Sirisena fired me after I warned him of intelligence lapses – SDIG Lewke

Former President of Sri Lanka - Maithripala Sirisena

President Maithripala Sirisena had stripped him of his position as a national security advisor a week after he told the former president that the then head of the SIS Nilantha Jayawardena was not fit to hold that position, retired SDIG Nimal Lewke, on Tuesday night, told the PCoI investigating the Easter Sunday attacks.

Lewke, who was a former commandant of the STF, was appointed as a security advisor by Sirisena on September 2017. However, he had not been called for any meeting regarding security, Lewke said.

“After one year, I went to see President Sirisena and told him that more attention should be paid to intelligence services. I said special attention must be paid for the SIS and that Nilantha Jayawardena, who headed the SIS was not as capable as his predecessors.”

The witness said that Sirisena told that he would look into it. But a week after the meeting, Lewke was informed that his services would nolonger be required.

Earlier, Counsel Dilshan Jayasuriya, appearing for former Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando, asked Sirisena how come he had visited Tirupathi Kovil in India, on 16 April, 2019, if he was to undergo medical treatment in Singapore that prevented him from communicating with anyone for two days.

Earlier Sirisena told the PCoI that even his personal security officer could not contact him between April 20 and 21, 2019 because he was undergoing treatment.

“Since you could go on a pilgrimage to the Tirupati Kovil before going to Singapore, you may not have serious health issues,” Jayasuriya said.

Sirisena said: “I did not go to Singapore to receive treatment for a serious disease. But I do go to Tirupati every year.”

(Source: The Island – By Rathindra Kuruwita)