Sri Lanka’s SEC halts payment on controversial Agalawatte deal

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Securities and Exchange Commission has ordered a stock broker to halt the payment on a 60 percent stake in Agalawatte Plantations, following a complaint by some shareholders of the privately held controlling Mackwoods group.

Members of Sri Lanka’s Nonis family are involved in multiple legal battles alleging mis-management of the group by Chrishantha Nonis, who is de facto chairman.

A 60 percent stake of Agalawatte Plantations, a listed company owned by Mackwoods Plantations Private Ltd, an unlisted company, was sold last week, leading to complaints by Nonis family members to the SEC.

The SEC in a directive said Nirmalie Samaratunga and M J Varma has complained to the SEC that the stake was sold "without due authorisation and without the approval of the shareholders of Mackwoods Plantations Private Limited.

SEC said Shelendra Ranaweera and Lalith Fonseka were the authorised to instruct brokers to sell shares held by the firm it in dematerialized account, but the instructions had come from Chris Nonis.

SEC said it had to verify whether Nonis was authorized to sell the shares and whether shareholders of Mackwoods Plantations had approved the sale.

SEC told Claridge Stockbrokers Private Ltd, a member of the Mackwoods group, to withhold the sale proceeds of the transaction and retain it with the firm until the regulator probed it and issued new instructions. (Colombo – Corrected para 2)


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