25 September, 2018

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SriLankan Airlines: Leaked Letter Causes Turbulence As President Orders Cabinet Ministers To Grill Management

The recent meeting ordered by President Maithripala Sirisena which was attended by over 35 Cabinet Ministers at the Presidential Secretariat, to look into the serious malpractices committed by the current management of SriLankan Airlines and especially the non-implementation of the Weliamuna Report, was fueled by an expose made by the four Non Executive Board of Directors Rajan Brito, Rakhita Jayawardena, R.C. De Silva and H.K. Balapatabendi Colombo Telegraph can confirm.

The four Non-Executive Directors representing one side of the split executive office due to an ongoing rift among its Board of Directors, submitted a signed letter to their airline’s Chairman Ajith Dias and copied it to R. Hewavitharana, the Secretary of the Ministry of Public Enterprise Development. This subsequent letter triggered President Maithripala Sirisena to summon his Cabinet of Ministers to question the airline’s management last Tuesday.

The purpose of their submitted letter addressed to Chairman Ajith Dias and professionally leaked with a copy to the Ministry’s Secretary R.Hewavitharana, was based on a request made earlier by the Ministry to provide a comprehensive report, seeking clarity if the Chief Executive Officer Capt. Suren Ratwatte had exceeded his mandate in entering into the three lease extension agreements which were binding SriLankan Airlines.

The letter was titled “Lease Agreement dated 12th July 2010 and the aircraft Lease Amendment for two Airbus A 330-200 aircraft”.

With no response being made to the Ministry by Chairman Dias, the four Non-Executive Directors conducted their own inquiries based on the available facts.

They then wrote to Chairman Dias urging him to respond to the Ministry’s request and also keep them copied. The Non Executive Directors also stated in their letter that based on their findings, the Management of SriLankan Airlines had clearly exceeded the Board Mandate and unnecessarily risked placing the company to legal claims.

Their letter further stated that the Lessor of the three aircraft SASOF Aviation, had also sent three letters to the airline dated 30th January 2017, mentioning that there has been a breach of contract and demanded that the airline comply with the signed agreements.

The four Non-Executive Directors recommended that the Ministry, the Attorney General’s Department or an independent panel be appointed by the Minister to confirm the findings, so that the necessary corrective action could be taken.

They also confirmed their willingness to fully assist any investigation if conducted.

Meanwhile a source who attended the meeting between the Cabinet Ministers and the airline’s Board of Directors confirmed to Colombo Telegraph that Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka and Minister Rajitha Senaratne were the two most vociferous  at the inquiry and went on to grill Chairman Ajith Dias and Director Col. Sunil Peiris.

Questions were raised as to why the recommendations of the Weliamuna Report was not being implemented, especially after the government invested millions of rupees to have the Board of Inquiry led by Lawyer J.C. Weliamuna and his team of lawyers grill the former management staff of the Rajapaksa regime in February and March of 2015.

Meanwhile further questions were also raised by the Cabinet Ministers criticizing the existence of those employees who were severely exposed in the report such as Head of Finance Yasantha Dissanayake, Head of Human Resources Pradeepa Kekulawela and the General Manager of Airport/Ground Services Bandula Weragama.

Colonel Sunil Peiris who is widely known to be currently protecting employees who worked in tandem with the former Rajapaksa regime, was questioned regarding the parachuting of Weragama into the airline to hold a senior manager’s post, especially coming directly from the Sri Lanka Army. Weragama’s subsequent rise and double promotion to his current post too was also questioned.

Chairman Ajith Dias was grilled about his close association with the former CEO Kapila Chandrasena besides the mediocre manner in which he currently runs airline’s the business.

Questions were also raised as to why no action had been taken against the airline’s controversial In Flight Duty Free Supplier, Duty Free Partners – formerly known as Phoenix Duty Free Services and as to why they were permitted to continue after controversially amending the mutually signed contract incurring a colossal loss to the airline. (Chamindri Karannagoda) 

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Latest comments

  • 36
    6

    I was on SL Airlines recently and what a wonderful airline. This airline should be rated as one of the best in the world. The cabin crew and the pilots are simply fantastic. All their hard work is ruined by idiots who are in administration. Fire these scoundrels and put some decent foreign qualified Sri Lankans to run the show. Reward the crew for all their hard work. Amazing airline!!!!!!!

    • 12
      14

      Mate, ……….. It could have been rated as a first class Airline , if that stupid ex best Finance Minister in the World didn’t cancel the 5 Airbus A 350 XWB order…… …… Did you hear the excuse which Galleon said……. They travel too far ……….Haha …. That is why Yahapalanaya does”t need them ………..But the real reason is the the ” Re jigging of Resource Allocation”….. …. It is Dr Ranil’s Yahapalana Term for Santhosam ………The Air Craft leasing company must be laughing all the way to the bank , even after paying Galleon the Santhosam….. Because the there are heaps of Airlines who are well behind in the Waiting List with 851 Aircrafts on order…………….

      • 12
        5

        KA Sumanaya, your comments are completely irrelevant to anything I wrote. You know your hero the gamaya from the south almost ran this beautiful airline deep into a hole. How can you move forward with the purchase of the A350 when the country’s financial resources have been depleted by way of moving the money into undisclosed accounts in the ME, held in safekeeping for the political pariahs of the past regime. So stop BS’ing people.

        • 7
          7

          Mate,,,,,, Did you visit Rajitha and Son and attend Mahendran’s Corruption Hearings too. while applying for the Daul…….. Or is it just doing an errand on behalf of the Scarborough Branch to help Sampathar?….

          • 6
            3

            KA sumanaya, you are worthless piece of crap on this planet.

          • 6
            2

            KA Sumanaya, while the country bleeds and disintegrates you sit there and crack silly childish jokes. I have read your comments and it is sad how a human can produce such garbage like you. People like you on both sides have ruined this beautiful country. Keep at it and SL will be no more one day.

            • 6
              2

              Tamil from the north, I am a Sinhalese from the south and I really like what you say . You make a lot of sense most people don’t seem to understand but you get it my friend

              • 3
                1

                Udaya, thanks my friend. I see you as a Sri Lankan, not as Sinhalese, Tamil or otherwise. I only want the best for this country. I enjoy freedom in Canada, and I want that freedom for all citizens of this beautiful country which I left behind many years ago. I get very annoyed with idiot racists on both sides. There are some nasty idiots from the north as well who live abroad and create trouble in Lanka, why? They don’t care, it is not their children who will die, it is other people’s children. This is fun for them. SL should and will remain one united country, there will be no division!!!

      • 5
        14

        Worst possible airlines in the world. We should rebrand to Air Buddha and prohibit Muslims and Christians from flying on it

    • 12
      2

      india made a pilot the primeminister.ranil made his buddy a pilot also a chief excutive.Both were disasters for the country.A pilot should be pilot,what does he know about administration and strategic decisions?He will know how to fly a plane only.

      India will come up quickly now because they have a great primeminister who has come up the proper way with a sterling track record running gujarat for 20 years.

      You must always have the right person for the for the right job ,instead of getting the right person for the wrong job.

    • 21
      2

      Hope the board members of the MARa regime and the yahapalanaya regime will be held responsible for all losses incurred due to poor decision making.

      Sell the airline to one of the middle eastern carriers and get experts to run it. We cannot compete them and hence best is to partner them.

      Clean up the airline and cut costs. Cannot afford to have 300 Pilots and 7,000 staff for 25 aircrafts !!!

      Also cannot afford to pay Rs 2 million plus payments on a monthly basis to a pilot and Rs 500,000 per month with allowances to a stewardess. Get them onto a incentives based package and cur down fixed costs.

      Thank god MIHIN was closed.

      2015-2017 losses are Rs 60 billion. Could have built 10 fully fledged hospitals or 5 universities with all facilities.

    • 4
      1

      Well said

    • 11
      3

      Tamil from the North; We do not need foreign qualified Sri Lankans when there was a local Businessman who ran it for a short period and paid two bonuses while showing a profit. What we need are honest people.

      • 12
        1

        Harishchandra, if you can produce honest hardworking locals, then that is the first step and I agree with you. I wrote my comment in frustration after traveling on this beautiful airline 4 times recently flown by absolutely professional crews. Though we ran away long ago to escape this nasty civil war instigated by rascals from the south and the north, I still see light at the end of the tunnel for SL through this beautiful airline.

        • 9
          0

          Tamil from the North: The hitch is where will the local politicians let their catchers make a fast buck for services rendered during election time. The Bond scam for one is a very good example. You are an optimist if you can see a light through this airline for the country, the only way we could see a light for this country in my opinion is only through a drastic change in the way we choose our parliamentary representatives.

          • 8
            1

            Harishchandra, again I agree with you. Thanks for having a serious and intelligent conversation with me. Small steps can lead to big steps for this country. I hope this beautiful country will move forward soon.

            • 2
              2

              Tamil from the North:
              This country could have taken great strides forward if that genial and genteel person from the North was made the PM instead of MR. We missed the bus on that instance as well as several others and I remain very pessimistic about hopes for this country. The States had about 6 or 7 black presidents because they are very much less racist than us.

              • 5
                1

                Harishchandra, I grew up in Jaffna before we all ran away to Canada to avoid this nasty and very very sad war. I saw complete destruction from the other side of the world. I saw innocent people from all sides of the divide getting killed. I was always taught and saw with my own eyes, Sinhalese people are just like us. They want the best for their children and friends. But corrupt politicians ruined this beautiful country. 30 years of war, I see this lovely country limping forward, but I strongly feel the limp will go away one day. Waiting and hoping!!!

    • 2
      12

      @Tamil from the North,
      Are you nuts? I think, and most Eelam Tamils would agree that you are a genocidal Sinhese hiding behind a Tamil name. are you not aware the global boycott campaign of Eelam Tamils against genocidal Sri Lanka. you praise here genocidal airlines of genocidal Sinhala state. You should apologize to Eelam Tamils. .if Tamil National Leader Thalaivar was alive he would have whip your sorry ass. without Thalaivar Tamils have no leadership and people like you and many others don’t know what to say and what not to say. Tamils quest is for Tamil Eelam. Work for it .

      • 9
        2

        Tamil Eelam Patriot, hahahahha you are a funny bugger. First run away in fear, seek asylum then get married, have children, raise them to send them to good schools and then get them married. On free time from a foreign land, have a plate of rice and curry and get together with friends and dream of this BS Tamil Ealam at other people’s children’s expense. Selfish bastard send your children to fight for your dream and then come and talk here. Otherwise leave the people of SL to live their lives peacefully. I am a Tamil and bloody proud of it. If the roles were reversed and I was a Sinhalese, I have no issues being proud of that too. Fellows like you are the ruination of this beautiful land. The Sinhalese got some nuts like you on their side as well. Idiot go and get a life!!!!!!

        • 2
          0

          No Tamil or Sinhala or Muslim or Burgher people in this world, only Good people and Bad people.

      • 2
        0

        Tamil Eelam Patriot: Do not ever believe India will allow a division of SL. Let us forgive and forget and let bygones be bygones and not let warmongers who were the only beneficiaries of the last war win again. You lost brave men and we too lost brave guys, do not let it happen again.

    • 1
      0

      It’s just a forerunner to the sale of airline to ranil and cbk relative(like upali wijewardena- but he is not a jim reeves type) harry jayawardena.- good man not a racist (no smoking or drinking or womanising)I known for ages.

    • 1
      1

      “This airline should be rated as one of the best in the world. “

      it is rated 89 out of 100 airlines.You must have got on the plane on a day when the menstrual cycles were all clear.

    • 1
      2

      Following the example of Us & Donald Trump, we should ban Tamils, Moslems & other well known terrorist sympathizers from traveling in SL Air Lines. Tamils from the North are well known to have bombed airlines, trains, school buses & other public transport.

    • 1
      2

      Tamil from the North:

      Did the plane land at Katunayake Air Port, the place that was bombed by the Tamils, killing many innocent people and destroying valuable aircraft.

      SL gov should enact laws similar to those of Donald Trump banning Tamils from traveling by air.

      • 3
        1

        Edward Upali a madman from the south. Absolutely nuts and did they just release you from Angoda? Sad fellow, it was bombed by the LTTE who happen to be Tamils. It was not bombed by the entire Tamil population. Did the madman south of me by the name Trump (the U.S., version of MR) block all blacks from a travel ban? Similar to those of Trump? What does that supposed to mean? Can you explain that from the eternal wisdom you proclaim to have?

        • 1
          1

          Tamil from the North:
          Trump’ s Travel Ban has already been partially confirmed by all 9 Supreme Court Judges agreeing. The rest of the Travel Ban is to be taken up in the fall. That is a verdict of the “Foreign Judges”, you guys have wanted in SL, to adjudicate on our local issues.

          So it would follow, a Travel Ban of Tamils & Moslems in airlines operating in & out of SL would be acceptable & legal – due to their history of bombing airlines & public transport and killing of innocents.

          Given that the TNA MPS (Sampanthan et al) and the Provincial Council reps were for long years mouthpieces of the LTTE or were active LTTErs, one does not have to go too far to connect the Tamils with terror activities.

          • 2
            1

            Edward Muniyandi Kabarakoya Upali, do you remember the time one of your war heroes whacked Rajiv Gandhi on his neck? Do you remember the time 2 hoodlums called Gamini Dissanayake and 3rd class rowdy called Cyril Matthew with 200 drunken cops burnt down the Jaffna Library and burnt down the entire Jaffna new market area, do you remember the time the JVP fellows were killing innocent Sinhalese educators, professionals, bus drivers……etc., do you remember the time a thug by the name Sepala Ekanayake hijacked Al Italia, do you remember the time MR employed a fellow by the name Karuna Amman and Pillayan who murdered 600 surrendered policemen in cold blood, do you remember the time your hero MR brought KP Pathmanathan who helped smuggle weapons for the LTTE, which ultimately killed thousands of innocent civilians of this beautiful nation (Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims, etc), do you remember the time your racist uncle’s racist policies grew the LTTE to a menacing killing machine, Do you remember the time your war heroes raping and murdering Tamil civilians?……………….let me stop here. Do you have short memory? Oh by the way do you also remember Basil Rajapaksa giving 180 million rupees through Mangala Samaraweera and Tiran Alles to the LTTE murderers in the Wanni jungles? Do you need more? Use common sense. If you are a down right racist, let me know. Then I will know not to write to you as you are deemed a simpleton and it will be a waste of time talking to you. But as I see it, I feel you are simply dumb and very stupid.

  • 9
    7

    What would Rajitha know about running Airlines…..he is loud mouth good for no nothing shit stirrer, who sucks up to anything and everything, where he can make a good loving , while clearing the path for his even bigger foul mouth Son, who tells nothing but bull shit and get away with it…….The other “Colonel Klinck” who grilled the Airline management knew only to grill the Terrorists , and shoot them if they didn’t kneel down , with the Palms clasped and kissed the Colonel’s feet……..What a joke……… Even an AL student who can read English know the letter is only about the CEO signing a lease without Board approval…………Is this another Yahapalan Joke ,which has or is going to cost the Tax Payers a lot of money…….In the same way as Galleon returning the A 350s , which doubled the Srilnakan losses for last Year………………. As for .Weliamuna Report , it must be same as Dr Ranil’s UNP other Report on the Central Bank Robbery ………. Wonder how much Welliamuna collected for clearing Mahendran?……

  • 7
    1

    Some claim Ranil W is a financial wizard (though all he has is a law degree and by all accounts was mediocre at it).
    Why hasn’t he sorted this mess out?

  • 9
    2

    These stooges consider themselves as PM’s men, and above everything and everybody. PM has good plans but does not have good people to execute them. Instead of counting on these God forshaken, no good stooges, he should find good hard-nut, talented and high caliber, experienced, go getters to get the good job done. In the end, these loyal yes men would ruin the little left of him. Within and outside the country there are enough and more countrymen and wemon are there do to this job of lifting this pathetic outfit out of its miseries, and give a good break to the country and its poor folks.

    • 1
      0

      Nimal, agree that good, talented, educated, business savvy go getters of sound ethical and moral background should be recruited to run all state owned enterprises. Advertise and get this talent from the vast pool of Sri Lankans. Paying the current incompetent, uneducated robbers Rs 2M in salaries – well one could attract extreme committed results driven talent for one half or less that amount. Placing uneducated, rotten scoundrels who have nothing but selfish intent, is no solution to economic woes of this country – it aggravates further. RW surely has some grey matter to know that executing his plans for the country’s future does not rely on “yes” men of the like who are getting exposed for their monumental flaws.

  • 9
    0

    Almost every Lankan knows that SriLankan Airlines is very very very poorly managed. Absolutely undisciplined work environment. We had one aircraft delayed three days in Germany because the pilot was drunk. Any action? Another time a flight left forgetting the box of earphones. And the list goes on and on.

    Should the President have waited this long to step in? Was it necessary to summon 35 ministers to grill the management? Will the session be confidential. The network of wrongdoers will protect each other.

    The bane of SriLankan Airlines is the bane of all GoSL – continuing corruption, nepotism and the prevailing culture of impunity. The President must try something new. Punish wrongdoers and hold them responsible for the wrongs. This will mean appointments on merit – the simple remedy which works elsewhere.

  • 12
    1

    Any business that has been stuffed with non business minded Rajapaksa stooges has been a financial disaster.
    The clown brother in law really drove well run Emirates profitable partnership into the ground.
    The Emirates appointed CEO rightly refused to unload passengers in order Mahinda and his fellow low life to board,had his visa withdrawn start of downward trend.
    What other president or prime minister in a civilized Asian country could stoop to this degrading level and see nothing wrong in his actions?

    • 1
      1

      Last Tuesday 20th June on a Air Lanka flight to the UK I saw a loud hectic argument raging between an Indian passenger and a male steward in the rear of the plane despite of the roar of the engines in the rear part of the aircraft where the drinks and refreshments are stowed.
      I knew he was Indian because the steward was insulting him that he was an Indian..”xxxxx…”and the Indian passenger echoing in a similar manner against the steward.
      Another male steward soon joined in and I heard threats hurled against the passenger that the plane would be diverted back to Colombo and the passenger arrested on charges of obstruction and violent behaviour.

      A a very embarrassed female air hostess with a helpless look gave me the glass of water I requested which I finished and returned to my seat.
      I didn’t wish to ask her what the row was about.

      Happily the aircraft touched down at LHA at the scheduled time without delay. I should be thankful to the airline for providing free entertainment.

    • 3
      0

      JF,
      The former chairman Nishantha Wickremasinghe who started the rot in the airline, appears to have still not been grilled by PRECIFAC.

      He was a planter and brother of Shiranthi Rajapakse, hence the appointment.
      He is the man who originally ruined the airline by corruption.
      Your information about staff and salaries are startling.
      This airline must be the top “loosing state enterprise”.

      Do we need an airline which looses millions daily when there are citizens living on less than a meal a day?
      Should the false prestige of a “national airline” enrich a few and starve many?

      Sri Lanka must be the only country which pampers massively loosing state enterprises, and borrowing funds from abroad and the IMF to do so.
      The President should order the Attorney General, not Cabinet Ministers to investigate.

    • 5
      0

      My dear Gamin that was years ago. What was Ranil and MS sitting on their rear ends and doing over the past 2+ years?

      Time to stop blaming the previous regime, time to now stand up and take responsibility.

  • 2
    0

    CFO spineless fellow is used by the directors to leak stuff and make commissions. Happy days.

  • 5
    0

    We buried Air Ceylon to start Air Lanka which was name changed to Sri Lankan. The entire Airline seems to be suffering from all types of ills. It is a coughing patient. In contrast, the Singapore Airlines have done well. It had its own problems at the start. But now? The root cause of the difference is indiscipline and poor leadership. With that set in corruption. But admittedly, with all its problems, the airlines gives a wonderful service to the passengers.

  • 2
    0

    Only solution for this crisis at SRILAKAN would be to shutdown and opened ,which most of the Airline practices
    The salery structure should bring down drastically
    1 .Crew performance executive take home salary was around 600000= lkr
    2.duty time 0830 to 1600 hour’s
    3.week end off days
    To conduct a lecture company pay’s 10000 lkr a day,this unnecessary allowances has to be stop immediately
    Plus flight duty allowance 105 us$$ a day
    Senior management get a lucrative salery plus huge commission from the catering stations system wide

  • 1
    0

    Kabir is minister, but CEO Suren appointed by Ranil PM. So how the earth any one can believe Suren will follow orders by Kabir. Anyway I have very personal experience with CEO Suren. I have been politically victimized and sack from the Srilanakan Airlines back in 2002. Then UNP government didn’t do anything about political victim like this time too. I went to labor court and won the case in 2014. Srilankan Airlines appealed in High court, but labor court order upheld by High court and Srilankan airlines had to take me back to work. According to court order I should be given all arrears, promotions and perks with the job. Head of Human resource Pradeepa Kekulawala refuse to address court order accordingly and place me same position and paid back wages inappropriately and continue victimizing me same way as it was. I went back to UNP gov political victimization committee and complained again. Well, whole country knows what has happen to that. UNP government is blind eye to their members who were victimized by previous government.

  • 1
    0

    I even went to sirikotha and forward my case with very in detail to Minister Kabir. Nothing happen. When CEO Suren took office, I appealed him to intervene into my case and give me justice. Which is very simple thing him to do by giving order to HR just follows the court order. But instead of that, What he did was, He sent my appealed letter to Head of HR Pradeepa Kekulawela and ask him to reply me. So, HHR replied me at once saying court order been address as full and correct. Then after two months HR sacked me again. Im attending court again for justice under UNP government. Im not surprised, I never expect different result under this government and it is becoming very true day by day. Party leaders can not look after their scarified members, But look after very well their relations and friends. Can they run country in to development. Just a day dream.

  • 1
    1

    If we don’t ban Muslims from flying in our national carrier, they are going to one day hijack the flight and smash it with our world trade centre

    • 2
      1

      Jim Shitty, is Angoda still open for treatment? Maybe you should pay them a visit.

    • 1
      1

      Jim shitty, hahahahahahahahaha……………………cannot stop laughing. You are a funny bloke.

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