Former President rejects call records between him and ex-SIS Director
Former President Maithripala Sirisena stated that despite phone records showing 25 phone calls made by former State Intelligence Service (SIS) Director Nilantha Jayawardena to him, between April 01 and April 21, 2019, he had not been warned of the foreign intelligence warning at any point.
Further when confronted with more records showing phone calls from the SIS Chief patched through to him in Singapore where he was allegedly seeking medical treatment, the former Head of State denied having spoken to the intel chief citing his inability to speak due to his condition.
Former President Sirisena declined to reveal the details of his condition in the presence of media personnel.
The former President was cross-examined by the President’s Counsel PC) Shamil Perera, representing the Archbishop of Colombo, at the Presidential Commission of Inquiry probing the 2019 Easter Sunday terror attacks, yesterday (24).
At the outset the PC asked the former President, “You had instructed Nilantha Jayawardena, the Director of SIS, that if there of any important national security information, he should inform you directly. Did he not inform you about this information?”
To this Sirisena replied, “Yes I did instruct Nilantha Jayawardena to do so at the National Security Council, but no one informed me of this unfortunate until it happened on Easter Sunday.”
The PC then asked the former President whether he made it a practice to contact Nilantha Jayawardena on the phone daily. He replied, “No, there were no such daily phone calls with him.”
PC Shamil Perera then told the former Head of State, “Despite your claims telephone records show that there were 221 phone calls between Nilantha Jayawardena and your residence at Paget Road from January 01 to April 31, 2019.”
The former President replied, “Even though the records show this, I do not remember calling him too many times. I do not know if Nilantha called my residence so many times. I did not have time to answer so many calls.”
The PC then stated, “However, these documents show data related to such calls. Can you say that they are not accurate?” To this he replied, “I don’t have an understanding of technology. I don’t even use a phone. Therefore, I do not have the knowledge to understand those reports.”
Following this, while presenting the phone records to the Commission for reference, the PC asked the former President, “These records prove that there were 20 telephone conversations between you and the former Director of SIS between April 01 and April 21 last year. Hence, do you expect us to believe that former SIS Chief did not inform you about the April 04 intelligence?”
Then the former president replied, “I do not have a great understanding of these phone records.”
PC Shamil Perera then referred one of his junior lawyers to assist the former president.
Former President Sirisena then stated, “Despite these reports, I do not agree that I spoke so many times to him. Nilantha may have called my officials residence at Paget Road, but I cannot agree that I spoke so much to him.”
The Counsel then stated “At 4.12 pm the former SIS Chief was informed by foreign intelligence sources that there will be an attack on or before the next day on Easter Sunday. After that, at 6.16 pm on the same day Nilantha Jayawardena called you, according to these reports.”
The former Head of State replied, “Despite what the records show, I was being treated at a Singapore hospital at the time.”
To this, the PC stated, “Even though you say you didn’t take any phone calls while you were in Singapore in April 20, records show that a large number of calls were patched through from your Paget Road residence to the mobile phone of your personal security officer who was in Singapore.”
The witness replied, “I am telling you the truth. I was being treated at the hospital that day and I do not want to explain the condition I was in at the time, with the media present.”
The PC then asked the witness, “If so, can you tell me this, Nilantha Jaywardena gave you a 1 minute 38 second call through Paget Road to your phone in Singapore at 7.49 am, just before the first bomb blast took place. What do you have to say about that?”
The former President replied, “I do not accept that even though it is in the records. I was not in a condition to speak at the time. I am telling the truth. I can submit medical reports if necessary.”
PC Shamil Perera then stated, “Although you now say that you had difficulty speaking on the morning of the attack, there are reports that a large number of calls were connected to your phone that morning.”
The former President then stated, “Despite the records showing as such, I reject these reports.”
To this, PC asked him, “Right now you are saying that on the day of the attack you had difficulty in talking, if you had such difficulty before the attack, how could you have taken 07 consecutive calls after this attack?”