Co- Cabinet Spokesperson Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara today admitted that there was a “major issue” in the fact that members of the COPE Committee had conversations with Arjun Aloysius.
“Yes of course there is an issue. We will all be able to see the outcomes of this once action is filed,” he said, in response to questions by journalists at the weekly cabinet media briefing yesterday.
However, Jayasekara defended the two calls and meeting he had with Aloysius and said that he found need to declare meeting Aloysius at any point.
“Yes I met with him once and we spoke on the phone twice. But I don’t think it was needed to declare to anyone that I met him,” he said.
Jayasekara, while admitting that there were more than two conversations with Aloysius went on to say that he knew Aloysius previously.
On the day of the first revelation of the phone calls however, Jayasekara told the media that there were only two calls and a meeting -“I have had nothing else to do with him (Aloysius)”, Jayasekara said last week.
However, yesterday Jayasekara admitted to previous communications.
“I knew him from before. I was not a member of parliament at the time of the 7th COPE when I was in contact with Arjun Aloysius (first call between the two were July 10, 2015). There were only two calls between him and me whilst I was a member of the COPE” he said.
Jayasekara admitted that the latter communications and meeting were meant to influence the COPE investigations.
Thereafter Jayasekara was asked if he reported the communications to any person or authority, to which he answered in the negative.
When repeatedly questioned by journalists as to the fact as to if he found no need to declare the meeting of communications with Aloysius given the fact that the calls were made to influence Jayasekara’s investigation he said that there was no such need.
“No I didn’t find the need to tell anyone. As a politician I talk to a lot of people and this was one such conversation. What you must look at is the side that I was on, what I have said during the COPE hearings. I have been the most vociferous against the scam throughout this time” he said.
When journalists pointed out that the stance he took was inconsequential and the question at hand was regarding his dealings with Aloysius, Jayasekara remained resolute.
“No there was no need to declare my meeting with him (Aloysius) to anyone. I may have told one or two people. In fact when he first called me Minister Anura Yapa was next to me in the vehicle. But that was it”
Journalists continued to question Jayasekara giving background of Aloysius’ attempts to influence witnesses during the Bond Commission hearings.
Drawing example The Daily Mirror pointed out that Richie Dias the Treasury Head of Pan Asia Bank was attempted to be influenced by Aloysius, and Dias informed the Commission of the attempt.