Presidential Commission reveals shady duty free dealings of SriLankan airlines

Presidential Commission reveals shady duty free dealings of SriLankan airlines

Written by Zulfick Farzan

21 Jun, 2018 | 9:11 pm

COLOMBO (News 1st) – It has now come to light that SriLankan Airlines never knew of Phoenix Rising Ventures until they put forward a bid to enter the airlines Duty-Free Program.

Marlon Perera, a former employee at Phoenix Duty-Free Services Lanka Ltd testifying before the commission this morning, said SriLankan airlines had an exclusive supplier for all Duty-Free Products before the contract was awarded to Phoenix Duty-Free Services.

Romeo Ferdinands the In-Flight Services Manager at Sri Lankan Airlines who also testified today said that had they never heard of Phoenix Rising Ventures until they came forward to bid to supply perfumes and cosmetics for the Duty-Free Program. In 2012, Phoenix Duty-Free Services Lanka Ltd was given the contract to supply perfumes and cosmetics, but Marlon Perera believed the contract was awarded without following tender procedure.

The second witness also testified to this matter in the affirmative noting the contract was to be given for 06 months and then reviewed in the fourth month to ascertain if the contract can be given for three years.

Marlon Perera went on to testify that Phoenix Duty-Free Services Lanka Ltd was then awarded the contract to provide liquor for in-flight consumption and that too was done without following proper tender procedure. Finally, the contract for the entire duty-free program was awarded to Phoenix Duty-Free Services Lanka Ltd for the period between 2012 to 2017 without following a proper tender process.

The witness Marlon Perera believed, the deal for the contract was brokered by Former SriLankan Airlines Board Director Sanath Ukwatte through then Chairman Nishantha Wickremesinghe and CEO Kapila Chandrasena. It was also revealed that Managing Director of Phoenix Duty-Free Services Lanka Ltd Raju Chandiram had signed the document as a witness while Rumesh Dilan Wirasinghe the CEO of Phoenix Duty-Free Services had also signed the document.

Rumesh Dilan Wirasinghe the CEO of Phoenix Duty-Free Services was also named in the offshore leaks database released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists several years ago.

Marlon Perera testified that when he had questioned Raju Chandiram over certain losses made by Phoenix Duty-Free Services Lanka Ltd in its services, the latter had stated: ” We must make losses here, to make profits elsewhere. ” He also testified that Phoenix Duty-Free Services Lanka Ltd had breached the contract by allegedly engaging in trading, an act which is not acceptable internationally and can have the airline sued by suppliers.

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