‘Political mistrust had no impact on Security Forces’ | Daily News


 

Maithri tells PCoI probing Easter Sunday terror attacks

‘Political mistrust had no impact on Security Forces’

Political mistrust between the two major stakeholders of the previous government did not create any division within the Security Forces or the intelligence units of the country, former President Maithripala Sirisena told the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) probing the Easter Sunday terror attacks today.

Giving testimony before the Commission for the second time, Sirisena while denying the claims said there was no impediment for any officer participating in the National Security Council (NSC) meetings to express their views.

He said he had never ordered or instructed the officers at the NSC to stop the investigations relating to matters of national security.

While stating that he had not banned any of the permanent members attending the meetings of the NSC, the former President accepted that he had informed some officials not to participate in it due to their irresponsible conduct and behaviour. Former IGP Pujith Jayasundara is one such officer, Sirisena said and added the “former IGP was subjected to severe criticism during his tenure. When he attended the meetings, his attention was focused only towards his mobile phones.

“He had not made any successful presentation as well. Therefore, I have advised him personally in this regard. At some times I had summoned Senior DIG of the CID Ravi Seneviratne instead of IGP”.

Sirisena also said that the President and the IGP had a good relationship at that time. The IGP met me on a number of occasions at various functions and also maintained close and friendly connections until I (the President) left for Singapore on April 16. The Prime Minister was not a permanent member of the NSC by that time,” former President Sirisena further added.

He said as the then President, he took all possible measures to eradicate religious extremism in the country. The magnitude of the Easter attack could be controlled to this limit only because he had taken such actions.

“My instructions were not followed properly. If Zahran was arrested in time, this attack would not have taken place. The police and the intelligence units who were present on the ground should be held responsible for these attacks taking place,” he added.

The former President also admitted that the National Security Council was not summoned weekly as there was a peaceful situation in the country. He said the NSC was called once a month in addition to several other meetings he had with the high-profile security personnel on a weekly basis.

However, the former President accepted that there had been no NSC meeting in March 2019, the month before the series of brutal attacks took place.

The former President will continue his testimony before the PCoI tomorrow (14).

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Fmr. President arrives before PCoI (10:25)

Former President Maithripala Sirisena has arrived before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) probing into the Easter Sunday attacks to give evidence.