In CPA/133/2022, their Lordships of the Court of Appeal held that, “it is trite law that statutes should be construed as far as possible to avoid absurdity or futility”

Update – Anoma Polwatte Judgement. 11/01/2024
The Supreme Court Judgement Anoma S. Polwatte Vs The Director General of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption and others (SC/Writ Application No.1/2011) was a matter decided on the basis that directing the Director General to institute of criminal proceedings was a function of the Commission and therefore directive of all three Commissioners must be a prerequisite to file action against the Accused.

A tendency has been created to raise preliminary objections by the counsels appearing for Accused in Bribery and Corruption cases extending the above judgement to interpret the commencement of an investigation also to the effect that it is a prerequisite to having the directive of all three Commissioners of the commission to commence the investigation.

In many bribery and corruption cases, High Court of Colombo having considered the above preliminary objection, had agreed with the said objection and, accordingly, had discharged the Accused from the charges preferred against them. There were massive corruption cases based on the above preliminary objections the Accused were discharged.

Having aggrieved by such ordered of High Court of Colombo, Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) recently filed number of revision applications before Court of Appeal against the orders of High Court of Colombo based on the above said Anoma S. Polwatte Judgement.

Revision application No. CPA/133/2022 also filed by the CIABOC on the same question of law. The learned counsels appeared for both parties had made lengthy oral arguments and written submissions before their Lordships of the Court of Appeal. Having cited number of judgements of Superior courts and the statutory provisions primarily, it was the contention of the learned counsel who appeared for the Bribery Commission that there is no such requirement in existing law on bribery and corruption for all three Commissioners to sign such a directive to commence the investigation and if we adopt the position advanced by Respondent based on Anoma Polwatte case all the investigations conducted by the Commission without the approval of all three commissioners in the cases way prior to Anoma Polwatte void in abinitio, in that sense all concluded cases based on such investigations from 1994 must be vitiated and this would lead to absurdity which the legislature in passing CIABOC Act would never contemplated.

After considering oral arguments and written submissions by both parties, their Lordships of the Court of Appeal on 11th of January 2024, set aside the order of High Court of Colombo and directed to revert the case back to the case role of the Court and issue notice on the Respondents, read over the indictment to him and proceed therefrom to hear evidence if necessary, conclude the matter.

Ms.Anusha Sammandapperuma, Assistant Director ( Legal) of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption appeared in this matter for the Complainant – Petitioner and Mr. Kasun Liyanage for the Accused- Respondent.

CPA/135/2022, “Power of the Commission mentioned under section 5 are not the only powers granted to the Commission in terms of the Act”

Update – Anoma Polwatte Judgement. 11/01/2024
The Supreme Court Judgement Anoma S. Polwatte Vs The Director General of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption and others (SC/Writ Application No.1/2011) was a matter decided on the basis that directing the Director General to institute of criminal proceedings was a function of the Commission and therefore directive of all three Commissioners must be a prerequisite to file action against the Accused.

A tendency has been created to raise preliminary objections by the counsels appearing for Accused in Bribery and Corruption cases extending the above judgement to interpret the commencement of an investigation also to the effect that it is a prerequisite to having the directive of all three Commissioners of the commission to commence the investigation.

In many bribery and corruption cases, High Court of Colombo having considered the above preliminary objection, had agreed with the said objection and, accordingly, had discharged the Accused from the charges preferred against them. There were massive corruption cases based on the above preliminary objections the Accused were discharged.

Having aggrieved by such ordered of High Court of Colombo Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) recently filed number of revision applications before Court of Appeal against the orders of High Court of Colombo based on the above said Anoma S. Polwatte Judgement.

Revision application No. CPA/135/2022 also filed by the CIABOC on the same question of law. The learned counsels appeared for both parties had made lengthy oral arguments and written submissions before their Lordships of the Court of Appeal. Having cited number of judgements of Superior courts and the statutory provisions primarily, it was the contention of the learned counsel who appeared for the Bribery Commission that there is no such requirement in existing law on bribery and corruption for all three Commissioners to sign such a directive to commence the investigation and if we adopt the position advanced by Respondent based on Anoma Polwatte case all the investigations conducted by the Commission without the approval of all three commissioners in the cases way prior to Anoma Polwatte void in abinitio, in that sense all concluded cases based on such investigations from 1994 must be vitiated and this would lead to absurdity which the legislature in passing CIABOC Act would never contemplated.

After considering oral arguments and written submissions by both parties their Lordships of the Court of Appeal on 11th of January 2024 set aside the order of High Court of Colombo and directed to revert the case back to the case role of the Court and issue notice on the Respondents, read over the indictment to him and proceed therefrom to hear evidence if necessary, conclude the matter.

Ms.Anusha Sammandapperuma, Assistant Director ( Legal) of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption appeared in this matter for the Complainant – Petitioner and Mr. Kasun Liyanage for the Accused- Respondent.

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