Former Defense Secretary, Hemasiri Fernando testifying before the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) a short while ago spoke extensively about Sirisena’s handling of the Defense Ministry, shedding harsh light on the President’s pig headed ways that cost the nation over 250 lives.
Echoing claims made by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, Minister Ruwan Wijewardena and suspended IGP Pujitha, Fernando says Sirisena specifically instructed him not to invite the Prime Minister, State Minister for Defense and IGP for National Security Council meetings.
Fernando claims he was ‘helpless’ as a Secretary as his Minister barely made time for him. He claims at times he would be made to wait for almost three hours just to get files signed.
He also says there was little contribution he could make in terms of briefing Sirisena as he was not willing to hear any intelligence information from anyone other than State Intelligence Chief Nilantha Jayawardena.
“After being appointed as Defense Secretary, I tried twice to brief President on intelligence reports but was informed on both occasions that the SIS Chief had already informed him…For the rest of my five and a half months in office I did not brief him again,” Fernando says adding, early on he understood the SIS Chief maintained a direct communication line to the President.
It was also revealed during Fernando’s statement before the PSC, that since November 15, 2018 the Defence apparatus was equipped with information on terrorist Zaharan and his sympathy for ISIS terrorism and Jihadism. Failure to act on ample information available only goes to show Sirisena’s absolute inadequateness to handle the Ministry of Defense.