Written by Staff Writer
26 Jul, 2017 | 8:43 pm
Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake failed to appear before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry today, even after being issued with summons for a second time.
President’s Counsel Rienzie Arsecularatne, appearing for Minister Ravi Karunanayake, informed the Commission that his client was summoned to the National Security Council (NSC) meeting and was unable to come today.
The Commission was informed that Minister Karunanayake was not available tomorrow and the day after due to parliamentary sessions and on Monday, as he will be travelling to the Maldives.
Accordingly, it was informed that the Minister will be available on Wednesday, August 2, and the Commission instructed the attorney to convey to Karunanayake that he must be present on that day.
The Commission was also keen to know if the Minister will be available even during the weekend as it dedicated the entirety of today for the evidence of Karunanayake.
When media questioned Minister Karunanayake as to why he did not appear before the Commission, he claimed that he is summoned before Commission while nothing has been done against those who were in the former regime.
He also said he will reveal certain information, when he appears before the Commission.
Minister Karunanayake had urged the Speaker to investigate the breach of privileges by the Presidential Commission of Inquiry who summoned him on a “busy day” when a cabinet meeting and parliament sitting were held.
The minister had said he had no intention of disobeying the summons issued by the Presidential Commission of Inquiry and will appear before it as soon as parliamentary duties permit him.
The minister, saying that Parliament was a supreme body as per the Constitution, said the right of a member to attend Parliament without hindrance or obstruction was a long recognised privilege as per the Parliament Powers and Privileges Act in the UK, other Commonwealth Parliaments and Sri Lanka.
Meanwhile, the Attorney General’s Department had found it necessary to conduct a digital forensic examination on the communication devices used by Arjuna Mahendran from January 1, 2015.
They made a request from the Commission to issue a directive for former Governor Arjuna Mahendran to submit his communication devices for the examination.
The AG’s Department stated that it has sufficient grounds to make the request, adding that it was imperative that the devices be obtained for examination.
Counsel for Mahendran opposed the request made in a public chamber. However, the AG’s Department noted that the public have a right to know about the proceedings of this Commission and the message is conveyed through the media.
Arjun Aloysius had handed over his mobile phone to the CID on Monday. However, it had only been used for the past six months.
The AG’s Department pointed out that it continues to investigate two people connected to the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and seeks more time to present the best evidence before the Commission.
The Commission reiterated that it is determined to prepare a complete and impartial report, leaving no stone unturned.
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