Former President Maithripala Sirisena appeared before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) for the first time on Tuesday (22).
He was summoned to the PCoI to present submissions on his statement, discrediting former Defense Secretary Hemasiri Fernando’s testimony at the Commission.
The former President’s personal secretary, in a letter issued on Sunday (20), has alleged that the former Defense Secretary Fernando has been maliciously lying before the Commission.
The attorney representing the former Defense Secretary stated that an external party discrediting an ongoing testimony, when the opportunity has been given for cross-examination, tarnishes the authority and the honour of the Commission.
Accordingly, the former President was notified to present submissions to the PCoI in this regard through an attorney.
President’s Counsel Maithri Gunaratne, who represented the former President, stated that any person has the right to speak up against any false statement. He also pointed out that his client’s media release on former Defence Secretary’s testimony and the Colombo Archdiocese’s on Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP Harin Fernando’s statement are partially similar.
The attorney representing His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith then told the PCoI that the Colombo Archdiocese issued their media release to prevent the Catholic community from being misled by the parliamentarian’s statement.
The former President’s attorney pointed out that his client issued his media release with a similar intention as his client’s supporters could be misled by the former Defence Secretary’s testimony.
The Additional Solicitor General of the Government then said the former President’s media release discredits the authority of the PCoI by taking its opinion to the public without following the proper procedure given to the respondents to cross-examine the testimony of a witness.
Thereby, she agreed to summon the personal secretary of the former President, Mr. Sameera de Silva, who issued the relevant, for evidence hearing.
The former Defence Secretary’s attorney insisted that legal action should be sought against the former President and his personal secretary. The chairman of the PCoI on Easter attacks then announced that the decision on the matter will be announced on Wednesday (23).
Further, the former President was notified to appear before the PCoI on Easter attacks on the 5th of October to give evidence. Meanwhile, former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was informed to appear before the panel on the 6th of October.