AG asks PSC to inquire into leaked phone recording between SG and Avant Garde Chairman

Tuesday, 24 September 2019 02:19 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Acting official appointed to oversee work that came under SG till inquiry concluded 
  • Dias Wickremasinghe admits to phone conversation with Senadhipathi but says it’s edited and distorted
  • Recording leaked weeks after AG filed indictment before Trial-at-Bar against Avant Garde Chairman and 13 persons


By Chandani Kirinde

The Attorney General yesterday requested the Public Service Commission (PSC) to hold an inquiry into the leaked telephone conversation between Solicitor General (SG) Dilrukshi Dias Wickremasinghe and Avant Garde Maritime Services Chairman Nissanka Senadhipathi, who was recently indicted in the high sea’s arms trafficking case.

The AG’s request followed the leaked phone recoding between the SG and Senadhipathi who is facing charges under the Firearms Ordinance and the Penal Code but has been evading arrest by travelling overseas. In the phone cooperation, the SG is heard saying that she regrets the legal action taken against the Avant Garde Chairman.

An official of the AG’s Department said that as of now the SG has not been given any area to supervise after the telephone recording as leaked and led to questions being raised about the conduct of the senior official in the Department. 

Another officer has been placed to cover her work as acting head of the civil division until the inquiry against Wickremasinghe is completed, the official said.

Asked if an internal inquiry is underway in the AG’s Department pertaining to this matter, the official said that as the Solicitor General is the second most senior officer in the Department so there is no other officer who could be appointed to hold an inquiry against her.

“The Attorney General is performing constitutional and statutory functions and called upon to advice Government on legal matters and will be called upon to appear for and on behalf of the State in litigation and in the event that there is possible litigation in this matter, if AG is called upon to be the inquirer in this matter, the AG will be precluded from performing his statutory and constitutional functions in this case as there would be a conflict of interest,” the official added.

Wickremesinghe has admitted she was the person on the phone with Senadhipathi but said the conversation has been “edited” to give a wrong picture. In a post on social media, Wickremasinghe, who was once the former Director General of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption challenged the Avant Garde Chairman to release the entire conversation and also reveal the name of the Minister who had asked him to call her.

The leaked recording comes less two weeks after the AG filed indictment before a Trial-at-Bar against 13 persons including Senadhipathi for illegally operating a merchant vessel ship and carrying 813 unlicensed automatic weapons and 200,935 rounds of live ammunitions on board the Ship MV Avant Garde in and around October 2015.