Foreign assets amounting to billions of rupees allegedly in the hands of the former directors of the Golden Key Credit Card Company should also be confiscated in order to pay off the depositors, Golden Key All Depositors Association President Dushanthi Hapugoda told The Nation.

While welcoming the government’s agreement to repay 41% of the moneys belonging to depositors of Golden Key Credit Card Company, Hapugoda pointed out it would still mean that depositors will not be able to reclaim 59% of the money they originally deposited.
Hapugoda claimed the nine former directors of the company, barring its former chairman Lalith Kotelawala’s wife, Sicille Kotelawala, were all residing in Sri Lanka and expressed frustration that more of their assets were not being used to pay off the depositors.

“While the government says the Golden Key Credit Card Company and its subsidiary assets would be used to pay the depositors, these don’t even amount to Rs.1 billion,” she lamented, saying the government should go after the personal assets of the directors. She claimed depositors had detailed information regarding foreign and local assets amounting to billions of rupees and were willing to share all their information with the government.

Making submissions before the Court of Appeal on Thursday (June 18), the State Counsel appearing on behalf of the Attorney General informed court that the government had approved a proposal to repay 41% of the moneys. Accordingly, those who have deposited Rs.2 million or less will be repaid within a month, while those who have deposited between Rs.2-10 million will be paid within two months. Depositors who had deposited over Rs.10 million will be repaid within 1 year, according to the government.

Speaking at last week’s Cabinet press briefing, Cabinet Spokesman Minister Rajitha Senaratne detailed these amounts. Accordingly, a total of Rs.544.3 million will be paid to depositors within 1 month, Rs.3945.6 million within two months and Rs.4055.1 within a year. This would mean that the government will pay a total amounting to over Rs.8.5 billion to depositors.

Hapugoda noted the company had 9127 depositors with a total liability of Rs.26 billion at the time it went into bankruptcy. The case, filed by depositors on March 17, 2009, dragged on for seven years and was heard before six Chief Justices and 14 Supreme Court Justices. Thirty-three of the depositors committed suicide during this period while 160 others died from various illnesses as they could not afford to pay for their medicines and treatments, she further claimed.