The Colombo High Court has been informed that the President has granted a pardon to former Chairman of the Warakapola Pradeshiya Sabha, Lakshman Pathiraja Samarasinghe, who was convicted over a bribery charge and sentenced to serve a prison sentence.
Makewitage Lakshman Pathiraja Samarasinghe was indicted before the Colombo High Court under the provisions of the Bribery Act for the solicitation and acceptance of a bribe of Rs 25,000 from an individual to award tenders for the renovation of Udagama, Thambadiya and Evitigala roads within the Warakapola PS area between January 01 and 31 in 1995.
Following an extensive hearing, the verdict in the case was delivered on October 29, 2009 and the accused was sentenced to 18 years of rigorous imprisonment and also ordered to pay a fine of Rs 15,000 and a penalty of Rs 25,000.
The accused had filed an appeal on March 20, 2010 with the Court of Appeal against the verdict. However, the High Court’s sentence was upheld by the Appeals Court.
The case was taken up before Colombo High Court Judge Shashi Mahendran yesterday to deliver the verdict of the Appeals Court.
However, a letter stating that the President, using powers vested in him by Article 34 (1) of the Constitution, has granted a general pardon to the defendant and submitted by the Presidential Secretariat on April 29 was produced before the court.
The court ordered to release the defendant as per the letter.
Reports state that Lakshman Pathiraja Samarasinghe was granted a pardon due to his deteriorating health condition.