Court refuses enjoining order sought over termination of Serene Pavilions CEO

March, 19, 2014

The Commercial High Court today (March 19) refused an enjoining order sought by Anura Lokuhetty, restraining his termination as the CEO of the Serene Pavilions Hotel.

The Commercial High Court of Colombo in December issued an interim order restraining 3 directors nominated by Mr. Anura Lokuhetty and South West Holdings Ltd, a company controlled by Mr. Lokuhetty, from acting as directors of Serene Pavilions (Pvt) Ltd, a luxury hotel management company situated in Wadduwa.

The court also reinstated Chart Business Systems (Pvt.) Ltd as the Secretaries of Serene Pavilions (Private) Limited.

As a result of the said order, a group of majority shareholders led by Mr. Clive Leach, a British businessman, have been firmly vested with the control of the company.

The petition, naming 13 respondents and seeking several declaratory and interim reliefs against the 3 of the respondents on the premise that their appointment to the Board of Directors is illegal.

Therefore the judge today issued an interim order preventing the 3 respondents from exercising any powers as directors of Serene Pavilions.

Reports indicate that there is an internal dispute regarding the ownership of the boutique hotel between its owner, British national Clive William Leach CBE and the hotel’s CEO and shareholder Anura Lokuhetty.

Lokuhetty is said to have removed the company secretaries Chart Business Systems and appointed R & J Corporate Secretaries in a decision taken by a board comprising of his own family. He is reported to have held the decisive board meeting at his residence in Rajagiriya and had appointed his son as a board member along with two others while his wife, who was also a board member, was present to vote on the decision as well.

The owner, Mr. Leach, who owns 38% of the shares, told Ada Derana in an exclusive interview that he met Lokuhetty 20 years ago while Lokuhetty was working for another hotel.

He stated that both his and Lokuhetty’s families had shared a friendly relationship and that he had even given Lokuhetty 30% of the shares in Serene Pavilions as a reward for his efforts in establishing the hotel.

He now claims that Lokuhetty is planning to forcibly take control of the hotel and had even gone to the extent of complaining to Immigration officials that Leach was in Sri Lanka without a valid visa.

Leach who arrived in Sri Lanka to handle the issue had along with other board members decided to remove Lokuhetty from his post after the CEO had submitted a list of new directors to the Registrar of Companies.

He claimed that he was forced to leave Sri Lanka due to the intimidation he received and regrettably added that stronger laws had to be implemented within the country in order to protect the interests of foreign investors.