Former President Maithripala Sirisena believed that there was no threat to the National Security, and he may have thought that postponing the National Security Council (NSC) meetings would not be a problem, former Secretary to the President P. B. Abeykoon informed the PCoI probing Easter Sunday attacks on Friday.
Abeykoon had served as the Secretary to the President between the period of January 9, 2015, and June 30, 2017, and he had resigned from the position due to personal reasons.
Testifying before the Commission, Abeykoon said that the former President, former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and other officials had agreed to hold the NSC meetings only once a month, which were normally held once a week.
When Commissioners questioned the witness about the NSC’s proceedings during his tenure, the witness said that in early 2015, the NSC met once a week with the participation of the President, the Prime Minister, the State Minister of Defence, the President’s Secretary, the Secretary to the Minister of Defence, the heads of the Tri- forces and the IGP.
“Former Prime Minister also attended almost all the NSC meetings held during my tenure but later all the officials had agreed to conduct the meeting once a month and no specific date had been set up for the following NSC meeting,” Abeykoon informed the Commission.
The witness also said that Sirisena did not agree politically with his personal opinion that the NSC meeting should be held once a week.
“There was no serious conflicts between Sirisena and Wickremesinghe at that time but there were some disagreements over issues such as appointments. Those disagreements do not seem to be influence decisions pertaining to the national security, he said.
He also said that during his tenure, issues such as religious extremism, madrassa schools and the possible adverse effects of the ‘burqa’ were discussed at the NSC.(Yoshitha Perera)