Former President Maithripala Sirisena said yesterday, while respecting the courts verdict regarding the Easter Sunday attack case where he was asked to pay Rs. 100 million. He had told friends whether a person like him can engage in acts such as standing in front of the Bo tree in Pettah with a till to collect money as he did not have the means to pay that amount. Speaking as the chief guest at a scholarship giving ceremony held at Nittambuwa Public Stadium, the former President said: “It has been stated in the Supreme Court decision that if the officials appointed by the President commit any mistake, the President is also responsible for it. Because the President appoints the Inspector General of Police and the Defence Secretary, the court decision states the President is also responsible for the fact that they did not fulfill their responsibility. The verdict states that I should pay Rs.100 million to the victims of the Easter attack”.
“I am a former president, minister, member of parliament and a citizen of this country and I respect the law and the judiciary. I bow to the court decision. There is no problem with that. Everyone knows, I was abroad at the time of the Easter incident. From the day I came to Sri Lanka, in the Parliament and in various places during the presidency and after that, I have repeatedly said that security officials had received information about that incident, but none of those officials had informed me about it”.
“The judgement contains 85 pages. In these 85 pages, it is said that although the officials had received the information, the former president was not aware of it in any way. It is clear in the court’s 85-page judgment that the president was not informed about this”.
“Now you may be thinking how I was asked to pay Rs.100 million in relation to a case on violation of human rights. I do not have the means to pay a compensation of such magnitude. I will not tell more about it. I and my friends have decided in this regard that we will collect money from our close friends”.
“But I asked them how I can find this money and whether a person like me can stand with a till in front of the Bo tree in Pettah. Many of my dear friends told me that they knew my economic status well. I have given my asset declaration to Parliament every year. Many presidents have not declared their assets after becoming president. That’s because they are presidents. In the five years that I have been president, I have given my assets declaration every year. Anyone can see my asset declaration. Anyone can take my asset declaration under Right to Information Act. “Therefore, as my friends have decided, I hope to get necessary support from my friends for this,” he said.