High Court issues international warrant for arrest of Rohan Perera
An international warrant for the arrest of fugitive banker Rohan Perera -- former chairman of the now defunct Pramuka Bank -- was issued by the Colombo High Court yesterday, through Interpol.
High Court Judge Upali Abeyratne issued this warrant following a motion filed by the Attorney General that the suspect in the country`s biggest ever foreign exchange fraud was not in Sri Lanka and a warrant needed to be issued through the international police.
Mr. Perera has been indicted on 217 charges, including fraudulently drawing foreign drafts and smuggling them out of the country. The frauds running into a staggering total of US$ 200 million had allegedly been committed between November 28, 1995 and April 30, 1996 while he was the General Manager of Seylan Bank.
When the case was taken up yesterday, Senior State Counsel Yasantha Kodagoda said a warrant had been issued on Mr. Perera earlier but the CID had informed the Attorney General that the suspect was apparently not in Sri Lanka.
A CID officer told court that Mr. Perera was not at his Longden place residence and his wife Shirani had claimed he was not in the country with no communication between them.
The CID officer said they had information that the runaway banker was hiding in the Netherlands but they could not track him down.
The High Court also issued a similar warrant through Interpol on Ahamed Ifthikar Waahid, an accomplice in the case.
In this case five accused Ahamed Ifthikar Waahid, Mohammed Fareed Niyaz Fuard, Rohan Perera, John Peter Redley Silva and Ahamed Rizwan Qualid are indicted on charges of fraud and misappropriating funds belonging to Seylan Bank. The case will be taken up on July 8.
After leaving Seylan, Mr. Perera set up his own Pramuka savings bank and offered unprecedented interest rates but the bank later collapsed and the banker fled the country, leaving thousands of depositors in the lurch.