Sri Lanka’s parliament warned President Maithripala Sirisena not to scuttle a controversial investigation into security lapses before the Easter suicide bombings, the Speaker’s office said yesterday.
The warning came after Sirisena said he would not cooperate with the parliamentary probe and would not allow defence or police officials to testify before the select committee (PSC).
The president called an emergency cabinet meeting on Friday night to oppose the legislature’s investigation into the April 21 attacks that killed 258 people, including 45 foreigners, and wounded nearly 500.
“Any public servant summoned by the PSC is obliged to give evidence,” Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said in a hard-hitting two-page response to Sirisena.
“Officials are fully aware of the serious consequences if they fail to respond.”
Officials at the Speaker’s office said Jayasuriya made it clear to Sirisena that he will not call off the PSC and it will continue its public hearings.
Evidence before the parliamentary select committee, which began its publicly televised sittings since late last month, has placed the president in a poor light, suggesting that he failed to act on advance warning of the attacks.
On Saturday, Sirisena’s office said he sacked his national intelligence chief Sisira Mendis who testified that the devastating attacks against three churches and three luxury hotels could have been avoided.
Sirisena’s defence secretary and police chief have suggested that the president, who is also defence minister, did not follow proper protocols in dealing with a specific warning from an Indian intelligence agency.