- Rejects statements made by President on UNP slowing corruption investigations
- Sagala insists Sirisena interfered in high-profile probes
- Says if allegations continue he would be forced to reveal all
- Kiriella insists RW only option as PM, charges Sirisena attempting to divide UNP
By Chathuri Dissanayake
Issuing a swift rebuttal to President Maithripala Sirisena’s accusations that the United National Party (UNP) was behind stalled corruption investigations, MP Sagala Ratnayake yesterday rejected the statements and insisted that it was the President who was responsible for the delays and disruptions.
MP Sagala Ratnayake
“As a responsible Cabinet Minister I have never spoken in public about instances in which @MaithripalaS interfered with high profile investigations. But if these wild allegations continue, I will be forced to divulge details on who interfered, when, where and how,” MP Ratnayake tweeted in the immediate wake of the President’s statements to the Foreign Correspondents’ Association (FCA) going viral.
“The IGP’s recent letter to the Secretary of Defence over the transfer of CID officer Nishantha Silva (currently in the public domain) clearly states President @MaithripalaS gave the order. A clear example of the President’s interference in action – a recurring habit these past 3.5 years.”
“If there was corruption during the past 3.5 years President @MaithripalaS, head of the Unity Government and the Cabinet, has equally to share the blame. We welcome the appointment of a presidential commission but insist President is not made immune to the investigations himself.”
UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella also criticised President Sirisena saying that he would under no circumstances accept MP Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister, saying the remarks were an effort to divide the UNP.
“If we accept his stance then we will be indirectly trying to support President Maithripala Sirisena’s act of removing the Prime Minister on 26 October. We would be justifying it. We want the status quo of 25 October reinstated. Not just the UNP but the other political parties supporting us also want the same,” he told Daily FT.
Kiriella charged that the President’s comments were targeted at dividing the UNP and weakening it at an upcoming election and not said with the intention of bringing about a reconciliation between the two main parties.
“This is all rubbish. This is a ruse to divide the UNP. If he had a problem with Ranil Wickremesinghe then he should have told us before he appointed Mahinda Rajapaksa to his position, not now. When I met him during the first meeting with the UNP after this issue I told him that he should have told us if he had a problem. He never told us of any such issue. We are the people who brought him into power, as well.”
MP Kiriella remarked that since President Sirisena had never requested the UNP to appoint an alternative to MP Wickremesinghe, he was merely making statements to create the impression that the UNP was divided.
“This is an attempt by him to create dissension within the UNP. To date his plans have misfired as the UNP didn’t break into different groups as he had expected. He thought when he removed Ranil Wickremesinghe from the Prime Minister post five to 10 UNPers would join Sirisena’s parliamentarians but that did not happen.”