By Shonel Perera
Bond is back at it again this week with the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) investigating the controversial Issuance of Bonds saying that it now requires a testimony from none other than Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe himself in order to “obtain a few clarifications and any other evidence which may be necessary”.
A statement issued at the beginning of today’s session noted that it had carefully examined the affidavit which was given to the Commission by the Prime Minister and that the Commission had a few clarifications to be made with regard to it.
It was said, “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 benecessary. Therefore, we will beattend the hearing would be notified in due course after ascertaining “with the Prime Ministers office the availability of the Hon. Prime Minister”
The Prime Minister then submitted the affidavit and had stated that he was willing to appear before the commission if it is indeed necessary. The Presidential Commission of Inquiry then yesterday said the decision to summon the Prime Minister was made after they thoroughly examined theaffidavit.
Although a statement which was issued earlier had noted the only a hearing would be held for the purpose of the Prime Minister’s testimony, it was later decided that the Commission would be conducting hearings on the 16th of November.
The final report of the commission is due for the 8th of December and In its statement the Commission had noted that it had to analyse lengthy testimonies of over 70 witnesses and over 450 documents are required prior to the 8th of December, at which point the mandate of the Commission will come to an end.
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 the 8th of 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.