Kapila Chandrasena, ex-CEO SriLankan Airlines, who was forced to resign when his termination on charges of corruption was eminent, is to be appointed to the Mobitel Board of Directors on the directive of President Maithripala Sirisena, Colombo Telegraph learns.
Ironically, Chandrasena will be replacing Thusitha Haloluwa, once Secretary to Maithripala Sirisena and presently Coordinating Secretary to Mangala Samaraweera, the former Minister of Telecommunications who was replaced by Harin Fernando after the General Election. Haloluwa played a key role in forming the Common Opposition which backed Sirisena to challenge Mahinda Rajapaksa for the Presidency.
Chandrasena was at one point CEO of both Mobitel and SriLankan Airlines. During his tenure as CEO of Mobitel, he initiated what was the first effort to purchase Hutch in a deal where the purchase price was to exceed the real value of the troubled telecommunications service provider by more than US $ 50 million. It is alleged that Chandrasena is being brought back to Mobitel to seal the fresh effort at a deal this time initiated by the President’s brother Kumarasinghe Sirisena.
Chandrasena came to fame as a young man as an aide to the “Casino King” Joe Sim during the Premadasa Presidency. His financial irregularities were exposed by a special committee headed by JC Weliamuna. That investigation is yet to be concluded. Chandrasena is expected to be brought before the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) shortly. By appointing Chandrasena to the Mobitel Board President Sirisena severely compromises the work of the FCID.
Colombo Telegraph has published detailed reports of the SLT-Hutch deal and exposed Kumarasinghe Sirisena’s unethical and highhanded behavior to clear the way for this.
Despite different party loyalties, highly influential politicians from both major parties are in a concerted effort to seal the Hutch deal with Chandrasena allegedly looking after the Hutch interest, Colombo Telegraph learns. Political differences it seems are being set aside in the interest of getting a share of the kickback pie.
The President, after pledging a corruption-free, nepotism-free country in his election campaign. is now placing corrupt loyalists of the Rajapaksa regime in key positions.
Sirisena, who decried Mahinda Rajapaksa for gagging the media, is now personally calling up editors of Sinhala and English national newspapers to complain that he should have been consulted before publishing reports. As a result editors are maintaining a strict silence on the Hutch-SLT deal.
The President doesn’t seem to be taking any chances in information on this deal appearing in newspapers. Following Mahinda Rajapaksa’s footsteps, it is reported that he is in the process of acquiring control of newspaper houses through businessmen close to him.