The now beleaguered former Central Bank Governor, Arjuna Mahendran, who is in Singapore could be arrested at any time, Attorney General, President’s Counsel Jayantha Jayasuriya told Ceylon Today.
“There was intense speculation that he could not be arrested as he is not a Sri Lankan citizen, but a Singaporean, but the existing laws in Sri Lanka are sufficient to arrest him,” AG Jayasuriya said.
“The laws in Sri Lanka are such that even if a non-Sri Lankan, such as a foreign tourist, commits a crime here, he/she could be arrested if he/she has acted in contravention of Sri Lankan laws. The former Central Bank Governor is no exception to the laws of Sri Lanka,” he explained.
Meanwhile, authoritative legal sources told Ceylon Today on the condition of anonymity, last night, that Mahendran was a Singaporean citizen and he has returned to Singapore after giving evidence to the Commission. If the Sri Lankan CID wants to arrest him, they will have to request him to come to Sri Lanka. If he refuses to do that, they will have to move for his extradition.
Responding to a question as to whether there was an existing Extradition Treaty, already in operation, between Sri Lanka and Singapore, he said that such an Extradition Treaty was not mandatory under these circumstances as Sri Lanka and Singapore were Commonwealth countries……and there was a separate regime which was operational and could be used under the circumstances.
“It will be up to the Government of Singapore whether to extradite a citizen of theirs, but, there was no evidence as of today to objectively conclude that Mahendran was absconding as he had come to provide evidence before the Commission and he has returned to Singapore,” he said.
“If there was a move to arrest him prior to the institution of criminal prosecution being filed against him, by the Attorney General, then he will have to be extradited, If that also fails, the Government will have to get an international agency to arrest him and bring him to Sri Lanka, the legal source said.
Meanwhile, Attorney General Jayantha Jayasuriya, responding to a question from this newspaper, on what methods and procedures were followed or were being followed after President Maithripala Sirisena sent the report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the Bonds issue to him and his Department, said: “Now that I have received the report, I have entrusted it to a team of officers in the AG’s Department. They are from the Civil and Criminal Divisions. They will study the report and the specific recommendations that need to be addressed and it will be up to the Civil and Criminal Divisions to take the proceedings further in terms of implementations of the recommendations.
Responding to a question as to whether the AG’s Department was going to institute legal proceedings against the ex-Governor and his son-in-law, he said: “First these two Departments will examine the material. The report has the recommendations and various details of the key transactions and the summaries of evidence.
We will have to examine all the material and the evidence before we go to Court. The material which has been used in the report also has been sent to us. The material is in volumes, these are documents and the material, which are the full documentations of the witnesses’ testimonies.
Responding to a question over the methods of recovering the Rs 11.1 billion, which has been announced as lost, by President Maithripala Sirisena in his address to the Nation, and also in the light of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe saying that Rs 9.2 billion of the Rs 11.1 billion, which was claimed to be lost, would be recovered from the now frozen assets of Perpetual Treasuries Ltd, the Attorney General said : “Civil recoveries by way of civil action and along with the other processes recommended in the Report, will be taken and different steps will also be taken as provided.”
When asked how long the processes and the procedures would take, he said that he would not be able to spell out any specific time frame for it but, remarked that the AG’s Department was acutely conscious of the urgency of the proceedings.
“Anyway, we will do it as practicable as possible,” he said.