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POSTED AT 10:25 AM 11-03-2019

WTC owners freed from trespassing and mischief charges

Fort Magistrate Court freed Messrs. Overseas Realty (Ceylon) PLC the owner of World Trade Centre (WTC) from alleged offences punishable for criminal trespassing and mischief charges framed against them.

The Fort Police had reported to Fort Magistrate Ranga Dissanayake that Madhuritha Rajapakse, a tenant in level 6 East Low Block had complained to police that his premises had been illegally trespassed and mischief had caused to the complainant while illegally repossessing the premises by Overseas Reality (Ceylon) PLC the owners of WTC.

The police filing a case under No B/2611/15 had informed this to court stating that they are conducting investigations to ascertain whether the owners of WTC had committed an offence punishable for Criminal Trespassing and mischief.

During the inquiry before Magistrate Ranga Dissanayake President Counsel Chandana Liyanapatabendi appearing with Harshana Ranasinghe, Sunanda Deshapriya and Mokshi Silva on behalf of Messrs. Overseas Realty (Ceylon) PLC submitted that principle officers such as the CEO as well as the Manager - Legal had been made statements to the police describing full facts with sufficient documents and other materials to the police.

He said his client had leased out the premises to Rajapakse for a period of 3 years, by a Lease Agreement which was duly executed on the 15th of August 2012. However Rajapakse had failed and neglected to pay rent and other charges connected to the lease on time as stipulated in the said lease agreement and continued to be in debt to his client. Furthermore, several cheques issued by 'Rajapakse' were also dishonoured the Counsel said.

Therefore, his client informed the Lessee that the Lease Agreement cannot be renewed and to hand over vacant possession of the property at the termination of the lease.

Counsel Liyanapathabendi further submitted that even though the complainant was repeatedly informed to vacate the premises and to remove the movable property in the premises, the lessee has failed to adhere to the requests and demands which were lawfully made,

Therefore his client had repossess the premises on the 6th of September 2015 by a strictly legal and transparent procedure adopted where all movable property within the premises was inventoried and safely and securely stored in the presence of auditors of Price Water House Coopers and representatives of the company.

The Counsel said the entire process was video recorded to ensure transparency and accountability. The said video recording is readily available.

It is also submitted that 'Madhuritha Rajapakse' has also instituted a civil action in the District Court of Colombo bearing Case No: DRE 23/2015 concerning the same matter which was withdrew by Madhuritha Rajapakse on the first date of trial.

Hence the Counsel pleaded court to conclude criminal proceedings pertaining to this investigation. The Magistrate concluded the case and the suspect company was discharged from all charges.

T. Farook Thajudeen