In a bizarre twist following last week’s damning revelations by Former Secretary of Defence Hemasiri Fernando on the former President, Former President and now MP Mathripala Sirisena attended this (22) morning’s proceedings of the PCoI on the Easter Sunday Attacks uninvited and unannounced. He left the Commission at around 12.10 pm after being seated at the venue for nearly two hours despite not being called before it.
The former President is said to have seated and listened to the evidence being provided by former IGP Pujith Jayasundara.
Last week Fernando had levelled some serious allegations against Sirisena, including information about how Sirisena had demanded the IGP transfer of CID officer IP Nishantha Silva investigating several top profile cases on the request of Former CDS Ravindra Wijegunaratne. He also said that former President Maithripala Sirisena had not allowed immediate action against the Sri Lankans who had returned after fighting for the Islamic State (IS) and extremist foreign preachers because he feared upsetting Muslim politicians.
The witness said in the previous government, Muslim politicians had frequently intervened to prevent the arrest of a number of criminals. Fernando alleged that perhaps the National Thowheed Jamaat leader Zahran Hashim could have been arrested prior to Easter Sunday attacks if not for such political pressure. He also said on April 24, 2019, had told former IGP Pujith Jayasundara that if the latter took the blame for the Easter Sunday bombings he would be given his pension and posted to any country of his choice as an ambassador.
Fernando also said that around 25 and 30 decisions taken by him as the Defence Secretary had not been implemented due to President Maithripala Sirisena’s interference.
Releasing a statement through his media secretary Sirisena had later refuted these allegations. Sirisena has been notified to appear before the Commission on October 5. However, when called before the Police unit of the PCoI previously to obtain a statement, Sirisena had informed the Commission he was not able to and instead officer of the Unit had to visit his home on August 26. However, following the latest allegations, Sirisena has voiced his interest in providing evidence before the PCoI in person. Some claim this sudden visit and interest in the PCoI maybe a sign of guilt displayed by the veteran politician.