Protocol ignored for registering ‘Hira Foundation’ | Sunday Observer
Probe into Easter Sunday attacks

Protocol ignored for registering ‘Hira Foundation’

15 November, 2020

The Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) investigating the Easter Sunday attacks was told on Friday that a former Additional Director at the Department of Social Services had ignored due protocol when giving the ‘Hira Foundation’, certification of its previous registrations. 

The Hira Foundation is linked to former Eastern Province Governor M.L.A.M. Hizbullah and has come under scrutiny since the Easter Sunday terror attacks last year.

During the proceedings of the Presidential Commission on the Easter Sunday massacre, it was revealed that there had also been other discrepancies in the ‘Hira Foundation’ registration.

The PCoI resumed its proceedings on Friday under the stipulated health and safety protocols following a hiatus since October 27.

The focus of the Commission fell on the ‘Hira Foundation’ which is identified as a social service organisation.

The first to give evidence on Friday was Social Services Officer Dhammika Wasalabandara from the Department of Social Services. He told the Commission that a file at the Department of Social Services indicates that the ‘Hira Foundation’ was registered on September 9, 1993. He said that he had observed an unusual difference between the registration number of several social services organisations and that of the ‘Hira Foundation’.

He said that there is a discrepancy of the address on the ‘Hira Foundation’ registration certificate and the one given to the Department of Social Services.

The State Counsel asked the witness whether the Social Services Department has an application submitted by the ‘Hira Foundation’ seeking registration as a social services organisation.

He said that the Department does not have a document as such and there are no other files at the Department which confirm the registration of the ‘Hira Foundation’.

In 1999, the powers of registering NGOs were taken away from the Social Services Department and were given to the National Secretariat.

Though that was the case, the witness said the ‘Hira Foundation’ had made a request on July 21, 2011 from the Social Services Department for a certification of its former registration. Wasalabandara said that though the Department did not have any powers pertaining to NGOs, an Additional Director there, H.M.M. Zamir, had issued a certificate, confirming the previous registration of ‘Hira Foundation’.

In response to the questions raised by the Commission, to Additional Director of the Social Services Department H.M.M. Zamir said that in 1999, the powers of registering NGOs were taken away from the Department of Social Services and given to the National Secretariat for Non-Governmental Organisations. 

 

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