Seventy seven days have now passed since the “Weliamuna/Jayaratne” report and findings on Sri Lankan Airlines has been handed over to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe exposing corruption and fraud committed by the former Rajapaksa government. The entire country now wonders if the premier will ever table the report in parliament due to his lackadaisical approach displayed where people who voted for Yahapalanaya are now begin to get concerned.
The non-disclosure of the Weliamuna/Jayaratne report to parliament and subsequent recommendations by the Board of Inquiry not been adhered to thus far, is bound to end up having serious repercussions for Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe with the general elections just around the corner.
The BOI headed by the current Chairperson of Transparency International Sri Lanka and lawyer J.C. Weliamuna and his four man team, which also comprised good governance activist Chandra Jayaratne, interviewed scores of the airline’s staff who voluntarily came forward. Staff spilt many a bean regarding corruption that ran into billions of rupees, besides manipulations of service contracts and abuse of power within the senior management of the national carrier. The findings of the now known report with Chandra Jayaratne also being instrumental in the inquiry, recommended that the former President Rajapaksa’s brother in law, the airline’s Chairman Nishantha Wickramasinghe and its CEO Kapila Chandrasena be criminally prosecuted.
Besides the resignation of both the Chairman Wickramasinghe and CEO Chandrasena, only Captain Druvi Perera’s post of Chief Operations Officer was scrapped on the 31st of May 2015, that eventually cost the tax payer Rs 3.5million. This whopping sum is equivalent to the annual salaries of three supreme court judges.
Employees of Sri Lankan Airlines are currently up in arms as those who fearlessly came forward are now being hounded by those corrupt individuals who still continue to hold power, especially with only a few being re-assigned negligible portfolios within the airline.
“We fear for our jobs now as most of us who were promised protection to come forward and blurt information in an official staff notice are now paying the price for trusting the present government’s promise. Currently over 6800 employees are uncertain about their future ” said a disgruntled very senior employee of the airline.
The senior managers of the airline’s commercial and finance departments that raked in millions due to personal kick backs and commissions, still simply rule the roost and are marking time hoping that the former government will come into power where they could then safely secure their posts.
Many outsourced contracts and suppliers such as the controversial awarding of the supply of duty free and wines to Phoenix Rising Ventures Pvt Ltd headed by a former Board Director Raju Chandiram of the airline still continue to milk the airline in millions of rupees by the day.