What’s COPE trying to hide?

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In a strange move, the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) has decided to postpone releasing the full video of the special committee meeting yesterday (23) in which former Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) Chairman M.M.C. Ferdinando has testified.

The video footage of the meeting will be released next Monday (27). COPE failed to provide a logical explanation behind this move. It is unclear whether the video footage that will be released on 27 June will be unedited.

Ferdinando was summoned before the committee again following his controversial statement that nearly sparked a diplomatic dispute between Sri Lanka and India. The former CEB Chairman had sent a letter to COPE Chairman Dr. Charitha Herath on 11 June, requesting to expunge the contents of his testimony.

Ferdinando said before COPE on 10 June that the tender for the Mannar Wind Power Plant had been given to India’s Adani Group following pressure from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. After President Rajapaksa categorically denied the statement, Ferdinando withdrew the statement, claiming he had become emotional and it was inaccurate. Ferdinando resigned from the post on 11 June.

After yesterday’s COPE meeting concluded, Parliament correspondents were informed that COPE members had decided not to release video footage of the meeting to the Media. It was informed only a Media release of the meeting would be provided.

However, when journalists repeatedly inquired the motive behind not releasing the video footage, the COPE Chairman hinted there were some “controversial” remarks made by the former CEB Chairman.

It was later announced that the video footage of the meeting will be released on 27 May. 

According to the Media release, COPE, after extensive discussion, decided to censor a few words of Ferdinando’s controversial remark.

By Gagani Weerakoon and Methmalie Dissanayake