Rs 400 mn cheating case: Lawyers question failure of police to seize gem consignment



In a cheating case involving gems valued at Rs 400 million, it has been asked why the Financial and Commercial Crimes Investigations Division, FCCID during five months of investigations did not question or seize the cheated consignment of gems from a Ratnapura-based gem businessman who had allegedly bought, through the complainant’s gem broker, the consignment of gems.

It has transpired that three cheques issued by the Ratnapura-based businessman all of which had got dishonoured, whereas the broker’s father and broker’s wife were slapped with foreign travel restrictions moved by the FCCID unit handling the investigations, according to representations made to FCCID Director Mohan Siriwardena on behalf of the gem broker’s father.

In the representation, dated 19th June 2023, addressed to the Director, FCCID, by President’s Counsel M M Zuhair and Attorney Rizwan Uvais, on behalf of A G M Mafas the aggrieved party, it is alleged that in the case reported to the Magistrate Court, Mount Lavinia, the FCCID had identified the Ratnapura businessman and the complainant’s own gem broker, as the perpetrators of the cheating but the investigating unit had failed to act against the alleged Ratnapura buyer who had not even been named in Court as a suspect, though the Ratnapura buyer had issued three cheques to the complainant, a Colombo gem businessman, through the broker for Rs 97.5 million as part payment and all three cheques had bounced.

President’s Counsel has also questioned as to why the Rs 407 million valued gem consignment, necessary productions in the cheating case, was not promptly seized from the alleged buyer as ‘stolen property’ under section 393 of the Penal Code and produced in Court. He has informed the Director that those handling the virtual complainant’s 14th January 2023 complaint, instead of taking any action against the prime suspects, were harassing the gem broker’s father and the broker’s wife by moving Court for travel restrictions on the father Mafas and the broker’s wife.

He has also represented to the Director FCCID that their officers handling the case having reported to Court that the complainant’s broker had sold the ‘consignment of gems’ and not a part of it, to the Ratnapura buyer and had received the three cheques as ‘a part of the value of the consignment of gems’, were making a preposterous allegation, without any evidence, falsely speculating that Mafaz, who had returned to the island after the complaint, may have taken overseas some gems sold to the Ratnapura buyer.

He has also represented that Mafas is a respected gem businessman for over 40 years, without any complaint and the FCCID’s application for travel restrictions is a violation of his rights protected under Articles 14(1)(g), 12(1) and (2) of the Constitution.