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Saturday June 3rd, 2023

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 to ramp up weekend fuel deliveries after petrol price cut

More deaths reported at Sri Lanka fuel queues

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation will be operating on the weekend to complete all fuel deliveries to end vehicle queues forming outside fuel stations after the price revision earlier in the week, Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said.

“Instructions have been given to CPC and Ceylon Petroleum Storage Terminals to continue fuel deliveries on Saturday and Sunday this week to supply sufficient stocks to all fuel stations,” Minister Wijesekera said in a TWITTER.COM MESSAGE

“To reduce expenses on overtime, CPC and CPSTL have not been operating on Sundays and public holidays in the last 4 months,” Wijesekera said.

“Non-placement of orders by fuel stations from last Saturday, anticipating a price reduction, not maintaining minimum stocks, immediate increase in demand by consumers after the price revision, and quota increase have created shortages in the fuel stations.”

The Minister in April 2023 said all fuel stations would be required to maintain a minimum of 50 percent of stock tank capacity.

“I have asked CPC to review and suspend the license of fuel stations that had not maintained minimum stocks.” (Colombo/ June 02/ 2023)

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Sri Lanka bonds yield up at close, rupee at 291.75/292.50 against the US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s bonds closed steady on Friday, dealers said, following the central bank’s decision to cut its main policy rate by 250 basis points.

The Spot US dollar closed at 291.75/292.50 rupees, dealers said.

The rupee opened at 290.25/75 to the US dollar Thursday and closed at 292.50/295.50 to the US dollar.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2027 closed at 24.70/90 percent up from 24.50/90 percent a day earlier, dealers said.

A bond maturing on 15.05.2026 closed at 25.75/26.25 percent up from 25.00/26.00 percent a day earlier.

A bond maturing on 01.05.2025 closed at 27.00/30 percent, up from 26.30/27.00 per cent at last close.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2032 closed at 20.25/21.00 percent, up from 20.00/40 per cent at last close.
(Colombo/ June 02/2023)

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Sri Lanka’s shares edge up on positive macroeconomic sentiments

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s shares closed higher in trade on Friday, over positive macro-sentiments encouraging investors to redeem their interest towards buying, an analyst said.

The main All Share Price Index was up 0.72 percent or 62.19 points to 8,753.80,  while the most liquid index S&P SL20 was up 0.68 percent or 16.87 points to 2,487.29.

Sri Lanka’s inflation in the 12-months to May 2023 has eased to 25.2 percent from 35.3 percent a month earlier according to a revised Colombo Consumer Price Index calculated by the state statistics office.

Prior to the Monetary Policy investors were quite optimistic that inflation is to lower and interest rates will decrease and since exp, an analyst said.

Sri Lanka Central Bank is waiting for the government proposal on the domestic debt restructuring (DDR), the central bank governor Nandalal Weerasinghe said amid uncertainty over DDR and speculations over instability in the banking sector.

“On debt restructuring, the borrower is the ministry of finance’s treasury. Certainly we will announce what the strategy will be. We are waiting for a government proposal,” Weerasinghe said.

Sri Lanka’s investors are waiting on assurances to be made on debt restructuring and optimization, Central Bank Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe said, “It is up to the government to clear the uncertainty, because from our side we have done that part.”

The central bank cut the key policy rates by 250 basis points to spur a faltering economic growth as inflation was decelerating faster than it projected.

The speculation of DDR has hit the market and the risk premium has kept the market lending rates well above the central bank’s policy rates. The government has yet to present its plans on DDR.

Weerasinghe said the central bank has done its best to reduce the risk premium through bringing down the market lending rates while keeping the policy rates unchanged.

Sri Lanka’s President Ranil Wickremesinghe has discussed progress of International Monetary Fund program and debt restructuring during a visit of Deputy Managing Director Kenji Okamura, statement said.

“The discussion primarily focused on the progress of the IMF program between Sri Lanka and the IMF,” a statement from President’s office said.

“Attention was also paid to the on-going debt restructuring negotiations.”

However Officials from IMF have said Sri Lanka has to focus on expanding taxes.

“We discussed the importance of fiscal measures, in particular revenue measures, for a return to macroeconomic stability,” Deputy Managing Director Kenji Okamura said in a statement.

The finance ministry this week issued rules requiring everyone above 18 year of age to register to pay income tax.

“I was encouraged by the authorities’ commitment to negotiate a debt strategy in a timely and transparent manner.

The market generated a revenue of 738 million rupees, while the daily average was 1 billion rupees.

Top gainers in trade were Vallibel One, LOLC Finance and Browns Investment. (Colombo/June02/2023)

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