Update: Private Lawyer appears for new Chairwoman of SLTDA!

Update: Private Lawyer appears for new Chairwoman of SLTDA!

1 July 2020 12:22 am

The enjoining order imposed over the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority's (SLTDA) unlawful takeover of land acquired by Ascot Leisure Pvt. Ltd under the under the 99-year lease was extended till July 13 today (30).

Noteworthy that senior President's Counsel Romesh De Silva appeared for the respondents including the protagonist to the controversy Mrs. Kimali Fernando, the new Chairperson of the SLTDA, as the case was taken up before the Colombo District Court today.

Given observations, it is apparent that the SLTDA Chairperson has once again tossed her cards by hopping over the fences of law avoiding due process. 

That is, because defense against litigation of state-run bodies, such as the SLTDA itself, should be proceeded through the Attorney General's Department. Should the respondents obtain assistance from a counsel from private bar in cases of exceptions, the approval of the board of directors of the state authority, to which the relevant institute is attached, and the approval of the Ministry of Finance should be obtained. 

Being it said, the above commission is a direct violation of the state administrative regulations and the state financial regulations. 

The Director Board's disapproval disregarded?

An early attempt by the SLTDA Chairperson to obtain the approval of the Board of Directors in this regard was failed, sorted by which a unanimous sound was raised from the Board advising her to consult the Attorney General's Department for assistance, internal sources disclosed.

Mrs. Kimali Fernando, Chairperson of SLTDA

The Board members have expressed their strong objection over Mrs. Fernando, who had been supposedly misappropriating public funds amidst the crash down of the tourism industry in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, for her attempt to spend millions of rupees for lawyer's charges, according to sources.

Early trial to the case had revealed that a Deed of Declaration was drafted by the SLTDA and referred it for registration without meeting a lawful closure on the lease agreement avoiding the fact that Ascot Leisure Pvt. Ltd. (now Lanka Realty Leisure Pvt. Ltd.) had invested a preliminary down payment amounting to Rs. 30 million with taxes up to December 2020 on the questionable land. 

Accordingly, the case is being tried against many top officials of the SLTDA including Chairperson Kimali Fernando, Director General Dhammika Wijesinghe, and Treasurer Director Anoma Nandani.

In the backdrop, written submission to the enjoining injunction will be taken up for hearing on July 13, 2020. Should there be objections over the conversion of the interim injunction - issued over the SLTDA on June 20 to be in effect from July 13 - into a permanent injunction, they should be filed by the SLTDA. 

We, LNW, disclosed in a previous article that Mrs. Kimali Fernando, who was appointed as the new Chairperson of the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority in the reigning in of the new government, was showing a keen interest on land acquired under the 99-year lease due to her nepotism. Kimali Fernando is also the daughter-in-law of Mr. Merrill J. Fernando, Chairman of Dilmah/MJF Group. Her husband is the youngest son of Mr. Merrill J. Fernando. A land located next to the aforementioned questionable land belongs to Dilmah Group. 

Meanwhile, the latest information revealed us that she in an illegal move is planning to hand over the land to a foreign company. Stay tuned for a detailed article on this in the future. 

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