By Nirmala Kannangara
Following last week’s expose titled “Abuse And Intimidation With Impunity By A Judge Of The Court Of Appeal,” Justice Sarath de Abrew says that the allegations leveled against him by his building contractor are factually distorted, unfounded and were made with intent to defame him.
Justice de Abrew further claims that he was not evading paying the contractor his final bill but it has to be settled only after the defect liability period expires in July 2011 under the terms of the building contract.
He further claims that contractor D.T. Chitrasena, is a suspect in a case of conspiracy to kidnap the Judge’s grand niece and making death threats in order to fabricate stories against the Judge.
Responding to Justice de Abrew’s allegations, Chitrasena queries as to how the Judge could claim that the defect liability period lapses after July 2011, when he has all the documents to prove that the Judge occupied the said residence in April 2010. Thereby the defect liability period ends in April 2011 and not in July as stated.
“It is Justice de Abrew who is distorting the facts in the contract. Being in the legal profession for many years it is surprising that he does not know what the defect liability period is. This is a one year period which commences on the day the employer occupied the house. Justice de Abrew occupied the newly constructed house at 4/1, Attidiya Road, Ratmalana, on April 21, 2010 and therefore the defect liability period ends on April 21, 2011 and not on the date he has stated. Nowhere in the contract is it said that the final bill would be paid after the defect liability period, which is why a 5% retention fee has been kept with the Judge. If he states that I have not officially handed over the building since Engineer Prabath Vitharana has not issued a certificate of completion under the terms of the contract, then why did he occupy such a building. Being a lawyer himself, Justice de Abrew is in contravention of the contract,” claimed Chitrasena.
Chitrasena further alleged that Justice de Abrew had instructed his cousin, Engineer Prabath Vitharana to avoid him (Chitrasena) in order to delay the approval of the final bill and issue the certificate of completion.
“It is clear that Engineer Vitharana has gone into hiding on the instructions of the Judge to further delay my payments. Vitharana himself was also physically beaten up by Justice de Abrew similar to the other workers, and there is no reason for him to go into hiding unless the Judge has intimidated him to ensure that my final bill is not approved. Under the terms of the contract (clause 44.1 section i) undue delay of payment over five months means that I can claim compensation from the employer,” claimed Chitrasena.
Meanwhile Chitrasena claims that he has attended to all the defects the Judge has mentioned in the presence of Engineer Vitharana. However he said that he is unable to attend to further defects at de Abrew’s residence as he has no guarantee on his safety.
Disclaiming Justice de Abrew’s allegation on his failure to renew the site insurance policy, Chitrasena said that he has documentation to prove that such allegations are unjustifiable.
“How could Justice de Abrew claim that I have failed to renew the building site insurance policy since December 2010 when I have all the documentation to prove that it has been renewed until April 25, 2011? These claims by him clearly show which of us is lying and distorting the facts. In addition to which, at no point (as claimed by the Judge) did the Engineer warn me for not renewing the site insurance,” said Chitrasena.
Chitrasena further refuted Justice de Abrew’s claim that sub contracts were given to other parties on mutual agreement.
“No such agreement was reached since in the first place I was not even informed about the sub contracts. Normally I would have objected to such a practice, but knowing the temperament and moods of the Judge I did not voice my displeasure. Since the sub contractors too were threatened and physically beaten by Judge de Abrew they could not finish their work on time and this was why I could not hand over the house on time. If the Justice claims that he could recover liquidated damages of Rs. 5000 per day from me for not handing over the house on time I too could sue him for breach of contract. Nowhere in the contract is it said that sub contracts would be given to any other parties,” Chitrasena stated.
He further queries on which basis Justice de Abrew could claim that as the employer he had the authority to obtain and supply any building materials to the site at subsidised cost and deduct the value from the contractor at the prevailing market rates.
“While using his official documentation and official capacity to get 200 bags of Holcim cement at a rate of Rs.450 per bag from Chairman Holcim, Manilal Fernando he still endorses his act of selling this cement for Rs.765 per bag which was the prevailing market price. This statement alone clearly shows the caliber of the man,” Chitrasena added.
Responding to his alleged involvement in the conspiracy to kidnap the Judge’s grand niece and making death threats, Chitrasena said, “I have evidence to prove that it was Justice de Abrew who harassed the said girl Nayomi Srasthi Perera on many occasions and fearing him she ran away from his residence. There is also evidence to prove as to how she felt sick in school after being harassed and how the Principal obtained treatment for her but failed to take action against the Judge because he influenced the higher authorities. Since he knew that I know exactly what happened to this girl, he threatened her and got a false complaint lodged against me after I sent him the final bill. This can be amply proved at the next court hearing.”
“Chitrasena also referred to the complaint lodged by Sivalingam Sivadhambaram, a young Tamil maid servant in the Judge’s house, with the Women and Children’s Bureau (complaint number MO 210236), that Justice de Abrew sexually assaulted her. However no action was taken by the NCPA after the Judge influenced the police and the relevant authorities,” alleged Chitrasena.