Detailed statement on Airbus deal will be made tomorrow : Minister Dinesh Gunawardena

Detailed statement on Airbus deal will be made tomorrow : Minister Dinesh Gunawardena

Detailed statement on Airbus deal will be made tomorrow : Minister Dinesh Gunawardena

Written by Staff Writer

06 Feb, 2020 | 9:59 pm

Colombo (News 1st): Parliamentarian Anura Kumara Dissanayake raised questions in Parliament with regard to the Airbus deal.

MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake: The then Executive Board of SriLankan Airlines gathered at your official residence to discuss this purchase agreement. I even revealed this matter in parliament back then. At that point, Kapila Chandrasena served as the Chief Executive Officer of the airline. He had been receiving allowances while working at Telecom and SriLankan Airlines. All of this information had been revealed to parliament. Despite such claims, he was appointed as the Chairman of SriLankan Airlines during the 52-day political crisis. I would like to know why the government trusts him so much. We urge the government to initiate legal proceedings against this matter and to work towards obtaining the original documents from the UK government.

Min. Dinesh Gunawardena: We will take all legal action against this matter. We hope to make a detailed statement in this regard tomorrow.

In addition to the intermediaries benefiting from bribes, the country was made to incur an additional cost of more than US$ 98 million due to the UNP led government cancelling an agreement, to obtain four A350 aircraft on a lease basis. In addition to the cancellation of the agreement, several aircraft that lacked proper standards were also obtained on lease.

UNP MP Kabir Hashim: After I took over as the subject minister in November 2015, we consulted NYRAS consultancy and Skyworks Solutions to asses whether purchasing A-350 900 aircraft would be a loss for the airline. We not only discussed this matter but presented a detailed report to the Economic Management committee as well. We said, if we had to pay a penalty, we would try to reduce the penalty to less than US$ 58 million. The Weliamuna report clearly mentions all the corrupt activities that took place at SriLankan Airlines during the previous regime. All of this was handed over to the FCID. I was not the minister in charge of the police. But as the subject minister, I took all the legal measures possible within my capacity. I did not appoint Kapila Chandrasena to the position of CEO of SriLankan Airlines. Chandrasena was appointed by your government. The Chairman during our time was Ajith Dias. I did not appoint Suren Ratwatta. When I took over as the minister of charge, he was already appointed.

State Min. Dayasiri Jayasekara: So who appointed these individuals and gave them positions? The former finance minister’s consultant was behind reducing the fine to US$ 98 million. Where was the Finance Ministry’s Secretary at that time?

UNP MP Kabir Hashim: Evidence pertaining to the purchase of six aircraft at higher rates were submitted to the Presidential Commission. The Attorney General’s Department too was informed about this in order to obtain legal advice to cancel the purchase. We acted upon that opinion. There is written proof of that. I informed the Finance Ministry that the Executive Board of SriLankan Airlines had acted in an unfriendly manner at that time. I was not given documents that I requested as a minister. I was left helpless. But I could not do anything about it.

State Min. Dayasiri Jayasekara: The subject minister claims that it could have been reduced to US$ 85 million, but he was not allowed to do so. Due to this, the government suffered a loss of US$ 13 million. Ultimately, it is the general public that pays the price.

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