Are Sri Lankan authorities looking for the elusive Maloney business couple to question them in connection with the crisis at forestry management company, Touchwood?
The couple which has similar investments in Cambodia and Vietnam is yet to show up – after being asked to – before the Colombo-based Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for an inquiry pertaining to alleged fraudulent and suspicious transactions in the company.
Roscoe Maloney and his wife, Swarna, made waves in the Colombo circuit some years back launching Touchwood Investments which offered large tracts of forestry which was managed by the company on behalf of investors.
Their luck changed and eventually led to the Maloneys’ quitting and new owners taking over the company last month. The new owners have been involved in a series of musical chair appointments to the board with controversial parliamentarian D_uminda Silva taking up appointment and the next day resigning.
Touchwood Investment’s new management says that the Maloneys still control other related firms such as Touchwood Ltd, Twood Flooring (Pvt) Ltd, Touchwood (P) Ltd, Green Forestry Ventures (Pvt) Ltd, Farm Grow (Pvt) Ltd and foreign firms Touchwood Cambodia and Touchwood Forestry (Thailand). “Mr. Roscoe Maloney is still the chairman of these firms,” Lanka Kiwilegedera, Chairman Touchwood Investments told the Business Times, adding that his firm has ‘nothing’ to do with those firms.
He said three firms under the Maloneys owe more than Rs. 200 million to Touchwood Investments.
“In this company also there’s no ‘system’,” he said, adding that an internal audit for Touchwood Investment was started on Wednesday. “We found that the cash flow is completely corroded, but we still have hope, as our assets (plantations) remain intact.”
He said that under his direction ‘all’ sales and marketing operations have been temporarily halted.