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Wednesday February 1st, 2023

Magistrate orders probe as to whether journalist’s computer had been tampered with

ECONOMYNEXT – Colombo’s Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne yesterday June 16 ordered the Government Analyst to examine a laptop belonging to journalist Dharisha Bastians to see whether any data was entered or deleted between June 4 and June 10.

Jayaratne gave the order during the hearing into charges against a Sri Lankan employee of the Swiss Embassy in Colombo, Garnier Banister Francis that she sought to bring disrepute to the government by making false allegations against the state.

The CID, stated in court that on a search warrant issued on June 9, its officers searched the residence of Bastians, in Averihena in Narahenpita, and recovered the laptop in question.

This was contested by Bastians’s lawyer Shiraz Noordin who said that CID officers had entered the premises on June 4 and taken the laptop away without a warrant.

He also informed court that the CID officers had returned to the residence on June 9 and presented the search warrant to Bastians’s Father-in-Law Upali Indragupta and had him sign that the Police had now taken the laptop.

The attorney said therefore the police had the computer in their possession from June 4 to June 10 without a warrant.

Nurdin also informed court that as a journalist, Bastians was the former Editor of the Sunday Observer newspaper, her computer contains sensitive information.

The Magistrate thereafter ordered the Government Analyst to see whether the computer had been tampered with between June 4 and June 10.

The Magistrate noted that Bastians is not in the country at present and that the computer had been left behind with her father-in-law. She ordered that Indragupta be present in court at the next date.

The case against Francis has been instituted after she complained she had been accosted by five men near St Bridget’s Convent in Colombo in late November last year, sexually harassed and questioned about the visa issued to former CID Inspector Nishantha Silva.

The Attorney General’s Department was represented by Attorney Janaka Bandara and the CID by Chief Inspector Kelum Karunaratne and Inspector Iqbal.

Francis was represented by Attorney Upul Kumarupperuma and others. (Colombo, June 17)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana

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Sri Lanka bond yields down at close

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s bond yields were down at close following a bond auction on Wednesday, dealers said while a guidance peg for interbank transactions remained unchanged.

“The rates were steady at the auction,” a dealer said.

“This can be a signal to the market saying the rates will go down in the future.”

A bond maturing on 01.07.2025 closed at 32.40/60 percent, down from yesterday’s 32.60/85 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.05.2027 closed at 29.10/35 marginally down from yesterday’s 29.20/75 percent.

The Central Bank’s guidance peg for interbank US dollar transactions remained unchanged at 362.14 rupees against the US dollar.

Commercial banks offered dollars for telegraphic transfers at 371.38 rupees on Friday, data showed. (Colombo/Feb 01/2022)

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Sri Lanka bill auction hits pothole after 2025 bond spike

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka sold only 45 billion rupees in Treasury bills at Wednesday’s auction after offering 120 billion rupees, data from the state debt office showed, amid market confusion over a spike in a two year bond at an earlier action.

30.1 billion rupees of 3-month bills were sold at 29.91 percent, unchanged from a week earlier after offering 60 billion rupees for auction.

5.1 billion rupees of 6-month bills were sold at 28.72 percent, flat after offering 30 billion.

10.3 billion rupees of 12-month bills were sold at 27.72 percent after offering 30 billion.

Phase II subscriptions have been opened.

The market was foxed after the 2025 bonds were accepted at sharply higher yield than market on January 30, dealer said.

There was further confusion as the there was an outright purchase of 2025 at around 29 percent earlier in January.

Some investors speculated that the authorities were trying to drive more buyers towards short end bonds as bill volumes were getting larger. (Colombo/Feb01/2023)

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Sri Lanka services exports down 5.9-pct in 2022

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s services exports were estimated to have fallen 5.9 percent to 1,876.3 million US dollars, the island’s Export Development Board said.

Services exports estimated is made up of ICT/BPM, construction, financial services, transport and logistics.

There are more than 500 ICT companies, the EDB said.

Sri Lanka’s merchandise exports were up 4.6 percent to US dollars 13.1 billion dollars in 2022 from 2021.

Sri Lanka’s goods exports are slowing amid lower growth in Western markets. (Colombo/ Feb 01/2023)

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