Friday, April 15, 2016

Constitutional Council in landmark move to choose IGP

ECONOMYNEXT - Sri Lanka's newly-established Constitutional Council has summoned the three senior-most officers in the police department for consultations tomorrow (Monday) ahead of nominating the next Inspector General.

This is the first time that the Council has invited senior officers for such a meeting to decide on a post that is being filled in line with the 19th amendment to the constitution aimed at depoliticising the public service.

However, sources close to the council said both Senior Deputy Inspectors General S. M. Wickramasinghe and Pujith Jayasundara were lobbying intensely to secure the top post.

Both men have almost equal seniority and have seven months more service than the third-placed S/DIG Chandana Wickramaratne.

However, Wickramaratne, 53, is the youngest, but with a masters in defence management and post-graduate qualifications in conflict resolution.

The Constitutional Council had been given the curriculum vitaes of all three officers and have been asked to present themselves at the Speaker's Chambers of the parliament complex.

President Maithripala Sirisena appears to have deviated from the constitutional provision requiring him to nominate a candidate and instead sent three names for the consideration of the Council last week.

The president's head of security, S. M. Wickramasinghe is the oldest at 57 and is in an intense battle with Jayasundara, 56.

"There is a lot of political pressure being brought in favour of these two candidates," a source close to the council said. "They are also using Buddhist cleragy to mount pressure on the council."

However, a member of the council who spoke on condition of anonymity said they will not bow to pressure and will not consider seniority as the sole criteria.

"We are looking at the educational background, service record and complaints of bribery and corruption as well as any human rights violations," the council member said.

In February, the president named three seniors for the post of attorney general, but the Council told him that they could only ratify a name suggested by the executive.

Eventually, the AG post did not go to the senior most officer, but a person the council felt more comfortable with.

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