COLOMBO (News 1st) – The appointments of Captain Suren Ratwatte as CEO of SriLankan Airlines and Siva Ramachandran as CCO of the airlines have become a matter of concern to the Presidential Commission of Inquiry.
In 2015 when the post of CEO for SriLankan Airlines was advertised 59 people both local and foreign had applied and 11 of them were shortlisted. And among them was Siva Ramachandran, who was then based in the UK.
Interestingly, SriLankan Airlines had conducted three other in-person interviews for three others namely Manoj De Vaas Gunawardena, W.Kumarasiri and Suren Ratwatte.
In August 2015, after the interviews, Rakhita Jayawardena, the Protem Chief Executive Officer and Director at SriLankan Airlines and had informed the board that Suren Ratwatte was the best suited for the post and he offered a 03 Million Rupee taxable monthly pay and a 10 Million Rupees taxable performance bonus.
It must be noted there was no board decision on appointing Suren Ratwatte as CEO, however, he was given the appointment on 22nd of September 2015 with a 06 month probation period. Ratwatte’s 06 month probation period was to end on the 15th of April 2016, however, the Ministry of Public Enterprise Development had proposed Ratwatte be given another 06-month extension to his service.
Surprisingly, when his probation drew to a close, no performance evaluation was done because the Prime Minister and Kabir Hashim requested that Suren Ratwatte be confirmed as CEO as soon as possible.
Earlier this year News 1st reported with facts that the view of some members of the Board of Directors was that Suren Ratwatte’s service was not efficient and it needed to be suspended. News 1st also reported that SriLankan Airlines, which proposed a performance bonus of 10 Million rupees to Suren Ratwatte, suffered a loss of 28.2 Billion Rupees during the financial year 2016/2017.
Suren Ratwatte’s pre-mature retirement is in effect from the 31st of July 2018 and in today’s evidence, it was revealed that new Chairman Ranjith Fernando had accepted his resignation and offered to pay 03 Months pay as well as additional 02 months pay for cooperating with the company’s restructuring plan. In addition, he is to be given air tickets for his family to travel to Australia.
In a letter to the Chairman of the Airline on his resignation, Suren Ratwatte requested for a payment equivalent to six months salary says the income tax will be the responsibility of SriLankan Airlines. He had noted all Final Payments must be remitted in Australian Dollars to his offshore accounts.
The Presidential Commission of Inquiry must be appreciated for focusing on those who have brought this airline to the brink of bankruptcy and raising serious matters of concern.
It has been revealed that Siva Ramachandran was appointed as the Chief Commercial Office of SriLankan Airlines with no board approval.
The evidence revealed today that the Chairman of the Airlines had believed the appointment had Cabinet approval, simply because Advisor to the Prime Minister R. Paskaralingam had reported that the Cabinet Committee on Economic Management had found no fault with the selection process. This is revealed in a letter sent by Prime Minister’s Secretary Saman Ekanayake to the Ministry of Finance.
It is now clear that the appointments of Suren Ratwatte and Siva Ramachandran were a departure of due process just as it was with the case with the Central Bank Treasury Bond Scam.