AG’s report on floating armoury: RALL owes $ 20 m compensation to Avant Garde

  • Rakna Arakshaka Lanka can be sued over agreement breach: Report 
  • If Avant Garde sued, Govt. may have to spend Rs. 21 b on legal matters: Keheliya  

 BY Yoshitha Perera 

Although the Attorney General (AG) recently observed that legal action should be initiated against Rakna Arakshaka Lanka Ltd. (RALL) against the breach of a joint agreement in 2015 pertaining to maintaining a floating armoury, according to the judgment given by the relevant Trial-at-Bar in May 2021, there are provisions for legal action to be taken against officials who made false complaints and pressed charges against Avant Garde Maritime Services (Pvt.) Ltd. officials and RALL, Cabinet Spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella claimed.  

“The judgement given by the Trial-at-Bar is really strong. In fact, the judgement given by the Trial-at-Bar, appointed by the previous United National Front-led Government, had stated that the case had been filed in a totally biased manner,” he further claimed.

Speaking to The Sunday Morning, Rambukwella observed that during the trial period, the relevant Navy Commander was summoned to provide evidence where he had informed that he was not in a position to engage in floating armoury operations, as according to the Navy Act, the Navy is not empowered to conduct commercial activities, whereas RALL and Avant Garde are, however, entitled to operate in the country.  

Recently, the AG had submitted a report containing certain observations in this regard to Cabinet.  

The Cabinet had subsequently granted approval to RALL to recommence its floating armoury maritime security operations with Avant Garde as a joint venture.

In the report, the AG had mentioned that on 13 November 2015, the operations of maintaining a floating armoury, as per the said joint agreement, were forcibly taken over from Avant Garde and handed over to the Navy. 

According to the AG’s observations, the Navy is a body within the Government and therefore, the Government must be held responsible for forcibly taking over the floating armoury project. It was also noted that as per the Navy Act, No. 34 of 1950, the Navy is not permitted to engage in any commercial activity. 

However, Rambukwella explained that the Cabinet had given its approval for RALL to recommence its work with Avant Garde on the basis of the observations made and conditions laid out by the AG through a special report. 

“In the report, the AG has stated that RALL will have to pay compensation amounting to $ 20 million to Avant Garde against the breach of the said agreement, and that Avant Garde had suffered a loss of Rs. 21 billion as per a letter of demand sent to the Defence Secretary. If they filed legal action, the Government would perhaps have to pay Rs. 21 billion, for arbitration and the necessary measures that would need to be taken to prevent legal action over the claim.”