Parliament warns Sirisena against scuttling Easter attacks investigation

Sri Lanka’s Parliament warned President Maithripala Sirisena not to scuttle an investigation into security lapses before the Easter suicide bombings, the Speaker’s office said on Sunday.

The warning came after Mr. Sirisena said he would not cooperate with the parliamentary probe and would not allow defence or police officials to testify before the committee. Mr. Sirisena called an emergency Cabinet meeting on Friday to oppose the legislature’s investigation into the attacks.

“Any public servant summoned by the PSC [Parliamentary Select Committee] is obliged to give evidence,” Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said in a two-page response to Mr. Sirisena. “Officials are fully aware of the serious consequences if they fail to respond.”

Officials at the Speaker’s office said Mr. Jayasuriya made it clear to Mr. 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 late last month, has placed Mr. Sirisena in a poor light, suggesting that he failed to act on advance warning of the attacks.

Mr. Sirisena told his police top brass on Friday that he would not allow any police, military or intelligence personnel to testify. However, senior Defence Ministry sources said that in view of the Speaker’s latest warning, they will have to cooperate with the committee.