of Appeal against the lower court ruling.
The Colombo High Court last September sentenced Lalith Weeratunga and former Director General of the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) Anusha Palpita to three years of rigorous imprisonment each after they were found guilty of misappropriating Rs.650 million of TRC funds and using it to distribute ‘Sil Redi’ for the former president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s 2015 presidential election campaign.
They were granted bail pending an appeal against the verdict and the court impounded the passports imposing an overseas travel ban.
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