Shehan Chamika Silva
The Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) investigating the controversial Issuance of Bonds today said it requires the testimony of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in order to “obtain a few clarifications and any other evidence which may be necessary”.
Issuing a statement at the commencement of the today’s session, the Commission noted that it had perused the affidavit given to the Commission by the Prime Minister and that the Commission had certain clarifications to be made.
“With regard to the questions forwarded to the Hon. Prime Minister by this Commission of Inquiry, we have received an affidavit affirmed to by the Prime Minister. The Commissioners have carefully perused this affidavit and we would like to obtain a few clarifications and any other evidence which may be necessary. Therefore, we will be requesting the Hon. Prime Minister to attend a Hearing of this Commission of Inquiry for that purpose” the statement said.
Accordingly, the Commission said that the date at which the Prime Minister would be required to attend the hearing would be notified in due course after ascertaining “with the Prime Ministers office the availability of the Hon. Prime Minister”
Submitting the affidavit, the Prime Minister earlier expressed his willingness to appear before the commission if necessary. The PCoI yesterday said the decision to summon the Prime Minister was made after thoroughly perusing the affidavit.
Although the statement issued earlier in the day said that the only other hearing would be for the purpose of the testimony of the Prime Minister, it was decided last evening that the Commission would conduct hearings on November 16.
The final report of the commission is due on December 8. In its statement the Commission said that it had to analyse lengthy testimonies of over 70 witnesses and over 450 documents are required prior to December 08, at which point the mandate of the Commission ends.
Full Statement made on November 2, 2017:
The Commission of Inquiry is holding this special Hearing today for the specific purpose of recording the evidence of a few more witnesses. This evidence has been obtained by the officers of the Hon.
Attorney General’s Department who are assisting this Commission of Inquiry. We have agreed with the submission made by the officers of the Hon. Attorney General’s Department, that this evidence may be relevant to our investigation and inquiry in terms of our mandate. That is why, despite the limited time available to us to prepare and finalize our report, we have decided to hold this special Hearing today.
With regard to the questions forwarded to the Hon. Prime Minister by this Commission of Inquiry, we have received an affidavit affirmed to by the Hon. Prime Minister. The Commissioners have carefully perused this affidavit and we would like to obtain a few clarifications and any other evidence which may be necessary. Therefore, we will be requesting the Hon. Prime Minister to attend a Hearing of this Commission of Inquiry for that purpose. The date on which that Hearing will be held, will be decided in due course and will be notified in the usual manner.
When deciding that date, we have to take in to account the fact that, Justice Jayawardena is recovering from surgery held on 17 October and finds it difficult to attend another Hearing for the next two weeks or so. Further, we think it appropriate to consult the Hon. Prime Minister office to ascertain the availability of the Hon. Prime Minister, when fixing the date of the Hearing.
Finally, at present, we are working very hard to prepare and finalize our report before our Mandate ends on 8 December, 2017
. As mentioned earlier, this complex task requires us to consider the evidence of over 70 witnesses, many of whom have given very lengthy testimonies and to analyse over 450 documents, many of which consist of a large number of pages. All this material has to be carefully read, understood and evaluated in order to make the findings and recommendations which are set out in the Mandate issued to us.