abuse of power, Airbus, anti-corruption campaign, Bribery, Conflict of Interest, corruption, coverup flying mishaps, criminal investigations, financial losses, France, fraud, human smuggling, refleeting, reputational risks, Russia, Sri Lanka, SriLankan airlines, Ukraine
From a Press Release by the Sri Lankan Prime Minister’s Office:
“A Board of Inquiry has found shocking details of corruption running into billions of dollars, manipulations of service contracting, recruitment of unqualified staff and major security breaches at Sri Lankan airlines under the former government… The former government of President Mahinda Rajapakse made management changes to carry out a re-fleeting of the airline with brand-new aircraft costing $2.3 billion despite the availability of more cost effective alternatives… BOI also recommends criminal investigations on the involvement of Udayanga Weeratunga former Ambassador to Russia and Dilan Ariyawansa in several GSA appointments.”
These are reported to be Airbus aircraft and must be these:
“In April 2013, it was announced that SriLankan Airlines had won government approval to acquire four Airbus A350-900 and seven A330-300 aircraft, with deliveries starting from October 2014. A further three Airbus A350-900s will be leased, with deliveries of these aircraft starting in 2017.
An Airbus A330-300 aircraft, the first in a series of deliveries arrived in Colombo on the 31 of October 2014. The second A330-300 is expected in December 2014” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SriLankan_Airlines Straight from the horse’s mouth: French Gov’s Radio France International has reported it as 10 Airbus aircraft and over 2 billion dollars (RFI: 05-04-2015 à 01:49 “Sri Lanka: le gouvernement enquête sur l’achat de 10 Airbus“)
What is Airbus, besides the airplane involved in the Germanwings disaster? Who owns Airbus? The French State: 11.00 %, The German State: 10.90 %, BlackRock: 4.20 %, the Spanish State: 4.10 % http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airbus http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airbus_Group The CEO, Fabrice Brégier is one of the elite “X-Mines” alleged to have so much power in the French State (i.e. he graduated from École Polytechnique (“X”) and École des Mines de Paris).http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fabrice_Brégier
63,000 European (France, Germany, Spain, UK) Airbus jobs:
“Airbus SAS…is an aircraft manufacturing division of Airbus Group (formerly European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company). It is based in Blagnac, France, a suburb of Toulouse, with production and manufacturing facilities mainly in France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom.
Airbus employs around 63,000 people at sixteen sites in four countries: France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom. Final assembly production is based at Toulouse, France; Hamburg, Germany; Seville, Spain; and, since 2009 as a joint-venture, Tianjin, China. Airbus has subsidiaries in the United States, Japan, China and India.
The company produces and markets the first commercially viable fly-by-wire airliner, the Airbus A320, and the world’s largest passenger airliner, the A380.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airbus
Perhaps anxious for everyone to know that it’s not just the partially French State owned and French headquartered Airbus which may be implicated in corruption, RFI reminds us that two weeks ago the Sri Lankan government announced having found traces in Dubai of up to 10 billion dollars stolen by the former regime. Additionally they state that 5.3 billion dollars of agreements signed with China are being renegotiated, because of corruption allegations.
As well, RFI notes that the former Sri Lankan Ambassador to Moscow is accused by the Ukraine of selling weapons to the pro-Russian Ukrainian Rebels.
Surely tantalizing and exciting for the French are the corruption allegations against US Congress members, reported by RFI, but also here: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2015/04/05/gosl-bribed-us-congressmen/ After all, it takes the eye off of French corruption.
Apparently in response to Mr. Yann Galut and Mr. Pascal Cherki’s efforts to increase transparency following a European directive on transparency, French parliamentarian Pascal Terrasse stated regarding French Nuclear “Giant” Areva in Africa: “We can always seek to wash whiter than white, but the Canadians, the Americans or the Chinese do not ask themselves this type of question, notably for their activities on the African continent, whereas even the presence of French or European extractive companies has become very limited there: in fact, the only French enterprise concerned by this affair is Areva, who today is running into serious difficulties in exercising its activities in Niger. Politicians, notably African ones, are increasing the price of authorizations. Thus it is that Areva had to buy the President of Niger a 32 million euro airplane 15 days ago” (Last sentence in orig. French: “C’est ainsi qu’Areva a dû acheter au président de la République nigérienne un avion de 32 millions d’euros il y a quinze jours!“) He adds that there obviously should be transparency outside of the European Union. (Translation based on the French original: “L’Assemblée nationale, No. 2192“: http://www.assemblee-nationale.fr/14/pdf/rapports/r2192.pdf (registered 10 Sept. 2014) (p. 56) (On p. 53 Mr Yann Galut discusses the need for transparency in the extractive industry.)
Ironically, on the 21st of October, 2014, Radio France International noted that the French petroleum company, Total, was the most important petroleum company on the African continent, although 5th worldwide! “Total: première compagnie pétrolière sur le continent africain.” Petroleum is an extractive industry! http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Total_(entreprise)
Full Press Statement from the Sri Lankan Prime Minister’s Office:
“A Board of Inquiry has found shocking details of corruption running into billions of dollars, manipulations of service contracting, recruitment of unqualified staff and major security breaches at Sri Lankan airlines under the former government.
The panel headed by anti-corruption advocate and senior lawyer J. C. Weliamuna found instances of gross abuse of power by former chairman Nishantha Wickramasinghe whose penchant for young air hostesses cost the debt-ridden airline even more problems.
The former government of President Mahinda Rajapakse made management changes to carry out a re-fleeting of the airline with brand-new aircraft costing $2.3 billion despite the availability of more cost effective alternatives.
The Weliamuna report recommends criminal investigations into the entire re-fleeting process and has noted instances where former chairmen Wickramasinghe, a brother-in-law of Mahinda Rajapakse, should be prosecuted.
The Board of Inquiry (BOI) found evidence of Wickramasinghe and Sri Lankan CEO, Kapila Chandrasena falsifying documents to lease a luxury sports utility vehicle for the use of Wickramasinghe. This was in addition to a luxury Mercedes Benz vehicle and a Prado super luxury vehicle.
The purchase of vehicles pales into insignificance when compared to irregularities in the re-fleeting exercise and a fiasco involving the launch of an air taxi service which was eventually abandoned causing millions of dollars in losses to Sri Lankan airlines.
The management of Sri Lankan staff knowingly ignored conflict of interest in companies and individuals hired to advise the national carrier on procurements leading to a reasonable assumption that they were all corrupt deals.
A Cabin crew member had been released from the airline to work at the Presidential Secretariat following a request from the then Presidential Secretary Lalith Weeratunga, but she was actually released for Namal Rajapaksa’s political work.
She had been paid by the airline, including allowances for cabin work although there is no explanation of what services she provided except that she had been over paid more than 4.2 million rupees.
The BOI recommends that the Sri Lankan airlines take action to recover the overpaid amounts from the staff member who has been identified in the report and direct prosecutions of those who authorized misappropriation of public finance.
The BOI also found that several applicants who repeatedly failed entrance tests were eventually recruited on verbal requests from the management.
The former chairman had also created a post of “SLA Brand Ambassador” and appointed his known companion, an airhostess even though no such designation was known to the national carrier. The couple had travelled abroad on tickets bought by Sri Lankan from other airlines too.
“In our investigation, we can conclusively hold that former Chairman’s association with cabin crew members exposed Sri Lankan Airlines to abuse of power, causing reputational risks as well as financial losses.
“BOI can also hold that there was no corporate culture in the board or the top management to raise such issues when a senior officer or the chairman was involved in such behavioral issues adversely affecting the company”
The BOI has found CEO Chandrasena unsuitable for the job and was surprised to discover that he was paid a minimum monthly salary of 1.5 million rupees on top of other perks and he had also enjoyed salaries simultaneously from his other appointments.
There had been a time when he drew a salary as Mobitel CEO as well as Mihin Lanka CEO. The BOI recommends criminal prosecutions of Chandrasena as well as Wickramasinghe, among other senior management staff.
The BOI also found that a London station manager who tried to stop the illegal practice of sending motor spare parts for the use of former president’s son Yoshitha had been suddenly transferred out on the direction of the former President Rajapaske.
The airline had also tried to hush up two serious flying mishaps involving the chief pilot Druvi Perera and Captain U. A. V. Pathirana.
Two staff members involved in alleged human smuggling had got off lightly raising serious concerns whether few employees continue to support a criminal human smuggling ring.
The BOI also raised questions about the suitability of appointing a retired army major general, P. Chandrawansa, who did not have aviation security experience on a salary of 450,000 rupees, without following recruitment procedure and accused him of engaging in political activities while in the employment of Sri Lankan airlines.
The BOI recommends the termination of services, or immediate disciplinary action for breaching company rules. Security Department was among the most politicized.
The BOI praised two senior pilots — Patrick Fernando and Ranga Amadoru — who had resigned in protest against attempts to lower pass marks of recruit pilots.
“Their resignation effectively prevented the selection of unsuitable candidates in the 2013 Cadet Pilot intake. In view of their bold stand taken to protect professional standards, BOI recommends that they be commended.”
The report also lists major fraud in the award of tenders and singles out a duty free deal and the sale of wine as one of the blatantly corrupt deals of Sri Lankan requiring a criminal investigation. BOI points out the corrupt manner in which General Sales Agents were appointed in many countries on behalf of the airlines and manipulations made. BOI also recommends criminal investigations on the involvement of Udayanga Weeratunga former Ambassador to Russia and Dilan Ariyawansa in several GSA appointments.
Finally the BOI has concluded that the management culture was a major contributory factor for abuse of power and external interference into the business of Sri Lankan airlines.
04-04-2015” (Press release reprinted in full in several newspapers. We have been unable to recover the original link even after lengthy search. However, numerous other news reports and even Radio France report the findings and that the airplanes involved were Airbus.) Information about the anticorruption campaign found here: http://www.pmoffice.gov.lk/en/index.php