22 September, 2018

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SriLankan Airlines Chairman Dias Claims Weliamuna’s Rs 3.5 Million Report Has Zero Value

SriLankan Airlines Chairman Ajith Dias has condemned the ‘Weliamuna Report’ saying there was no financial misappropriations found as stated in the final findings made against the former Chairman Nishantha Wickramasinghe, CEO Kapila Chandrasena and thirteen others.

J. C. Weliamuna

J. C. Weliamuna

Chairman Dias Speaking to the Sunday Times had also gone on to clear the names of cabin crew member Chathurika J. Muhandiram, the airline’s New York representative Dilan Ariyawansa, senior cabin crew member Senanaya Senanayaka, Head of Human Resources Pradeepa Kekulawala, Head of Security Piyadi Chandrawansa, Head of Finance Yasantha Dissanayake and Chief Operations Officer Druvi Perera among others against whom serious allegations were made in the report.

This means that even Udayanga Weeratunga, Sri Lanka’s former Ambassador to Russia who was accused earlier of influencing the airline’s operations as the General Sales Agent is also cleared.

Chairman Dias had confirmed that four current directors of the national carrier were appointed to scrutinize the ‘Weliamuna Report‘ and that they had found no financial misappropriation as highlighted in the final report which was submitted by Lawyer J.C. Weliamuna and his team.

The entire exercise carried out by Lawyer J.C.Weliamuna and his team took place over a six week period between February and March of last year, where scores of staff were requested to fearlessly come forward and spill the beans. An internal staff memo was issued by the national carrier assuring them protection for doing so.

Lawyer J.C.Weliamuna confessed that he was paid Rs 3.5 million rupees in total for his work. He however did not provide a breakdown for the fees that he obtained.

Dismissing the ‘Weliamuna Report’, Chairman Dias had then gone on to say that the final report was based on what people who were interviewed had stated.

” This is misuse of public funds. When there is a government body like Criminal Investigation Department and lawyers available who are attached to the Attorney Generals’ Department to investigate such acts, the Minister arbitrarily appointed a lawyer who supported Yahapalanaya and was ultimately rewarded Rs 3.5 million. This alone is a misusing of public funds. J.C.Weliamuna should be ashamed to point fingers at others with himself being the Chairman of Transparency International. Lawyer J.C. Weliamuna should have the decency and moral ethics to refund the monies in full especially after providing such a dud report,” a former judge told Colombo Telegraph.

Lawyer J.C.Weliamuna was appointed by the then Minister for Aviation, Ports and Shipping Arjuna Ranatunga to conduct the investigations. ( Janaka Ranaweera )

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  • 4
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    SriLankan Airlines Chairman Ajith Dias

    RE: SriLankan Airlines Chairman Dias Claims Weliamuna’s Rs 3.5 Million Report Has Zero Value

    “SriLankan Airlines Chairman Ajith Dias has condemned the ‘Weliamuna Report’ saying there was no financial misappropriations found as stated in the final findings made against the former Chairman Nishantha Wickramasinghe, CEO Kapila Chandrasena and thirteen others.”

    How come they lost so much when those characters were in charge?

    So, what value are you bringing in as the Chairman of Air Lanka, that is still losing money? Do you have a strategy to to cut the losses and find a partner airline? Please move quickly, and fix the problem. It is very unfair to tax the poor taxpayer, and they are suffering from malnutrition.

    By the way, did you read the Fortune or Forbes Article of Sri Lankan Airlines and the mess created by Mahinda Rajapaksa and cronies? Is that true?

    OCT 7, 2016

    Sri Lanka’s Mismanaged, Cash-Hemorrhaging Airline Is For Sale (And There Are Actually Takers)

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/wadeshepard/2016/10/07/sri-lankas-mismanaged-cash-hemorrhaging-airline-is-for-sale-and-there-are-actually-takers/#4001a8da15df

    SriLankan Airlines used to make money. The national carrier was a profitable airline for the ten years that it was operated as a joint venture with the Dubai-based Emirates Airline. Then Emirates sold its share in 2008, and one year later the financial downward spiral for SriLankan began.

    Seven years later, SriLankan Airlines has racked up $3.25 billion in debt, and over the first three months of this year alone its losses have been in the ballpark of $112 million. In May, the Sri Lankan government announced that it would be selling four of its new Airbus A350s, and orders for four more were canceled, which resulted in a $170 million penalty.

    In March, it was announced that Sri Lanka was looking for foreign investors interested in taking over their their beleaguered, debt-laden national carrier. In July, the government began taking offers for a 49% share and management control of the airline. According to the government, this is part of a broader strategy to privatize state companies and reduce national debt, but it seems more like a Morse code operator feverishly ticking out S-O-S aboard a sinking ship.

    SriLankan Airlines has long been criticized for mismanagement since splitting from the joint venture. From appointing “unqualified political lackeys” to positions of power — which included then-president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s brother-in-law, who served as the airline’s chairman — to said former president using the airline as his personal charter service, to buying unneeded aircraft, to generally poor business decisions, Sri Lanka has struggled to profitably run the airline that bears its name.

    This issue was no better manifested than the government forcing the airline to operate a second hub at Mattala International Airport between 2013 and 2015. This was Sri Lanka’s second international airport, which was built next to an elephant preserve in remote Hambantota — the site of a large-scale, multi-faceted development endeavor that has yet to gain momentum. This world-class airport lacked nothing except passengers, and was mainly used as a transit hub. According to a government report, an average of just seven passengers per flight were being served at Mattala throughout 2014, and stories abound about how planes would touch down there to neither pick up nor drop off anyone. Needless to say, this second, reportedly unneeded, hub hemorrhaged cash for SriLankan Airlines, and today the government is also looking for foreign companies interested in taking the entire loss-generating airport off their hands.

    That said, half a dozen firms have submitted offers to take the Sri Lankan government up on their offer. Namely, the private equity firm TPG and BlackRock have shown interest in taking over SriLankan. The “winner” will be selected within a couple of months, according to a senior finance ministry official.

    Apparently, SriLankan Airlines still has promise and may be salvageable. It has a fleet of 21 leased Airbus planes, attractive routes to India, and is based out of a country that is becoming a prime international tourist destination.

    Wade Shepard , CONTRIBUTOR
    I travel to emerging markets around Asia and report on what I find.

    Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.
    Continued from page 1

    But Sri Lanka’s fiscal problems with its national carrier are indicative of a broader national financial crisis. The attempt to revitalize the economy via large-scale infrastructure projects has backfired and buried the country in so much debt that not even the government knows how much it owes. It has been reported that 95.4% of all government revenue is going towards debt repayment, which has resulted in a $1.5 billion IMF bailout.

    Sri Lanka looking for a foreign partner to buy out and manage their national airline is also in step with a larger pattern of the country looking for foreign enterprises or governments to keep its projects and companies afloat. As mentioned above, Sri Lanka is also looking for a private partner to take over Mattala International Airport, the Hambantota deep sea port is ceding more and more control to Chinese shipping companies, as yet unrequited debt-for-equity swaps have been offered to some of the country’s biggest international financiers, the nation’s biggest and most promising infrastructure project is Chinese FDI, and 15,000 acres of land may soon be handed over to China to build an industrial zone. Sri Lanka is starting to resemble something between a going out of business sale and a salvage lot.

  • 14
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    What robust evidence has Ajith Dias furnished to back up his claim? Who is scrutinizing the scrutinizers? As far as the public is aware SLK air lines is a den of thieves with debts stacked up sky high. Management is totally incompetent; that is the bottom line.

    • 6
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      Dear Thrisu,

      I wonder why all these investigations take that long. This and other investigations seem taking that much of time for no named reasons. … why

      Last night I happened to watch a serie in “Medical Ditectives”. There I got to know forensic investigations should be carried out ina proper manner if Wasim murder related allegations to be proved. That is also possible actually, if the investigators would work wholeheartedly.

      However, SRILANKEN airline issues are just neglected by the current regime, not even arresting them for all the sums beingprovably wasted by MR-brother in law ?

      What do you tihnk is the real problem of the current men ? Sure, they cant investigate them within overnight, …. must them be that slow as it is being done by them ?

      • 7
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        I don’t have the answer to your question about the current men. May be if the powers to be hire me as an investigator with a fat fee, then I will endeavor to investigate and report :)

        What I can say is this from observations as an outsider. SLK airlines, mainly run along the lines of a private club, primarily for the benefit of its higher level employees and their extended families. Frequent demands for privileges for its employees over encroaching into fee-paying passengers privileges, and free trips for families and their kith and kin substantiate this view. The government funds it mainly as a private taxi rank to provide free first or business class tickets to ministers, MPs, government servants, and all their extended families, business and media hangers on that backs up the ministers, and of course for picking up high class lap dogs for some. It has also been used as a debt sink to absorb the enormous debts of HIMIN Airline owned jointly by those crooks SVG and Medamukalana clan, transferring all their extravagant debts to the public and tax payers.

        As a serious business, the airline was run like a dream at the time it had a co-management co-operating arrangement of some sort with Singapore Airlines. It was the only time that Sri Lanka Airlines built up a good reputation as one of the worlds premier airlines to travel in, and in-flight catering topped the first position in all global airlines. I have travelled many times with the airlines those days, and it was a real treat, I tell you, and was also looking forward to the trip. Why that co-operating arrangement was abandoned, I don’t know. We know that Singapore Airline even today is a top class airline with excellent equipment and cabin service, sustaining higher than average ticket prices confirming that people love that airline.

        Following that the next time the airline picked up some smartie points was when it was operated by Emirates. Real businesslike, yet it must have been quite a difficult task for the CEO to keep it going with constant interruptions and unreasonable demands from politicians. But the CEO did manage it well, and he showed his seriousness and business acumen by refusing to off load the passengers in London from a Colombo bound aircraft to make for the MR hangers on that needed almost an empty aircraft, such was the excesses of MR and his advisors. We know how that partnership ended with a ignorant President firing one of the top businessmen in the world. That was also the CEO’s good fortune, because he returned to Dubai;we all know what top place he holds in Emirates and what mega bucks he is earning today.

        So what is the upshot of all this, from a customers point of view. Sri Lanka airlines is not a business but a private flying club with a taxi service. Its managers are certainly incompetent as businessmen, and the sponsors of the club are ignorant hangers on that have no idea what a national carrier is for. It may also be a good excuse to con the tax payers, to buy or lease new airlines at inflated prices taking a large commission to fill their private bank accounts. It is the usual deal with Sri Lankan politicians.

        Hope I have answered your question to the best of my ability, but if you want more insider information ask that other blogger that often writes about Sri Lankan airline.

      • 3
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        Forget it,these idiots like RW and Dias will be gone soon

  • 4
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    More specifically, as listed on Transparency International`s own website, its funding comes specifically from the US State Department, the European Commission, the US State Department`s National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and controversial Open Society, chaired by convicted financial criminal George Soros.

  • 9
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    The airline was profitable run by Emirates until the fat Mahinda wanted passengers offloaded to allow him and his followers to board, the CEO rightly refused the silly request and had his visa withdrawn.

  • 9
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    Sri Lankan Airlines Chairman Mr. Ajith Dias is involved in many contro
    -versies and if this is exactly what he had said about Welimuna’s report ,he is in deep trouble as Mr. J.C. Welimuna is a senior lawyer and he could sue Mr. Dias for defamation, if he has not presented a bogus report. He is also the right hand man of the PM and it is the
    PM who asked JCW to conduct the inquiry, through then aviation minister
    Arjuna Ranathunga.

    How did Sri Lankan Airlines run into a colossal loss of nearly five
    Billion rupees during the previous regime if the management played
    straight,is the question the tax papers would like to ask the Chairman.
    Does this mean that severance pay of few more millions of rupees of public money will be paid to Former Chairman, former CEO and thirteen others because they were ‘clean’. God help Sri Lankan airlines.!

    Over to Lawyer J.C.Welimuna. Would like to have your comments in this
    esteem journal.CT.

  • 3
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    What a wast of time and money. This is a tipical example of Sri Lankan political culture. We can only see this type of situation in south Asian countries. ” This government “did same kind of facts finding report (dud report) for central bank treasury bonds with three member committee (UNP Lawyers)

  • 4
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    Pls dear CEO
    Could you pls wind your air line pls.now we got lot of other air lines touching colombo.its a myth that your air line brings the tourists.then whats the orther air lines do in Colombo.

    We all had enough of this blaming games.keep only the catering and ground handling engineering orther than keeping some planes.or rather concentrate on domestic with compatative.

    Go to rural and see the plight of living conditions.schools hospitals drinking water shortage of medicine these mafia Drs like drug dealers as long as they got money attitude..

  • 5
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    Dear pls CEO

    Could you pls wind your air line for good.we only had profit with Emirates before that singaporeans done their best to bring it to standard.

    Dont repeat the blaming games.we not oil wealth country people are struggling for drinking water in some part.

    Schools don’t have adequate basics.not enough medicines patients have to share the bed or sleep on the floor …lists goes on getting wirst.

    Keep the catering ground handling maintenance/engineering with that do good in domestic but we don’t wants international.

    Without your air line you will get tourists any way.there are lot of big so wings touching Colombo any way.

  • 2
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    Yahapalanaya in reality

  • 6
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    Aha, we need to make money as well! If Wickramasuriya did it, why can’t I (Dias) do it! You need more detergents to clean up the mess! Hey Mr. Dias! Have also found a Sri Lankan call girl? To go gallavanting around the globe at our expense! ALL Sri Lankan s are crooks whether Wickramasuriya or Dias!!

  • 1
    0

    What is the true state of the State owned Airline ..
    So many conflicting reports ,if all these stated are true, the Airline should be bankrupt and matter closed by now.

    So what is the truth ,how safe to fly Sri lankan airlines ?

    The Sad State Of Sri Lankan Airlines: From Rs. 4.4 Billion Profit To Rs …
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/…/the-sad-state-of-srilankan-airlines-…
    Mar 25, 2016 – The Sad State Of SriLankan Airlines: From Rs. 4.4 Billion Profit To Rs. … recorded a whopping loss amounting to Rs. 107 billion, since then.
    SriLankan Airlines lost Rs8.9 billion in 2015/16 | Economynext
    http://www.economynext.com/SriLankan_Airlines_lost_Rs8.9_billion_in_201...
    May 10, 2016 – ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s state-run SriLankan Airlines had lost Rs8.9 billion in the year to March 2016, down from Rs16.3 billion a year …
    If 3.5 Billion $ Debt is not Resolved Sri Lankan Airlines will Collapse …
    dbsjeyaraj.com/dbsj/archives/46380
    Apr 26, 2016 – If 3.5 Billion $ Debt is not Resolved Sri Lankan Airlines will Collapse … also assured that that no SriLankan employee would lose their jobs in …
    Industry – Page 60 – Lanka Business Online
    http://www.lankabusinessonline.com/category/industry/page/60/
    Apr 10, 2014 (LBO) – State-run Sri Lanka Transport Board has lost 3.5 billion rupees in … Sri Lankan state airlines lose Rs30.1bn in 2013; Rs90bn over 5 years.

  • 3
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    I suppose the comments of Mr.Dias reflects the views of his political Masters as well.If that is the case better all those in the Government stop pointing fingers at the previous management/Government for the sorry state of the Airline.(including the Finance Minister)

  • 7
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    Deals within Deals
    Horu Wenuven Horu
    J.C Weliamuna has done a fantastic Job within a short period to put out that Srilankan Airlines report. Somebody is trying to protect the Previous Management.
    Who can that be???????

  • 5
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    Well said Chairman/CEO.Weliamuna himself is a corrupt man. I think both Ranatunga and Waliamuna should commit suicide for wasting public money

  • 4
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    Winding the airline is not the issue. Its easy to say ‘close shop’ but what about the staff and how many families will tend to lose because of the mismanagement of the government and appointed board of directors. Has anybody thought of that. How many will lose their jobs, how many children will suffer from this, how many depended parents, brothers and sisters will suffer. How many children of the staff members still attending school will suffer when their parents cannot pay their school fees. This government should think of all these issues.

    • 0
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      So keep the air line and staffs how you going to pay the wages and up keep the air line.foreign air lines may buy but they don’t have confidence in our govnt.every one knows Emirates saga.anytime kick them out.who is going to take the risk.

      BA is not owned by British govnt it’s belongs to IAG doing really well.

    • 0
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      What about us hundreds of thousands of Tax payers who are paying for the sins of all Sri Lankan staff and their families?

  • 7
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    Ajit Dias is having day time dreams, he obviously has a deal Going if not how can he say the Stewardess who was loaned to Namali baba and salary paid by Srilankan air is a private matter. Some one please tell me is this Dias brain dead.

    • 4
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      Obviously, the private bit is what went on in their bed rooms. The salary of the said Stewardess, aka tea server and server of many other things to Namal baby has been picked up by the airline, thus the public and tax payer, making the whole thing a matter of public interest.

  • 6
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    Agree with your Comments Vaachalaya, Katie and Claire.
    Where is Srilankan Airlines Heading to??
    Ranil is trying to whitewash the Previous management and the current duo is doing the bidding.
    Very sad enough is enough!!

  • 6
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    Who appointed Weliamunna to investigate Sri Lankan airline? Maybe the same person who appointed three UNP lawyers to investigate Mahendran and Central Bank fraud.

    Weliamunna as we all know is a Fundamental Rights lawyer.He is not a trained investigator nor a criminal lawyer.He has no experience in corporate fraud or aviation matters.

    He merely concentrated on sensational matters like love affairs while ignoring the million dollar frauds at Sri lankan airlines, esp those committed by former CEO Chandrasena.

    So where lies the fault ?

  • 4
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    I am one of the victims of Abuse of Power at SriLankan Airlines.

    They cancelled my contract and forced me out of the country – they weren’t very nice about it!

    No explanation has ever been given – those involved refuse to answer my e-mails requesting clarification.

    I have never been accused of any wrong doing of any kind. My record at the Airline speaks for itself!

    I have letters and e-mails that prove the above and clearly implicate a number of people named in the Weliamuna report. All of this plus a detailed timeline of events has been submitted as part of the inquiry.

    Despite claims to the contrary – this is did happen. I’m not the only victim.

    No justice – but I can at least expose these people for what they are.

  • 2
    0

    Interesting developments as regards that “Waliamuna Report”. The present Chairman, Mr. Ajith Dias in one instance, when asked about the report said “That is not within our purview”. Then again he says “we appointed a Committee comprised of four Directors and found that there were no evidence of wrong doing by the 15 Management personnel named in the report”. That 15 included the then Chairman and the Chief Executive Officer. Then again, asked on matters relating to secondment of staff to and relevant payments that were mentioned in the report, he says “Those are Personal Matters”. He also says, the findings of the four Directors have been submitted to the “Committee” functioning under the Prime Minister, overlooking the affairs of the airline, and that “Committee” is satisfied with the report. Then on the other hand, the Minister of Finance made a public announcement and said, as a result of “over valuing the new Air Bus deal by 1/3rd of the actual price the Government lost Rs. 900 millions”. He also says: “The Government decided to cancel the purchase of three such aircraft and the penalty payment would come to Rs. 25 millions”. Then the person who compiled the “Walimuna Report”. Mr. Waliamuna, at a recently held seminar on “Good Governance” says a mega corruption deal has taken place at Sri Lankan Airline and that must be investigated without further delay.

    Now WHOM are we to believe? This is noting to do with the concept of “Yahapalanaya”; but when matters of Public Affairs are handled by those in “Authority” in a very irresponsible and a crooked manner as done in this case, the PEOPLE no doubt lose all confidence and trust in the Government. Mr. President and Mr. Prime Minister: If you allow this state of affairs to continue without calling a “Full Stop” to this type of BUFFONARY, you and your “Combined Government” will definitely be “KICKED OUT” as that happened to MR’s regime. So please don’t help to bring that MONSTER once again.

  • 3
    1

    Don’t believe anything you hear from the Politicians or UL Management.

    SriLankan Airlines is riddled with Corruption and Incompetence from top to bottom.

    There is a culture of impunity and zero accountability.

    This isn’t a business or resemble a business in any way – it’s a Racket. Ajith Dias is just there to allow the Racketeering to continue.

    The People of Sri Lanka need to wake up and demand accountability.

  • 1
    1

    Sri Lankan airlines is a failed entity. very expensive,poor quality. just sell the assets or give it to another carrier to manage. why do we need a Airline?
    if it for jobs for youth, then its a expensive hobby the tax payer cannot sustain.

  • 0
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    please talk about the other bleeding state organizations if you all are really concerned of honesty and integrity. At least SriLankan Airlines gives moneys worth compared to other government organizations.

    • 1
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      Bullshit.Where do you get this money’s worth it? Definitely not at the Airport check-in counters and most certainly not with Inflight service.

  • 0
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    It is quite clear that Ranil will continue the Rajapaksa looting through his Royal Pals.

    What hope is there for the resuscitation of Mother Lanka?

  • 1
    0

    Mr Ajith Dias you are spot on. Weliamuna report has no value. It is a one sided story. It is Ranatunga who appointed this person and he welcomed anyone to say anything they wanted and recorded it. There was no check and balance and he compiled all what the others said and submitted. There was no inquiry on what he was told no opportunity was given for those who are accused of various issues.How can any responsible officer act on these rubbish?

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