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Jaliya's charter flight from US to Mattala billed to FAM: Official

31 January 2019 05:44 am - 20     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Former Sri Lankan Ambassador to the United States Jaliya Wickramasuriya had insisted on being accommodated aboard a SriLankan Airlines flight from Washington to the Mattala Airport via Dubai and billed it to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (FAM) in 2013, the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) into irregularities at SriLankan Airlines, SriLankan Catering and Mihin Lanka was told yesterday.

SriLankan Airlines, Manager Financial Compliances Kasun Ratnayake informed the Commission that the chartered flight booked by Wickramasuriya cost the airline Rs.7.8 million which was done without getting the approval from the Foreign Ministry.

The witness informed the Commission that when they attempted to recover this amount from the Foreign Affairs Ministry, they were informed that Wickramasuriya had booked the flight with the assistance of a SriLankan official and asked the airline to conduct an internal audit in order to recover the amount.

The Commission also heard that the Foreign Affairs Ministry owes SriLankan a sum of Rs. 9.1 million in total for the chartered flight booked by Wickramasuriya.

Mr. Ratnayake also revealed an instance when a chartered flight to the Maldives has been booked under the name of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This booking, which was done in 2009 was also done without the knowledge of the ministry. He stated that they had not conducted an audit into either of these flights which cost the airline a great deal of money.

The Commission also heard that the Presidential Secretariat, Foreign Affairs Ministry and Commonwealth Games Committee owed SriLankan Airlines a sum of Rs.122.3 million for charted flights booked between 2006 and 2014.

The Manager Financial Compliances of SriLankan Airlines also informed the Commission that former Group Financial Officer (CFO) of SriLankan Lalith Vithana in April 2018 inquired from the Treasury whether it could write off this debt as all their attempts to collect the money that was owed the airline had ended in failure. It was also revealed SriLankan had not sorted any legal action because the institutions that owed money to the national carrier were government entities.

Chairperson of the PCoI, Justice Anil Gooneratne asked Ratnayake whether the legal division of the airline had sent letters of demand to these institutions in a bid to collect the vast sums owed to it. “Since government institutions were involved we didn’t resort to legal action to recover the dues,” Ratnayake explained.

Gooneratne stated that Commonwealth Games Committee was a private entity and that UL can easily institute legal action against them. “We have sent a letter to Udaya Seneviratne, the Chairperson of the Committee but the letter was returned,” he said. (Yoshitha Perera)

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  Comments - 20

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  • Dee Thursday, 31 January 2019 09:07 AM

    Typical of people who want to denounce US citizenship and contest for president!

    Unchikun Thursday, 31 January 2019 09:18 AM

    Oh! A nice family run business. This will another commission where the report will never be released. A waste of public time and money.

    sigiriya Thursday, 31 January 2019 09:20 AM

    Very nice!

    Sara Thursday, 31 January 2019 09:27 AM

    We need MR back! Haha

    Sara Thursday, 31 January 2019 09:31 AM

    We need MR back! Haha

    Yahiya Thursday, 31 January 2019 09:38 AM

    Very shame. MR must pay the consequences

    CITIZEN Thursday, 31 January 2019 09:47 AM

    These scoundrels have been using the National Carrier as the "Bullock Cart" belonging to their grandparents! Actually, capital punishment should be meted out to these frauds!!

    Buddhist Thursday, 31 January 2019 10:14 AM

    What about the monies Central Bank Cabral paid to Sajin Vass when he went to USA through the Sri Lankan Ambassador in USA at that time. Who is investigating that payment?

    BuffaloaCitizen Thursday, 31 January 2019 11:46 AM

    These are all Rajapakse Monkey Tricks performed at public expense. Shame to see so many who still want him in power.

    JK hatton Thursday, 31 January 2019 11:28 AM

    Vote for MR

    bindu Thursday, 31 January 2019 11:38 AM

    Our well educated and intelligent people in our villages with the help of the monks will bring him back to power and our country will prosper.

    anura Thursday, 31 January 2019 11:48 AM

    Look at what MR regime had done to National air line using that as their private property. Disgraceful and MR should apologise to the whole country for this . Shame on you MR. You had done one of the greatest damages to the country and what are you going to do about it. The whole country is waiting for your explanations.

    angel Thursday, 31 January 2019 12:25 PM

    Put them to jail and recover the money. It belongs to the Public

    Ruwan Thursday, 31 January 2019 12:42 PM

    Our whole country was ruined by MR and his useless associates.

    Ragula Thursday, 31 January 2019 01:21 PM

    MR and gang is same like Alibaba and 40 thieves.

    roshanaly Thursday, 31 January 2019 03:48 PM

    All his thieves are begging now, that is why he is trying his best to come back.

    GR Thursday, 31 January 2019 03:57 PM

    Oh! This news reminds me YR could have landed on the peak of Kilimanjaro on a SL Air Charted Flight and the Bill is pending payment.

    Viktor Thursday, 31 January 2019 04:05 PM

    Is Udaya Seneviratne the present Secretary to the President ? Surely the Presidential Commission can arrange for the Sri Lankan letter (of demand?) to reach him.

    Nimal Thursday, 31 January 2019 04:11 PM

    Any way "Deshapremi" no?

    Ben Thursday, 31 January 2019 10:59 PM

    We are now sick of seeing these stories.Please show some action,where These gys assets nhave been frozen or what they have aas asseets etc etc,We all knew these stories , this is why you got the powerr.


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