(News article from tomorrow's Sunday Island Newspaper)
In a petition calling for the appointment of a provisional liquidator for Touchwood Investments PLC, Mr. K.A. Don Leonard Priyanka Nanayakkara of Kalapaluwawa has alleged that the two main individuals behind the management of the company who had been acting as Directors in other companies of the Touchwood group, Mr. Roscoe Maloney and Mrs. Swarna Maloney, have acted in a fraudulent and negligent manner and have shown no responsibility towards the investors and/or employees of the company and have continued the business according to their personal whims and fancies.
It appears that these two directors have now fled the country subsequent to the filing of the petition and, in the absence of the two key directors, there seems to be no other person of authority to address the issues of the investors and/or to manage the assets of the company as there have been continuous changes of the composition of the Board of Directors.
The petition has alleged that cheques issued to the investors have been issued fraudulently from a closed bank account of Touchwood (Pvt) Limited, an affiliate company of Touchwood Investments PLC.
The petition further said that there are many investors in many parts of the world who have suffered financial loss as a result of investing large sum of money in Touchwood plantation schemes.
The company has insufficient funds to pay the salaries of its employees and have not paid salaries of approximately 200 employees for the last two months. They had also failed to pay utility bills on time and there had been occasions where the company’s electricity supply was suspended due to non-payment of bills.
The petitioner states that it has been revealed that the Chairman and Vice Chairman have utilized company assets to fulfill their personal requirements and currently owe approximately between Rs.200 million to Rs.300 million to the company.
Touchwood being a public quoted company has been operating its business in an unsystematic and disorganized manner giving false promises and assurances to the investors to settle their dues. This has raised serious concern among the investors.
The petition has been settled in the Commercial High Court of the Western Province Holden in Colombo by Rozali Fernando and Avindra Rodrigo of F.J. & G. De Saram.