Rumesh Dilan Wirasinghe the CEO of Phoenix Duty Free Services, the controversial duty free supplier of SriLankan Airlines In-Flight Duty Free has been named in the offshore leaks database released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), Colombo Telegraph investigation found.
Phoenix Duty Free Services which started off as Phoenix Rising Ventures Ltd, when as an unknown entity and having no prior experience in the business signed off a deal with the airline to supply duty free items for sale on board and also the supply wines and champagne for consumption in flight.
The contract was signed by the former SriLankan Airlines CEO Kapila Chandrasena and Manager In Flight Services Rashmore Ferdinands, with the approval of former Chairman Nishantha Wickramasinghe the brother in law of the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
The controversial awarding of the contract out of tender procedures was also highlighted in the “Weliamuna Report” when the national carrier was ordered to be investigated by the government in February of 2015. The report highlighted staggering losses the airline was incurring after the signed contract between the management of the airline and Phoenix Duty Free officials was amended mid way through the contract.
Based on lawyer Weliamuna’s report, the airline will eventually stand to lose over US $ 8 million when the deal which strangely still continues comes to an end with the current financial year.