Written by Zulfick Farzan
15 Oct, 2020 | 6:01 pm
Colombo (News 1st); Telecommunication analysis at the Presidential Commission of Inquiry probing the 2019 April 21st Attacks revealed State Intelligence Service Director Nilantha Jayawardena contacted Ex-President Maithripala Sirisena on multiple occasions from 04th to 16th April 2019 before the latter went overseas.
In his testimony, Maithripala Sirisena said Nilantha Jayawardena did not communicate the Foreign Intelligence received on the 04th of April in any single conversation.
The Former President said the State Intelligence Service Director failing to inform the President of such intelligence information is a serious flaw and offense, as definite instructions were given to appraise the President on all intelligence matters.
The Additional Solicitor General assisting the PCoI questioned the Ex-President if SIS Director Nilantha Jayawardena contacted him through the President’s Paget Road residence when Maithripala Sirisena was in Singapore.
Responding in the affirmative, the Former President said the SIS Director contacted and informed him about the explosions and the fatalities.
However, the Additional Solicitor General pointed out the phone call in question was made before the explosions had taken place and questioned how would he inform the Ex-President of an explosion in such circumstances.
The Former President had replied saying he did not recall receiving a phone call in the morning, since he was hospitalized in Singapore at the time.
The Former President also pointed out the difference in time between Singapore and Sri Lanka.
Producing a telecommunication analysis report, the Additional Solicitor General assisting the PCoI said the phone call in question according to local time was made before the explosions had taken place.
The Former President said he does not recall such a phone call.
Citing there was no unfavorable situation in the country to appoint an Acting Minister of Defence when going overseas, the Former President said he could be contacted anytime due to advances in technology.
A Commissioner questioned the Ex-President as to why an officer from the State Intelligence Service could not contact him, despite the existence of such advanced technology as claimed by the witness.
Maithripala Sirisena said on the 20th and 21st of April 2019 he was hospitalized and during those two days, even his Private Security personnel were not allowed to be close to him.
The Former President dismissed as false a statement which was made claiming he offered a diplomatic post to the Ex-IGP if the latter accepted responsibility for failing to prevent the attacks.
Following the attacks, Intelligence Services from other nations arrived in the country and assisted the investigations, said Maithripala Sirisena adding there was no indication that IS directly ordered the attacks or the link between IS and the attacks.
The Additional Solicitor General assisting the Presidential Commission of Inquiry said Former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in his testimony noted everyone must be collectively responsible for the April 21st Attacks.
The Former President said the officers who failed to prevent the attacks even when there were opportunities to do so, must be held responsible for the terror attacks.
The PCoI said 04 suspects were arrested as per the provisions of the Prevention of Terrorism Act with regard to the discovery of a weapons cache in Wanathavilluwa on the 16th of January 2019 and less than three months after the arrest, two of those suspects were released.
The Ex-President said if such an event had taken place, the person who recommended the release should be held responsible.
However, the PCoI pointed out it was the Ex-President himself who had signed the release papers.
Maithripala Sirisena said he placed his signature on multiple documents presented to him by the Criminal Investigations Department and the Ministry of Defence adding he was not able to peruse the contents of each and every document individually.
When the Commission questioned Former President Maithripala Sirisena on events reported before the attacks, he said if that is the case there should only be a President in the Country.
He said the Defence Secretary, Inspector General of Police, Commanders of the Armed Forces, Intelligence services must ensure they fulfill their duties and responsibilities.
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