COLOMBO (News 1st) – The payments made to Former SriLankan Airlines Chairman Nishantha Wickremesinghe were revealed at the Presidential Commission of Inquiry today (July 23). Although Nishantha Wickremesinghe received a large monthly salary as Chairman, there were serious anomalies when it came to the annual cost center of his office as Chairman.
The monthly salary of the outgoing CEO Suren Ratwatte was revealed before as a hefty Rs. 3.2 Million a month. In addition, it has also been revealed that the cost of personal flying training for the A320 jet conversion, borne by the company on behalf of Suren Ratwatte, is US$ 23,568. That number comes up to around Rs. 3.7 Million.
While these revelations are undoubtedly important, what needs to be investigated in an expeditious manner are:
1. Cancellation of three A350-900 aircraft on lease value Rs. 14.3 Billion
2. The extra cost of nearly US$ 2 Million for failing to return an Airbus A320 aircraft which was leased from an Indian company.
3. Many other irregularities that led to losses to the tune of Billions of rupees in public funds.
4. The Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the issuance of bonds – where the losses have been estimated by experts at over Rs. 600 billion over 30 years. The people are yet to see any prosecutions based on the recommendations of the COI.
5. The second controversial bond transaction needs to be investigated.
According to claims made by the Civil Society, those appointed to positions are people close to the Prime Minister, or the PM’s team. This was the same case in the Bond Scam and many other malpractices.
With elections fast approaching, there is growing concern that no meaningful progress will be made in terms of bringing accountability and responsibility to those who have plundered coffers.
The March 12th declaration had requested the people to vote wisely and ensure that criminal and corrupt elements should not be elected to serve in parliament.