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Thursday December 1st, 2022

Sri Lanka Easter attacks commission recommends criminal proceedings against President Sirisena

FILE PHOTO – Navy personnel guarding the Kochchikade shrine after the Easter Sunday attacks/Pathum Dhananjana EconomyNext

ECONOMYNEXT – The Presidential Commission of Inquiry (CoI) on the 2019 Easter bombings has recommended that criminal proceedings be instituted against former President Maithripala Sirisena and others, according to sections of the CoI report shared by opposition MP Harin Fernando. No action has been recommended against former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, though the commission has faulted him  for not raising the issue of not being invited to security council meetings in parliament or cabinet and also for an alleged “lax approach” to Islamic extremism.

Photos of the report’s conclusions as tweeted by MP Fernando this afternoon show the CoI noting that President Sirisena had departed to India and Singapore in the days preceding the deadly April 21 attack without appointing an acting Minister of Defence despite possessing knowledge of a possible threat from the perpetrators.

“No doubt, in terms of the Constitution, there appears to be discretion in the President in the making of an acting appointment. Nevertheless, in the given circumstances, President Sirisena should have made an acting appointment,” the report said.

“Based on the evidence, the COI is of the view that there is criminal liability on his part for the acts or omissions explained above. The COI recommends that the Attorney General consider instituting criminal proceedings against President Sirisena under any suitable provision in the Penal Code,” it added.

In its report, the commission also faults then Director of the State Intelligence Service (SIS) Nilantha Jayawardena of “not attaching the weight he should’ve attached” to the intelligence of the threat when he conveyed it to Sirisena prior to the latter’s departure. This was also reflected in the communication that Jayawardena had sent to Inspector General of Police (IGP) Pujith Jayasundara on April 9, the report noted.

“In particular, he has diluted the weight of the intelligence by the Indian intelligence,” it said.

The CoI was appointed by former President Sirisena himself on September 22, 2019, to investigate the series of bombings that killed 267 people and injured at least 500, many of whom were Catholic or Christians of other denominations. The final report of the commission was handed over to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in late January this year.

A delay in making the report public drew criticism from opposition lawmakers as well as Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith who earlier this month urged the government to reveal the commission’s findings. The cardinal also declared his intention to go to an international court if Sri Lanka failed to bring the attackers and the masterminds to justice.

The final report was handed to Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena in parliament today. The document is currently at the parliament library for the perusal of MPs.

Among other highlights of the report is a conclusion that, based on available evidence, certain officers and authorities are responsible for failure to pre-determine and prevent the attacks.

Accusing a number of Islamist groups that the CoI that caused or supported “racial and religious disturbances” for creating public unrest and disturbed social order, the commission also assigned blame to the Sinhalese Buddhist organisation knows as the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) for having “contributed to the events”.

The CoI also concluded that the attacks that were carried out by Zaharan Hashim and others were mainly funded by the Ibrahim brothers Inshaf and Ilham who came from a wealthy family of spice traders.

The commission noted that since the constitutional crisis of 2018, in which President Sirisena ousted then Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and appointed former President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his place, Sirsena had not invited Wickremesinghe for any of the National Security Council (NSC) meetings.

“The COI sees no justifiable reason for the failure to do so on the part of President Sirisena. However, it was incumbent on the Prime Minister to have raised this in Parliament or at the Cabinet in order to ensure that the status quo is restored. The failure on the part of Prime Minister Wickremesinghe to do so and after the Easter attack take up the position that he was not invited is unacceptable,” the report said.

The commission has also highlighted what it calls the “lax approach” adopted by Wickremesinghe towards Islam extremism as Prime Minister. (Colombo/Feb23/2021)

Comments (3)

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  1. Chris Silva says:

    Hope all pages intact. No ජිල්මාට්.

  2. Samson says:

    Everyone who has been named responsible for not stopping the bomb attack should be prosecuted irrespective of the positions or allegiances.

  3. Laksiri says:

    Another commission to check previous report and it take another five years.

    We need to set up new commission to find what is writing with known in our systems and how to fixed this shed .

View all comments (3)

Comments (3)

Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Chris Silva says:

    Hope all pages intact. No ජිල්මාට්.

  2. Samson says:

    Everyone who has been named responsible for not stopping the bomb attack should be prosecuted irrespective of the positions or allegiances.

  3. Laksiri says:

    Another commission to check previous report and it take another five years.

    We need to set up new commission to find what is writing with known in our systems and how to fixed this shed .

Sri Lanka’s inflation eases to 61-pct in November

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s 12-month inflation in the capital Colombo fell to 61 percent in November 2022 from 66 percent in October as price stabilized after interest rates were allowed to go up and the exchange rate was pegged around 360 to the US dollar.

The widely watched Colombo Consumer Price Index fell absolutely 0.5 percent to 242.6 points in November after falling .04 percent in the October.

Food prices fell 1.5 percent after falling 2.0 percent a month earlier. The sub-index containing gas fell 0.5r percent and transport fell 3.6 percent.

But some services continued to go up, as relative prices adjusted to the steep fall in the currency after two years of money printing to suppress rates.

Health costs went up 5.7 percent. Furnishing and routine maintenance rose 0.4 percent.

Sri Lanka’s central bank hiked policy rates to 15.5 percent in April and pulled back on longer term money printing, allowing market rates to go to around 30 percent.

The exchange rater is pegged around 363 rupees with a surrender rule where banks are forced to sell dollars to the central bank for new liquidity.

The ongoing currency and inflation crisis is the worst in the history of the central bank.

Sri Lanka’s Latin America style central bank was set up in 1950 giving powers to the country’s macro-economists the power to mis-target rates, create currency crisis and high inflation. (Colombo/Nov30/2022)

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Sri Lanka shares close at one-month high

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka shares closed at one month high on Wednesday gaining for the fourth session on news that government is in talks with ADB and World Bank to get a 1.9 billion dollar loan facility, brokers said.

The main All Share Price Index (ASPI) closed 3.3 percent or 276.02 points higher at 8,651.23, highest index gain in since November 01.

“Investor participation improved on the back of confirmed talks with multilateral and bilateral lenders including world banks and ADB for USD 1.9Bn after IMF board level agreement is reached,” First Capital Market Research said in it’s daily note.

Former Central Bank Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy said in a forum on Monday that the government is in discussion with ADB and World Bank to get loans of 1.9 billion US dollars after a reform program with International Monetary Fund is approved

A policy loan now being discussed with the World Bank may bring around 700 million US dollars, Coomaraswamy told a business forum organized by CT CLSA Securities, a Colombo-based brokerage.

The Asian Development Bank may also give around 1.2 billion US dollars most of which will be budget support, he said.

The market witnessed a turnover of 3.3 billion rupees, higher than this year’s daily average turnover of 2.9 billion rupees. This is the highest turnover generated since October 04.

In the last few sessions market gained after Central bank governor said market rates should eventually ease despite the fears of a domestic debt restructuring as inflation falls, increased liquidity in dollar markets, and the inter-bank liquidity improves.

In the past sessions, the index continued to fall on the speculation of a local debt restructuring although no proper decision has been taken so far.

The market saw a foreign inflow of 39 million rupees. The total net foreign inflow stood at 18.33 billion rupees so far for this year.

The more liquid index S&P SL20 closed 3.4 percent or 89.78 points higher at 2,730.08.

The ASPI has fallen 0.5 percent in November after losing 13.4 percent in October.

It has lost 29.2 percent year-to-date after being one of the world’s best stock markets with an 80 percent return last year when large volumes of money were printed.

Sampath Bank pushed the index up to close at 10.9 percent to 36.6 rupees.

Other top gainers were Browns Investment gained 15.4 percent to close at 7.5 rupees and LOLC gained 9.4 percent to close at 411.3 rupees.(Colombo/Nov30/2022)

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Sri Lanka bonds, T-bills ease, overall market dull

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s treasury bonds eased and T-bill yields fell on the speculation on talks with ADB and World Bank to obtain financial aid but the over all market was dull on Wednesday while the Central Bank’s guidance peg remained unchanged, dealers said.

“During the day, secondary market witnessed some buying interest on the back of speculations on yields easing while talks about financial aid from ADB and World Bank further strengthened interest,” First Capital Market Research said in it’s daily note.

A bond maturing on 01.05.2024 closed at 32.00/60 percent on Wednesday, down from 32.30/90 percent on Tuesday.

A bond maturing on 07.07.2025 bond closed at 30.80/31.30 percent up from 30.30/31.25 percent on Tuesday.

A bond maturing on 15.05.2026 closed at 31.00/30 percent down from 31.10/31.30 percent on Tuesday.

The three-month T-bills closed at 32.30/33.25 percent, down from 32.60/33.00 percent.

The Central Bank’s guidance peg for interbank transactions remained unchanged at 363.19 rupees against the US dollar.

Commercial banks offered dollars for telegraphic transfers between 371.79 and 372.10 for small transactions, data showed.

Buying rates are between 361.79 – 362.00 rupees. (Colombo/Nov 30/2022)

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