The national carrier releasing a Human Resources communique to all staff revealed that the decision was taken by the Board of Directors on the 24th of January 2019 and will be in effect as of today.
Srimanthaka Senanayake the airline’s Senior Manager International Relations has been entrusted to oversee the Human Resources functions in addition to his current duties.
As the former Head of Human Resources, Kekulawela earlier drew severe flak when he was named in the “Weliamuna Report” by Lawyer J.C. Weliamuna and his team of lawyers who had conducted a government ordered investigation into the airline for fraud and corruption in 2015.
In February 2018, many employees of the national carrier voluntarily came forward to expose Kekulawela yet again in the ongoing Presidential Commission of Inquiry into fraud and corruption caused at SriLankan Airlines, Mihin Lanka and SriLankan Catering.
Notably it was Captain Ruwan Vithange the President of the Airline Pilots Guild of Sri Lanka, who handed a dossier of information to the current investigation commission on the alleged fraudulent corrupter.
Captain Vithanage also handed an official letter to the airline’s Chairman and Board of Directors stating that the APGSL had no confidence in Kekulawela continuing to be their Head of Human Resources. The letter stated 12 reasons as to why they wanted Kekulwela removed.
Earlier even the Flight Attendants Union (FAU) officially threatened the airline’s senior management that they would take legal action against the company as Kekulawela was instrumental in promoting employees much against documented clauses as stated in their Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) which they had signed with the airline’s management.
Pradeepa Kekulawela was also reported in the media on several occasions for shelving reported cases, such as human smuggling, fraud and corruption committed by employees of the airline.
Much to the chagrin of many employees of the airline, Kekulawela’s role as Head of Human Resources continued to be protected, as he curried favour with the current Yahapalanaya government’s appointed former Chairman Ajith Dias and former CEO Suren Ratwatte and its former Board of Directors.
According to a Right To Information (RTI) report, Pradeepa Kekulawela is paid a whopping sum of Rs 998,004 besides other perks and benefits by SriLankan Airlines. (By Janaka Ranaweera)