SriLankan Airlines insists action taken based on Weliamuna Report

SriLankan Airlines today insisted that action had been taken to address allegations on the national airline, based on the recommendations of the J.C. Weliamuna Report.

A statement by SriLankan Airlines said that the Board of Directors of SriLankan Airlines Limited have taken all action possible to address the internal and disciplinary issues highlighted in the J. C. Weliamuna Report.

The then Minister of Ports, Shipping and Aviation, Arjuna Ranatunga in February 2015 appointed a Board of Inquiry headed by attorney-at-law J.C. Weliamuna and the terms of reference of the Board of Inquiry was to conduct a preliminary investigation and ascertain whether there was prima facie evidence of abuse of power by the Board of Directors and the Senior Management of SriLankan Airlines prior to the appointment of the current Board of Directors in February 2015.

The investigations also looked into irregularities in the procurement/or leasing of Aircraft, whether due process has been followed in the procurement of goods and services by SriLankan Airlines valued at over LKR 25 MN and whether there have been external interferences adversely affecting the smooth functioning of the Airline.

At a Cabinet Sub Committee on Economic Affairs Chaired by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in July 2015, it was explained that the Ministry of Aviation had sought the opinion of the Attorney General on the J.C. Weliamuna Report and that some of the cases reported had been referred to the Bribery Commission, CID and FCID.

At that same meeting the Chairman of SriLankan Airlines was instructed to submit a report to the next meeting, on the action that has been taken by the Board of Directors to address the internal issues and disciplinary issues highlighted in the report.

On the instructions of the Cabinet Sub Committee, a comprehensive response to the J.C. Weliamuna Report on the actions taken by the three member Board Committee in respect of the observations and recommendations made in the Report, was submitted, SriLankan Airlines said.

The comprehensive response to the Weliamuna Report was also submitted to the President, the Prime Minister, Minister of Public Enterprise Development Kabir Hashim, Deputy Minister of Public Enterprise Development Eran Wickramartne, Secretary to the Ministry of Public Enterprise Development Ravindra Hewavitharana, Secretary Ministry of Aviation D. Swarnapala and Advisor to the Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs R Paskaralingam.

In September 2017, a comprehensive docket containing the Company’s responses in connection with the Weliamuna Report were submitted to the Chairman of the COPE Sunil Handunnetti.

Most recently, a further update in January 2018 was submitted to Minister Kabir Harshim.

“It is to be noted that whilst simultaneously the internal investigation were being carried out by a three member Board Committee of SriLankan Airlines, some of the employees were also summoned to the PRECIFAC (Presidential Commission of Inquiry to Investigate and Inquire into Serious acts of Fraud, Corruption and abuse of power, state resources and privileges), CID (Criminal Investigation Department), FCID (Financial Crimes Investigation Division) and the Bribery commission (Commission to investigate allegations of Bribery or Corruption) to provide Statements and submit documents and information and to this date, investigations continue with the CID, FCID and Bribery commission,” SriLankan Airlines said.

SriLankan Airlines said the external investigations on the matters referred to above are not within the capability or the mandate of the Board of Directors.

In July 2016, Minister Kabir Hashim requested that a forensic audit on the financial transaction and affairs referred to in the Weliamuna Report be conducted by a forensic accounting services but owing to the high cost involved, the decision was abandoned by the Minister. (Colombo Gazette)