Sri Lanka: President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday disclosed that there was the involvement of a Cabinet Minister in a plot to assassinate him and that there had been tremendous pressure on investigations.
“There were instances of some responsible officers of the Attorney General’s Department evading investigation duties. Under these political problems, economic troubles and the strong plot to assassinate me, the only alternative open to me was to invite former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and appoint him as Prime Minister to form a new government” the President said in a special address to the nation.
He said: “Recently, a person called Namal Kumara came before the media and disclosed about a plot to assassinate me and Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. I handed over the task of investigations to the Criminal Investigations Department. However, Inspector General of Police did not assign the investigations to the CID”.
Instead he said it was given to another division. Then he (President)realised that there was an issue of trust about the investigations. Within 48 hours of the disclosure made to the media by the person called Namal Kumara and investigations could be commenced on the plot, Inspector General of Police made a statement stating that there was a doubt about the voices in the tape recording provided by that person.
“I would like to raise the question, with respect, is it suitable for a Police chief to behave in such a shameless manner and express doubts about the recording, without seeking any technical expert advice on the tape recording, when there was a revelation that a plot was hatched to assassinate the President of the country”?
The President also said once forming the government, former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe arrogantly and stubbornly avoided collective decisions, and tended to take individual decisions. This behaviour led to many conflicts. Due to his lack of collective decision making through discussion, our country had to face harsh consequences when he used to take decisions with a group of his very close associates.
“I suggested to him that we should take our decisions after proper discussion to achieve the goals of good governance. However, he ignored the aspirations of over six million and two hundred thousand people. I am very worried about that. I accepted the leadership of this country to ensure creative governance upholding the principles of good governance and that is free of corruption or fraud”.
The President also said that the committee set up by Ranil Wickremesinghe to manage economy was totally fraudulent. The decisions taken by that committee were fraudulent. It was a major challenge to abolish it.
“As an alternative to that Committee, I have established the National Economic Council. Mr Ranil Wickremesinghe has taken everything possible to weaken that Commission. The monthly emoluments for the economic expert, who was appointed the head of the Commission was paid by an international monetary institution respected by all of us. On Mr Wickremesinghe’s advise, that payment was stopped. Mr Wickremesinghe took steps to prevent the Commission from functioning. I clearly state that this crisis situation has emerged due to Mr Wickremesinghe’s stubborn decisions”, the President said .
“I believe that the result of the Local Government elections that was held last February was a warning by the people to correct the course of the government. At that moment, I called Mr. Wickremesinghe and other leaders of the UNP and explained “People have taught us a lesson about the way we have governed, and we must correct ourselves now”. And I told Mr Wickremesinghe; “You have acquired my powers to do what you did, and I silently gave you that power in gratitude as you took leadership to bring me to power.” As a result of my gratefulness, which is a noble human quality, the country had to suffer very bad consequences.
The President also said the former Prime Minister’s political conduct was unbecoming of civilised politics and and Wickremesinghe and his group of closest friends, who belonged to a privileged class and did not understand the pulse of the people and conducted themselves as if shaping the future of the country was a fun game they played.” I feel that Hon. Wickremesinghe grossly violated the very principles of good governance we pledged to uphold”.
“Mr Ranil Wickremesinghe and the UNP complain that the establishment of a new government and appointment of Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister was contradictory to the provisions of the Constitution of Sri Lanka.
I categorically state that the appointment were made totally in accordance with the Constitution and the on advice of legal experts. No constitutional violation was done when appointments were made and removal was enacted. With all respect, I completely reject the charge that what was done was a violation of the Constitution”.