COPE reveals massive irregularities regarding SriLankan Airlines

COPE reveals massive irregularities regarding SriLankan Airlines

Written by Staff Writer

25 Jan, 2019 | 9:13 pm

Colombo (News1st): The COPE report submitted yesterday (Jan 24), reveals that the agreements to purchase and cancel A-350 aircraft did not receive cabinet approval. The National Carrier SriLankan Airlines had not received approval for a cabinet paper submitted in 2013, to purchase eight A-350 aircraft.

After the Yahapalanaya government came into power, it was decided in 2016 to cancel this transaction. The COPE report reveals that due to this cancellation, the purchasing of four aircraft was halted, and SriLankan airlines had agreed to pay Rs. 16.9 billion as compensation, to a company named AerCap.

However, the cancellation of this agreement or the Rs. 16.9 billion compensation payment had not received cabinet approval. Though a cabinet paper had been submitted on the 15th of August 2017, the COPE report reveals that all payments had been completed by the 30th of July 2017.

Even though an agreement to cancel the purchasing of 4 aircraft had been initially proposed, the agreement was concluded with only three aircraft. Conditions of the cancellation agreement include the one-year extension of the lease period of an aircraft that was previously procured, the procurement of another aircraft through a lease arrangement, and the takeover of two narrow-bodied aircraft that were previously owned by Mihin Lanka.

Among the aircraft is an A330-200, which incurs a monthly cost of Rs. 100 million and is not being utilized for any purpose. This was also reported by News1st.

The COPE report also reveals that Sri Lankan airlines currently employs 190 individuals, who receive a salary of more than Rs. 1 million each. Though the COPE had requested for a report comprised of the educational qualifications, age, and responsibilities of these 190 employees, the committee is yet to receive it.

The COPE report has also revealed several irregularities that had taken place during the construction of the central expressway. Engineers had estimated a cost of Rs. 129 billion for the first phase of the construction project. However, when awarding contracts, this cost had increased to Rs. 158 billion. While a cost of Rs. 126.89 billion had been estimated for the second phase of the project, this value had increased to Rs. 137.1 billion, when awarding the contracts.

The inefficiencies and irregularities that had taken place during the construction of the central expressway were continuously reported and highlighted by News1st. A majority of irregularities that took place at Sri Lankan Airlines, that is now being revealed through the COPE report, was continuously reported on by News1st.

When the public was kept in the dark, from perhaps the country’s largest financial fraud, the central bank bond scam, it was News1st that brought the truth to light. Eventually, many facts we reported were confirmed through the Presidential Commission. Several months ago, it News1st that warned against the epidemic Sri Lanka’s agriculture sector is currently facing, the Sena caterpillar species. We not only highlighted the complications arising from the 19th amendment to the constitution, but we also challenged it in court. Currently, we continue to reveal information regarding the electricity mafia taking place in Sri Lanka.

Shouldn’t attention be focused on these revelations made by News1st at least now, when there are attempts to enter into deals that will benefit associates and friends under the guise of spot purchasing?

Isn’t it unfair to burden the public, with repercussions that result from not making the right decisions at the right time?

In the end, it is the public that must pay the price!

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