Controversial Attorney General (AG) Dappula De Livera PC ruffled many a feather in political circles last night with a startling announcement that the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa-appointed Presidential Commission of Inquiry on Political Revenge has no statutory or legal authority to order the AG to refrain from performing his statutory functions.
The Presidential Commission of Inquiry to investigate incidents of political revenge (Justice Upali Abeyratne Commission) instructed the AG to suspend the examination of cases involving former Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) Commander Admiral of the Fleet Wasantha Karannagoda and former Navy Spokesman Rear Admiral D.K.P Dassanayake, until investigations being conducted by the Commission are concluded, the PCoI announced yesterday (27).
“The Commission has arrived at this decision on January 23 after taking up two complaints made by former Navy Commander Admiral of the Fleet Wasantha Karannagoda and former Navy spokesman Rear Admiral D.K.P. Dassanayake on January 22, for consideration,” said a statement by PCoI.
“President Gotabaya Rajapaksa appointed this Commission of Inquiry to investigate allegations of political victimization as well as interference and undue influence on the judiciary and police during the past regime in the wake of the flood of revelations of interference in police and legal matters and other abuses of power during the previous government.”
The AG recently filed indictments against both Karannagoda and Dassanayake and a dozen of SLN operatives at the Permanent High Court-at-Bar over the abduction and disappearance of 11 youth in 2008/09.
President Rajapaksa appointed three-member PCoI chaired by retired Supreme Court Justice Upali Abeyratne and comprising retired Court of Appeal Justice Daya Chandrasiri Jayatilleka and Retired IGP Chandra Fernando as members; to look into alleged incidents of political revenge of public servants during the period from January 8, 2015 to November 16, 2019. As such the PCoI is mandated to probe into the alleged political victimization of government officials, employees of state corporations, members of the armed forces and the police, who held positions prior to the 2015 January 8 Presidential Election and the 2015 August 17 General Election.
Last October in an exclusive report Colombo Telegraph revealed that (then) Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa was fully aware of the rogue elements in Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) that had led to the abduction and disappearance but had not taken any action whatsoever to rein in impunity in the armed forces.
However it is further learned that Rajapaksa had no action to counter illegal and nefarious activities carried out by these elements nor advised highest ranking pro-Rajapaksa navy officials such as Admiral Karannagoda, Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne and head of the legal section of the Sri Lanka Navy President’s Counsel Shavindra Fernando to mitigate these crimes.There is no doubt in light of such dastard complicity, Gotabaya Rajapaksa would have no choice but to release the navy personnel who had been remanded in connection with the abduction and illegal detaining of the 11 youth at secret underground cells at Gunside, Trincomalee Navy Camp as pledged by him on the election platform recently.
Colombo Telegraph exclusively reported last August that in a bizarre turn of events, one of the highest ranking former legal officers and former Assistant Solicitor General (ASG) President’s Counsel Shavindra Fernando informed court that he was not in a position to reveal details of the 11 disappeared youth by rogue elements of Sri Lanka Navy (SLN).
When the case was called up on August 21, PC Fernando, who retired as an Additional Solicitor General of the Attorney General’s Department, appeared after failing to give his statement to the CID on five consecutive occasions, along with a team of counsels led by Nalinda Indatissa PC appearing for him, informing Court that the ex-ASG would not divulge information on the matter, taking cover behind ethics of confidentiality and attorney-client privilege provided for in Rules 31 to 38 of the Supreme Court (Conduct of and Etiquette for Attorneys-at-law) Rules of 1988. According to PC Fernando’s counsel although their client was supposedly agreeable to share information and had requested for instructions from Navy, SLN had denied permission, instructing him not to divulge any information whatsoever over the 11 youth disappearance case.
Sources told Colombo Telegraph that following Fernando’s dishonourable and dastardly complicity in the matter, the Attorney General’s Department too had taken a position of not safeguarding the ex-ASG, informing Court that the Department would neither intercede not appear on behalf of PC Fernando. The Magistrate had reportedly ordered that notice be issued to Navy in order to ascertain whether it had really instructed Fernando PC not to divulge information and meantime instructed the CID to proceed under Section 255 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CCP) enabling investigators to record a statement from the ex-ASG.
Earlier providing a statement to the CID, former Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) Commander then Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda told the investigators that once he got to know of rogue elements in the Navy, he at once informed PC Fernando who was heading the legal division in the Navy at the time, to take immediate action. However it has now come to light that not only Fernando PC failed to take any action but deliberately tried to cover up and hinder evidence by intimidating witnesses, pressurizing the Police to favour selected naval operatives and exerted duress (as prosecutor) in order for his name to be removed (as suspect).
Whilst Admiral Karannagoda was implicated in the case, President Maithripala Sirisena, who came to power in 2015 vowing to resolve these cases, shamelessly promoted Karannagoda to the rank of ‘Admiral of the Fleet’ in mid-August, which was criticized by many.
In addition, the promotion comes hot on the heels of Attorney General admonishing the Acting IGP for not completing and for the undue delay in the cases pertaining to the assassination of The Sunday Leader Editor-in-Chief Lasantha Wickrematunge, murder of ruggerite Waseem Thajudeen, abduction of The Nation Deputy Editor Keith Noyahr and the shooting of 17 aid workers in Mutthur along with the disappearance of the 11 youth.
The Gotabaya Rajapaksa regime recently promoted Dassanayake, a long standing friend of the Rajapaksa family, as rear admiral, with a view to making him the next Navy Commander, even as the naval intelligence official faces trial by a special trial at bar set to be appointed by the Chief Justice.
Last year, the senior-most serving military officer – incumbent Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Admiral Ravindra Wijeguneratne’s was charged for his alleged links to the abductors of 11 youth along with Karannagoda for having knowledge of the crimes. (By Sandeepa Perera)
lankan / January 29, 2020
This a drama created to show upcoming UNHCR meeting in Geneva to show that the that judiciary is independent from political interference!
Don Stanley / February 1, 2020
Hats off to AG De Livera for giving the US citizen Rajapaksa brothers the finger! Yes, the AG must be independent.
Why is it that no one writes about the fact that this land like no other with brothers as PM and President, there is a president who is part American even as the citizens protest US imperialism and plans to set up lily pad bases in their IS Caliphate near Trincomalee Harbour?
The biggest Rogue State in the world that has unleashed the Conona virus to threaten crash the rise of China and Asia, will be force its citizen head in Lanka to sign SOFA, and MCCC because of this while the foolish native cheer their chosen US backed Dictator who is dancing to the MCC tunes with a silly Commission instead of naming the US-Saudi operators behind the Easter Carnage?!
ThanthaiChelva / January 29, 2020
What a traitor you are Thappu.
Dam / January 30, 2020
Why is he traitor? If his stance is true without any hidden agendas, AG is great
meer / January 29, 2020
This bugger should take a hair cut or is he wearing a wig?
K.A. Sumanasekera / January 29, 2020
Dulippa looks plump in the face.. But is he in the same weight class as Ali?..
I mean that ace PC who is the shining star in Prez Nandasena’s administration..
K.A. Sumanasekera / January 29, 2020
I thought Dr Rani promoted Gen Ponseka to be the first ever Field Marshall of Lankawe after registering his name in the Hansard in Kotte as the killer of Lasantha in Colombo..
Good Sense / January 29, 2020
It appears that the whole matter is now converted to a dispute between parties who are in the legal profession. I am not digging into details. Outwardly it appears that some boys were taken in. Issue of ransom cropped up, quite similar to some of the Batalanda detainees who gave evidence in the Batalanda Commission. This matter, like Lasantha Wickramatunga, Wasim Thajudeen is dragging on and unlike these examples it has gone to a high court at bar level. The real question is who are the bad eggs. It appears that the President is well advised not get directly involved into this matter at this stage and would prefer to implement a Commission of Inquiry recommendation. While the role of a Commission of Inquiry is o ascertain facts and report and not to issue orders prohibiting the performance of statutory duties of another officer or body it is in a position to direct the production of evidence in its current form. Therefore while it is possible for the AG to charge the commissioners for obstruction of duty, it is also possible for the Commissioners to report the AG to the Supreme Court for obstruction of its duties. WHAT A DRAMA. MURDERS TAKE PLACE AND LAW HAS BECOME AN ASS.
shankar / January 29, 2020
karranagoda gave a staement to the CID that he informed gota when he found that these youth were in the navy camp but the next day they went missing.Who gave the order to kill them?
ps.some people seem to have the notion that the best way is to kill and dispose of bodies for a problem to disappear.Those who have lived in western countries have seen husbands adopting this solution as the legal system is heavily weighted towards the wife and children.No body,no case they think.
Rafik Salley / January 29, 2020
Has Dappula joined the dark forces targeting Sri Lanla’s war heroes and the members of the intelligence community in particur, for recrimination.
If he does, he should note that he is a bit behind the times, and late!
shankar / January 29, 2020
The PCol can do its job by investigating karanagoda’s complaint and if it thinks he has been politically victimised give the reasons for it It cannot instruct the AG as he is not working under it.If it does then it is also being tainted by the fact that it is a political organisation investigating political victimisation,so there is a clear conflict of interest and it becomes a wolf in charge of sheep.
shankar / January 29, 2020
or a better phrase would be a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Sach / January 30, 2020
The investigations conducted by yahapalana is a fraud. It treated the guy who masterminded the crime as an innocent bystander and used him to target others
Piyadasa Yalagala / January 29, 2020
In point of view of legal and political reading of Justice of Sri Lanka has gone beyond its boundary last 5 years under the UNP rule of state terrorist. It has totally undermined seek justice by court of law. Justice has shifted politicisation of vandalism inside and outside court of law.
The contempt of courts and obstruction law has enlarge to Justice has been covered operation by UNP regime Ranil Wicks and CBK of Tamil Federalist of SLFP.
They have has used many numbers of proxies of certain that UNP political members of Parliament funded by foreign funded by at aim of sabotage of rule of law in Island-wide. It was success relatively.
AG has to urgently redress those cases that mishandling o in court cases by ranil Wicks.
And unjust court cases move by previous UNP regime by Misrule of rule of Law of that Ranil Sajith alliances of TNA JVP MC and other political terrorist wanted all overall solution by Dep. of AG.
The accountability and responsibility of AG has large role to play of that back to rule of law in our land . It required New approached by legal system.
We seek broad consensus and deliberation of this matter need be treated on priorities basis.
Vis8 / January 29, 2020
This guy livera’s actions just speak for themselves: Do anything and everything to disrupt the current govt. What a sad m____.
shankar / January 30, 2020
how does this disrupt the government you lickspittle?finding justice for children kidnapped for ransom.Not like the failed constitutional coup that not only disrupted the government but lost the livelihoods of millions especially in tourism industry.
An Observer / January 29, 2020
It is high time that illegal interventions by these political leaders should be stopped.
No one is above the law of the land.
When things go wrong these politicians hide behind the public servants to avoid legal actions against them.
If these corrup politicians try to harrass you please go public and tell the truth to discredit these janus-faced politicians.
Craig / January 29, 2020
What a sordid attempt to cover up this dastardly crime! Where is the BASL? Where is the voice of the Opposition? Sirisena is the despicable mother of deceit, dishonesty and duplicity.
Sach / January 30, 2020
The crime is when a real culprit is protected and used to target another using him for totally different reasons
Craig / January 29, 2020
Sumanthiran said yesterday that the CoI’s attempts to halt an ongoing court case amounted to an act that “interferes with the duties of the Attorney General and the Judiciary”.
“This is a blatant interference in the functions of the AG as well as the Judiciary and a violation of the Constitution. This sets a dangerous precedent,”
BTW has the “Friday Forum” folded up?
Manel Fonseka / January 29, 2020
I dont think so, Craig. I saw an item about a recent statement by it in the press 2 or 3 days ago. And a friend who is a member mentioned attending a meeting, last week, maybe.
Uthungan / January 30, 2020
What Sumanthiran said is correct. There has been previous instances starting from JRJ’s period in 1977.
It seems FF has remained silent from the time the current administration took shape under the leadership of the SLPP Rajapakse Brothers Inc.
As for the BASL on which side of the fence is Nagananda Kodituwakku now?
Manel Fonseka / February 2, 2020
Friday Forum has not folded up. I just saw this on p. 3 of the Sunday Island:
“Friday Forum wants National Anthem sung in Sinhala + Tamil on Independence Day.”
And I do too!
I dont know about any other paper but the Island has been carrying many letters about this subject, so many excellent ones that I wrote to the editor suggesting they publish a little book with them, pro + contra, with, if possible, translations from & to Sinhala ones. No response + I doubt they will oblige but I do hope that some of the really really good ones have also appeared in the Sinhala pres.
Maybe some organisation could do it. Hmm.. must see about that. Some of the writers have empathised amazingly with the importance — particularly in a situation like our with our recent history — with the importance of being able to sing/hear the words of the anthem in one’s mother tongue.
I am not saying this is the need for every country but it IS for Sri Lanka.
So Friday Forum is STILL alive & well!
Lal de Mel / January 29, 2020
Attorney General has erased the impression created by his recommendation to the Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to refrain from releasing the Forensic Audit report of bond scams. The independence shown by AG as well the Speaker are good signs that Sri Lanka is a democratic country.
Kalu Nangi / January 29, 2020
It looks like he was compelled to take this step to save his good name …otherwise he would have gone down in history as the “Rogue AG” over his attempts prevent the release of the Forensic Audit.
Perhaps, he is unhappy that his name was not sent to fill the recent vacancies in the Supreme Court / Court of Appeal and now this is the pay back!
ROHAN JOHNPILLAI / January 29, 2020
what was the asking is the question on most of the sorry Yakko Lankan’s lips and we have this monster a new lease of life is all that they can groan and moan about.
now all the jarawama rajapuks chosen band of men cum women cum puftas will have a clear field to run the race and avoid meeting their legitimate judicial dues.?
within less than a time span of 90 days, this sad beleaguered nation has become a lawless military junta.
the government doctors, the postal railway unions who were giving a hell of a whale of a time to the previous government have all mysteriously gone silent. why I ask,?
even the 6.9 million Sinhalese yaks who voted with their pants/panties down have also become dumbstruck by their foolish antics are nowhere to seen or seen and not even a murmur of a sound from them.?
the cost of living is about to the moon, wages have not kept up to meet the increased costs
now it’s left to see the balls that the overgrowth of unruly hair sporting AG do.?
will he how’s he boldly instructing the numbskulls in the inept corrupt police force to every so and so even though his wings have been clipped by 3 rajapuka damsels who have been assigned bloated up positions to cull and monitor his uncouth doings.?
the previous government gave him this glorified status quo, where he had the freedom to do and say whatever he desires to say.
now what’s his status quo going to be, is the trillion-dollar $ question.?
=cheers, R.J., the one & only.
Adrian / January 31, 2020
Johnpillai. your short bursts of rubbish sound like something Trump would tweet after a twelve hour drinking session.
Haven’t those forest fires reached your place in Melbourne yet? At least try and save your English dictionary.
And that thing you do with your hand?…….cheee very bad. How’s the eyesight?
chiv / January 29, 2020
Is the sleeping giant/AG being woken up ??? or just a fizzle ???? Anyway it is unfortunate (for Lankans) to see Rajapaksas getting their biggest donation from hidden friend China , free at cost in the name of CORONA . Will they take their usual 10 %, on this deal too.
rizvi / January 29, 2020
Tazon or the jungle man.
Just man / January 29, 2020
The Presidential Commission to investigate into political victimization has no power or authority to give directions to AG in the first place. AG heads the prosecutor’s office of the state and only a court of law can give directions to AG regarding cases that are instituted. The Special Presidential Commission is an adhoc body created for a special purpose with specific mandate. It can only make recommendations. The Chairperson Rtd judge Upali Abeyratne (popularly known as “pissu pusa” in legal circles) is a well known stooge of governments in power specially the Rajapaksas. Pissu pusa became notorious when he unlawfully and surreptitiously dismissed a damages claim against Chief Justice Sarath Nanda Silva who was made a co- defendant in a divorce case in the District Court of Colombo. The case was filed by the husband of a woman who was seduced by Sarath Silva and both Sarath Silva and the said woman were living together discarding their erstwhile spouses. Pissu pusa the district judge then, by his shameless act ingratiated himself to Sarath Silva and received rapid promotions despite his mediocre abilities and rose upto the rank of Supreme Court Judge. He is not much reputed for his prowess in the English language and we may expect the Presidential Commission to submit it’s report in the Sinhala language.
Prof Lasantha Pethiyagoda / January 29, 2020
Authoritarian rule by definition assumes favouritism and impunity to military leaders as they are essential components that undermine the supreme will of the common people, enshrined in democratic constitutions. Hence, readers can imagine who will take the fall for these events.
paddy / January 29, 2020
These issues should have been cleared and solved and the guilty punished within a year of the so-called yahapalanaya government coming into office. Then these questions will not arise now.
Sach / January 30, 2020
They needed time to manufacture evidence because their aim is not punishing the culprit
Buddhist / January 29, 2020
In my opinion AG is trying to come clean as a honest man. Him refusing to take orders from PC is the correct decision. However, him not taking any action against those MPs who attacked the Speaker in the Parliament shows that he is a political animal. Being a political animal does not allow him to claim as an independent person. International Community will have no respect for such an AG.
Douglas / January 29, 2020
It is not the “Hair” or “Appearance” of the AG that matters in this case. The AG has filed a case against 14 persons in High Court accusing them of “Abduction” and “disappearance” of the “11” young persons. The case is being heard in courts against all persons “accused” and their “Status” in Armed Forces is NO MATTER for “Courts” or to “ANYONE” including this “Presidential Commission”. The “Terms of Reference” to the “PCoL” is not a consideration for the High Court and the AG to act upon that “Directive”. I believe, AG is correct and within his powers vested to RESIST this type of “Dictatorial Interference” with the cases that are been heard in Courts. The very appointment of this “PCoL” with persons of “Questionable” past records and the very particular “Terms of Reference” assigned and the “HURRIED PILGRIMAGE” to the Commission by the two ” HIGH PROFILED ACCUSED’ show the “HIDDEN AGENDA” of the President and his COTERIE of “Ware Heroes” and “Legal Luminaries”. This is how, I believe, we must look at this case of “11 Abductions and Disappearance” where all “Accused” are from the Armed Forces and “War Heroes”.
Sach / January 30, 2020
The whole youth abduction case investigations were engineered by the very ppl behind Garnia case. The investigations were engineered in a fashion , that it punishes someone else and not the real culprit . Instead the culprit was used by these ppl to target other high ranking officers
Douglas / January 30, 2020
Sach: Your comment: ” The investigations were engineered……..that it punishes someone else and not the real culprit”. Very interesting information. You seem to be having “unearthed” facts relating to this “CRIME”. I wan’t ask you to state it here in this comment column; but would urge you to “IMMEDIATELY ” get in touch with those investigators or most desirably with the “DEFENCE MINISTRY” , so that they can get hold of the “REAL CULPRITS” known to you. Hope they will not name you a “Suspect” and arrest you and release all those who are already indicted. Best of luck.
Plato. / January 30, 2020
The tradition is that the next appointment of the AG ,IF A VACANCY ARISES, is Chief Justice. Not Supreme Court or Appeal court.
The AG is clearing the Public perception of him as someone who will dance to the tune of the Rajapakses, on this issue.
The BASL which should raise these matters is cup-sip.
Gone are the days of Nadesan Q.C and Neville Samarakoon.Q.C.!
Nirutha / January 31, 2020
Do Sri Lankans have intelligent brain cells to understand constitution & law books which they copied from British… I don’t think so. ?