The Court of Appeal today ordered the lawyers appearing for former president’s secretary Lalith Weeratunga to produce the visa permit in court on the 6th of April to grant their client permission to travel abroad.
The bench comprising President of the Appellate Court Justice Preethi Padman Surasena and Justice Shiran Gunaratne issued the order today when the revision petition submitted by Lalith Weeratunga, who was convicted of misusing state money, requesting approval to travel abroad.
The Court of Appeal earlier this month set aside the Colombo High Court’s decision to reject Weeratunga’s request for overseas travel and granted permission.
Weeratunga has requested permission to travel to Qatar on an official business and Australia for a personal visit from 25 March to 30 April.
The State Counsel who appeared for the Attorney General at the last hearing said that this request was not objectionable, but that the Lalith Weeratunge’s passport should be produced before the court after obtaining his visa.
At the earlier session on 20 March the bench ordered to call the petition on the 29th and ordered the lawyers of Lalith Weeratunga to present the passport with relevant visas to the court.
However, when the petition was taken up today, the lawyers of Lalith Weeratunga informed the court that the visa required to travel to Australia has not yet been received from the Australian High Commission in Colombo and requested the court to grant more time to produce the relevant visa in court.
Accordingly, the Court of Appeal ordered to call the petition on the 6th and ordered the lawyers of Lalith Weeratunga to produce the visa on that day.
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.