Controversial MP D_uminda Silva has submitted his resignation from the Board of Touchwood Investments PLC (TWOD) as a Non Executive Independent Director with immediate effect.
His decision was conveyed to TWOD Directors and Company Secretaries as well as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
In an apparent late yet welcome realisation, D_uminda in his letter announcing the decision to step down has said the economic and social impact of what TWOD is striving to achieve were key reasons for his original decision to accept the invitation to join the Board.
However unfolding events currently reported in the print media have highlighted issues which D_uminda said the TWOD management and Board need to resolve on an urgent basis.
D_uminda has noted with concern the suspension issued on the trading of shares of TWOD with immediate effect following the company’s AGM; media reporting that yet another investigation has been instituted by the SEC and media reporting intimating that both the Chairman and the CEO (and Deputy Chairperson) of the company have relinquished their respective executive offices thus remaining as Non Executive Directors.
“Under these circumstances I am reluctantly compelled to submit my resignation as a Non Executive Independent Director of the company with immediate effect. I wish the company and Board of Directors the very best in its future endeavours,” stated D_uminda’s letter.
In the letter however he has acknowledged the core objectives of TWOD encompassing the development of sustainable harvestable timber resources, reforestation and agricultural products as “laudable” initiatives in the context of global warming, climate change and improving Sri Lanka’s export agricultural performance.
Company analysts welcomed the move by D_uminda whose appointment last week raised serious concerns over issues of good governance. This is on account of D_uminda being accused in the murder of Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra in a political fracas two years ago. The MP has pleaded innocent in the case which is still ongoing.
TWOD didn’t go public with D_uminda’s decision yesterday though the Daily FT learns the resignation letter was dated 29 September (Sunday).
Soon after his appointment last Tuesday, some investors took strength and hoped for a decisive revival fuelling a sharp rise in TWOD’s shares. On the same day the TWOD share price shot up by 72% to Rs. 3.10.
Some shareholders at TWOD’s AGM on Thursday even hailed D_uminda’s appointment.
TWOD finished the week at Rs. 4.80, up by Rs. 3.10 or 182% with 105 million shares (almost the entirety of shares in issue) transacted via 7,919 trades for Rs. 371.2 million. Yesterday the TWOD share closed at Rs. 5.10 up by 6.25% or 30 cents. It hit an intra-day high of Rs. 5.60. It will be interesting to see how retail investors would react to the resignation of D_uminda, who despite his wide notoriety remains popular among his electorate.
Some analysts viewed D_uminda’s resignation to saner counsel prevailing given the fact that TWOD is embroiled in litigation following action filed by a defrauded customer whilst auditing and accounting standards regulator as well as the SEC have previously filed cases against TWOD as well.