Summary completed: General Fonseka faces court martial

Former UNP MPs’ testimony key factor

A former parliamentarian of the United National Party (UNP) has officially confirmed that General Sarath Fonseka made contact with the opposition when he was serving as Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).

He had then been critical of his superiors including President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Defence Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa, the former MP has claimed.

The revelations by Lakshman Seneviratne (former UNP MP for Badulla District), the Sunday Times learnt, came when he testified before the Chief of Staff of the Army, Major General Daya Ratnayake.
The number two in the Army recorded ‘summary of evidence’ a prelude to the General Court Martial against retired General Sarath Fonseka. The proceedings took place in the Officer’s Mess (Ward Room) of Navy Headquarters in Colombo Fort.

Mr. Senevirate has said that retired General Fonseka had sent one of his own CDMA telephones through a journalist for him to speak. During those conversations he had not only been critical of his superiors but had also spoken about several matters including his plans to enter politics. CID detectives say they want to question the journalist, a one-time writer of a defence column in a Sunday English weekly and a close associate of the retired General, but his whereabouts are not known.

The conversation with Mr. Seneviratne and another UNP former parliamentarian then, Johnston Fernando (Kurunegala District), had been the beginning of the dialogue with the opposition. Thereafter, the dialogue was taken over by the opposition leaders who wrapped up a deal to make retired General Fonseka their “common candidate” for last month’s presidential elections.

Mr. Fernando, who has since crossed over to Government ranks, also testified at the recording of ‘summary of evidence’ before Maj. Gen. Ratnayake. He has confirmed that retired General Fonseka had also made contact with him after sending his own CDMA telephone. He had also divulged what transpired during their conversations.

The process of recording ‘summary of evidence’ against Gen. (retd.) Fonseka was concluded on Friday. Maj. Gen. Ratnayake has forwarded the evidence to Army Commander Lt. Gen. Jagath Jayasuriya who has informed President Mahinda Rajapaksa that a “prima facie” case exists. The President, who is the Commander-in-chief will direct that a General Court Martial be held to try the former Army Commander and CDS.

Documents containing the statements made before Maj. Gen. Ratnayake and a charge sheet will be given to Gen. (retd.) Fonseka. As exclusively revealed in the Sunday Times, the General Court Martial will be chaired by the acting Chief of Defence Staff Air Chief Marshal Roshan Gunathilake. Other members of the court are to be named next week.

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