Colombo (News1st) – The Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Sri Lankan Airlines convened once again today (August 29) to investigate into matters of abuse, misuse, and mismanagement of the company’s resources.
The Commission looked into irregularities surrounding financial management of its General Sales Agents.
Testifying before a commission a managerial level official handling finances stated that lavish expenditure had been undertaken by the organization on a number of occasions. The witness, in particular, highlighted two issues, one surrounding Internet Booking Engines (IBE) and another surrounding a party thrown at the Ritz-Carlton in 2014.
IBE’s are bookings that are done completely over the internet, without the use of the agent representing the airline. As the process does has a low cost of sale, the airline had initially not offered commissions for IBE sales.
However, the witness appearing today stated that even though board approval to pay Overriding Commissions on IBE based bookings was not received till 2015, a sum amounting to Rs. 84 million was paid between 2013 and 2015 to GSA’s from multiple countries.
Testifying further, the witness stated that the airline held a luxury event at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Moscow to commemorate the launch of their Colombo-Moscow flights in 2014. The event was said to have cost close to USD 100,000.
In addition to this expenditure, an additional expense of USD 84,000 was said to have been borne to “facilitate handling of VVIP’s” attending the event.
In what was another suspicious move, Anna Kornakova, a woman representing the Airline’s General Sales Agent in Russia, had reportedly asked that Sri Lanka Airlines deposit the GSA fees, a sum close to 2,350,000 rupees, be deposited in a Personal bank account at the Commercial Bank in Borella in 2015.
Sri Lankan Airlines had refused to adhere to such orders as they were in violation of due process, and as a result, the sum is still to be paid the GSA.
The commission will reconvene tomorrow (August 30).