- The main leaders focused on their rifts and not national security
- After the formation of the 52-day government, the clash between the former president and former prime minister intensified
By Yoshitha Perera
Former President Maithripala Sirisena and former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe have to take the sole responsibility over the Easter Sunday attacks, a senior military intelligence officer attached to the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI) informed the PCoI probing Easter Sunday attacks yesterday.
The Commissioners then questioned the witness who did not wish to have his name quoted in the media, how could he claim so if the main heads in the country were not informed about the attacks in advance.
Responding to the question the witness said during that time there were several issues and rifts with regard to the main heads in the country and they were not interested about the national security.
“After the formation of the 52-day government, the clash between the former president and former prime minister intensified and this had a direct impact on the country’s national security,” the witness said.
The witness also said that it became an open secret that the National Security Council (NSC) would hold the meetings only when former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was not in the country.
“Even State Intelligence Service (SIS) Director Nilantha Jayawardena said that the defence secretary or political heads didn’t care about intelligence shared during the meetings,” the witness said.
It was also informed to the Commission that former President Maithripala Sirisena had separate NSC meetings at his Paget Road residence and through Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando he had informed IGP and former Prime Minister not to attend those meetings.
The witness also said that several attempts made by the CNI, DIG Sisira Mendis to meet former Defence Secretaries to meet Kapila Waidyaratne or Hemasiri Fernando to brief them of the threats posed by radicalism, failed as the defence secretaries were focused in different matters.
Witness informed the Commission that former CNI Sisira Mendis had a vast level of experience on investigations and he was always willing to listen to other officers attached to his institution.
“I suggested CNI needs to meet with defence secretaries at least once a week and we can make presentations.
CNI took our request seriously and tried to meet the defence secretaries with the files we had prepared. But I think due to the workload, the defence secretaries didn’t meet CNI,” the witness said.
The witness said that he attended a number of weekly Intelligence Coordinating Meetings and that the issue of radicalism was raised during those meetings.
Providing further evidence the witness said that former Governor of the Western Province, Azath Salley and the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU) organisation expressed their dissatisfaction over the implementation of a systematic programme by former Chief of National Intelligence (CNI), Sisira Mendis to regulate foreign persons coming to Madrasa schools for teaching.