Three-member committee unable to testify in detail at the PSC

The Chairman of the three-member presidential committee that probed the Easter attacks told the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on the strikes that they would have to rely on their memory to testify as all records of their investigation are not available.

Testifying today (20 Aug) at the PSC probing into Easter attacks Justice Vijith Malalgoda said that giving answers to questions by memory would mean that they are letting down their own report and the PSC.

The three-member committee was appointed by President Maithripala Sirisena on 22 April to investigate into the Easter attacks. It comprises Malalgoda, former Inspector General of Police (IGP) N. K. Illangakoon and former Secretary to the Ministry of Law and Order Padmasiri Jayamanne.

Initially, the committee was given only two weeks to prepare the report but the president extended the time till 30 May according to a request by the committee.

The first interim report was submitted to the president on 30 April and the second report was submitted at the end of the second week while requesting for an extension. The final report was submitted to the president on 10 June.

The final report contained an executive summary, the main report, recommendations and credible documents.

Malalgoda said that there were 2 copies of the final report where one was given to the president and the other with the committee, but then later the presidential secretariat had informed them to make 10 more copies and hand them to the secretariat along with the copy they had.

“All the written evidence, all the official letters and documents gathered by the committee were separately arranged and was sent to the secretary of the committee where he informed us by a letter on 2 July that he had submitted them all the National Archives,” he added.

Copies of the intelligence documents gathered were given back to those intelligence units and short notes, worksheets, written copies and other documents were shredded in front of the committee.

Voice records of the witness were also cleaned from the recording machines under the supervision of a specialist sent from the presidential secretariat.

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So Malalgoda said that they now have only their appointment letter and the letter sent by the secretary on 2 July, “because we decided to be cautious about this matter as it relates to national security,” he added.

“We can only testify about the matters related to the administration of the committee clearly but we would have to testify about the witnesses and the proposals through our memory,” Malalgoda said.

He said that since police officers were summoned to the committee just after a day or two after the attacks the committee made several observations about the conduct of certain police officers as they did not have the time think or be prepared.

The committee did not make specific recommendations or observations with regard to one individual or with regard to charges that should be levelled against them but the committee said that the involvement of the officers needs to be investigated.

Further, he said that although the committee was not appointed under the special presidential commission act they were able to get the support of the witnesses and was able to summon about 60 people to the committee.

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