Connect with us


Church in quandary over outgoing AG’s incriminatory claims, seeks explanation



… AG Department’s culpability, too, raised

By Shamindra Ferdinando

The Catholic Church was in a deepening quandary over the outgoing Attorney General Dappula de Livera’s shocking declaration that he couldn’t move court in respect of suspects due to the failure on the part of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to complete investigations into the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks, Rev. Cyril Gamini Fernando said on Tuesday (18).

President’s Counsel de Livera owed an explanation without further delay as the people were led to believe the investigations were on track until the bombshell claim was made, Rev Fernando said.

The AG on May 15 declared that he was not in a position to present charges or indictments against those who conspired and also aided and abetted.

The AG is scheduled to retire on May 25.

Rev. Fernando said that the AG’s serious accusation directed at the CID should be examined against the backdrop of him handling the Easter Sunday inquiry right from its inception. The Church spokesman said: “Solicitor General de Livera received an Acting appointment a week after the Easter Sunday carnage followed by approval by the then Constitutional Council. Having followed the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) report that dealt with the Easter Sunday carnage as well as the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) dossier we are aware of the failure on the part of the AG’s Department in 2017 to act on information provided by the police in respect of suicide bomber Zahran Hashim. Did the AG’s Department inquire into the very serious lapse on their part before the disclosure at the PSC?”

Livera succeeded Jayantha Jayasuriya, PC, who received appointment as the Chief Justice.

Responding to another query, Rev Fernando, who is also the parish priest of Kurana St. Anne’s Church said that the PSC and PCoI revealed how the AG’s Department literally sat on that particular file for two years. Was it negligence or could there be some other explanation, Rev Fernando asked, urging the current political leadership, those who been at the helm at the time of the blasts, the AG and the police to clarify matters.

Examination of parliamentary debate on the Easter attacks and other related statements made in Parliament this year underscored the need to review (i) the developments in the run-up to the 2019 Easter carnage, (ii) coordinated multiple attacks and (iii) the post-incident scenario, Rev. Fernando said.

Rev. Fernando noted that Public Security Minister Rear Admiral (retd) Sarath Weerasekera is on record as having said that he called for a report from the CID in the wake of the AG’s latest allegation.

Rev Fernando said that the Catholic Church was seriously worried about the status of the investigation and the judicial proceedings as no less a person than the AG who bore the primary responsibility in this regard had faulted the country’s premier investigation agency.

Referring to a spate of changes at the CID since the change of government in Nov 2019, Rev. Fernando questioned who would take the responsibility for negligence on the part of the AG’s Department, shoddy handling of investigations as alleged by the AG and the political leadership’s accountability in that regard.

Rev. Fernando noted that the high profile intervention made by the AG in October last year when the CID quietly released Riyajj Bathiudeen, who had been arrested in April 2020 in connection with the Easter Sunday attacks. Then again the suspect had been re-arrested in April this year in terms of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), Rev. Fernando pointed out. Regardless of the person at the helm at the AG’s Department, the public expected tangible measures to bring the perpetrators of the heinous crime to justice.

Acting Solicitor General Sanjay Rajaratnam has been nominated as de Livera’s successor.

Shammil Perera, PC, represented the interests of the Catholic Church at the P CoI, Rev Fernando said, urging the political leadership to ensure no holds barred investigation.

The Church felt the need to vigorously take up the issue at hand in spite of the crisis the country was facing due to the alarming increase in the number of Covid-19 deaths and the positive cases, Rev Fernando said.

Referring to an exclusive interview the outgoing AG had with Sirasa,(when?) Rev Fernando said that President’s Counsel de Livera should explain what he really meant by the Easter Sunday carnage was a massive conspiracy. Having perused both the PSC and the P CoI and plethora of other reports, the AG had now gone on record that those foreigners allegedly involved in the Easter Sunday project would never be legally dealt with.

Rev Fernando said that they were also quite surprised by the AG’s declaration that though Naufer Maulavi was a key conspirator and leader of the group he couldn’t be still considered the mastermind. This was very much contrary to what the Public Security Minister said both in and out of the Parliament. Responding to another query, the Church spokesperson said that the claim of a massive conspiracy had been in the backdrop of the State Intelligence Service (SIS) receiving specific intelligence relating to the Easter attacks.

He had discussed the matter with Archbishop of Colombo Rt. Rev. Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith and a decision was made to talk with other interested parties. The Church believed the delay in addressing the post-Easter Sunday issues and bringing the investigation into a successful conclusion posed a serious threat to national security, Rev Fernando said.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest News

Heat Index at Caution level in Northern, North-Central, North-western and Eastern provinces and Monaragala and Hambanthota districts




Heat index Advisory Issued by the Natural Hazards Early Warning Centre At 07.30 a.m. 28 May 2023, valid for 28 May 2023

Heat index, the temperature felt on the human body is expected to increase up to ‘Caution’ level at some places in Northern, North-Central, North-western and Eastern provinces and Monaragala and Hambanthota districts.

Continue Reading

Latest News

GCE Ordinary Level examination commences on Monday (29)




The General Certificate of Education (Ordinary Level) examination 2022 (2023) will commence on Monday (29).

472,553 candidates have applied to to sit this years examination which will be held at 3568 examination centers

The examination will conclude on 8th June 2023

Continue Reading


Personal income tax shock dims economic activities



ECONOMYNEXTSri Lanka’s personal income tax hikes have hit economic activity in the first quarter though despite currency stability helped businesses cut prices, Hemas Holdings, a top consumer goods group has said.As the currency stabilized, as central bank ended contradictory money and exchange policy conflicts, businesses had cut prices. Mainstream economists generally claim that price falls lead to delayed transactions and try to generate positive inflation through money printing, though businesses believe otherwise.

“The market witnessed price reductions and promotional trade schemes to stimulate consumption,” Hemas Holding told shareholders in the March quarterly statement.

“However, changes made to the personal income tax structure severely impacted modern trade sales volumes as consumers rationalised their purchases under reduced disposable income levels.”

Sri Lanka hiked personal income tax rates in 2023. Value added taxes were raised to 15 percent from 8 percent last year. Another 2.5 percent cascading tax was imposed on top of VAT, the effect of which was estimated to be around 4.5 or more through the cascading effect.

While value added tax allows the government to get tax revenues after citizens make transactions and getting the economy to work, based on best decisions needed to drive the economy to satisfy real needs, income tax kills economic decisions and transfers money to state actors, analysts say.

Net gains on income tax therefore comes at a cost of lost value added tax as well as killed real economic activities which would otherwise have been based on decisions of those who earned the money.

UK also almost doubled VAT in 1979, also to 15 percent, cut the base income tax rate and widened thresholds above inflation to give choice to individuals, amid criticism from Keynesian style or mainstream economists to recover the economy, after two back-to-back IMF programs failed to deliver concrete results, analysts point out.At Hemas Holdings, group revenues went up 52.6 percent to 32 billion rupees in the March 2023 quarter from year earlier amid price inflation as the rupee fell, and cost of sales went up 45.1 percent to 22.2 billion rupees, allowing the group to boost gross profits 72 percent to 9.8 billion rupees, interim accounts showed.

However, administration costs went up 54 percent, selling and distribution costs went up 36 percent, and finance costs went up to 1.3 billion rupees. Profit after tax was flat at 1.06 billion rupees.Sri Lanka’s central bank stabilized the rupee in the second half of 2022 after the rupee collapsed from 200 to 360 to from two years of money printing and also removed a surrender rule in March allowing the exchange rate appreciate.

The US Fed also tightened policy from March 2022 helping bring down global commodity prices after triggering inflation not seen for 40 years through Coronavirus linked money printing or accommodating a real shock through monetary expansion.

“While the modern trade channels witnessed a slow down due to the adverse impact of the tax reforms and high cost of credit on the middle-class urban population, the general trade channels experienced significant growth and increased foot fall,” Hemas told shareholders.

“The decline in global commodity prices in the second half of the year, enabled the business to make price reductions across the portfolio.

“However, the benefit of appreciation of the Sri Lankan Rupee in March 2023 was not seen during the quarter due to the lag effect but is expected to realise in the quarters to come, provided the current economic conditions prevail.”

Hemas is also has operations in Bangladesh where the central bank is also buying up government securities with tenors as long at 20 years to mis-target the interest rate, triggering forex shortages and depreciating the Taka, according to analysts who study the country.

Inflation had hit 9.3 percent in Bangladesh by March.

“In the face of numerous challenges including slowdown in the global economy, depreciation in Taka, heightened inflation and depleting foreign currency reserves, the country entered an IMF programme in January 2023,” the firm said.

“The value-added hair oil market witnessed a degrowth, as consumers curbed consumption in many non-essential items and switched to value-for-money alternatives.”

Mainstream economists mis-target rates to boost growth known as either monetary stimulus or bridging an output gap, though the effort result in instability and economic contractions.

Continue Reading