Former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, giving evidence before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Political Victimisation, said he accepts that according to the Police Ordinance, the gazette notification establishing the Police Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) was not legal.
He mentioned this in response to a question raised on 16 Friday, by the Counsel for the plaintiff, the former Additional Director General of the ‘Divineguma’ Department as well as present Samurdhi Director General Bandula Thilakasiri.
Focusing attention on the Cabinet Paper that established the Anti-Corruption Committee Secretariat, Counsel for the plaintiff said during that instance it was the Ministry Secretary who had been given the guidance to establish a Police unit through the Cabinet Paper. However, the gazette notification relevant to establishing the Financial Crimes Investigation Division had been issued not by the Secretary of the Ministry but by the Inspector General of Police.
The former Prime Minister replying to the Plaintiff’s Counsel said that it was the IGP who had the authority to establish the Financial Crimes Investigation Division.
Subsequently, the Plaintiff’s Counsel, quoting Clause No. 55 of the Police Ordinance, pointed out to the former Prime Minister that under this relevant Clause, the IGP did not have the authority to establish such a unit.
“They said that the IGP could establish Police Divisions. However, our Cabinet Paper does not mention establishing a division. What is mentioned is only about setting up a secretariat regarding corruption,” the former Prime Minister said.
The Chairman of the Commission then said that the IGP had set up a unit using authority he did not possess. “I do not know about that. I remember these people reported that the Secretary did not have the authority to do it. It was only the IGP who had the authority to do so,” the former Prime Minister said.
Then the Counsel for the Plaintiff said that although it is mentioned in the Gazette notification that the Financial Crimes Investigation Division was established under Clause 55 of the Police Ordinance, no such authority had been granted through that Clause.
Responding to the information given by the Plaintiff’s Counsel, the former Prime Minister said further that “If there was no authority, then there was none.”