‘Process to review SriLankans Strategic Business Plan questionable’ | Daily News
Presidential Commission probing SriLankan Airlines:

‘Process to review SriLankans Strategic Business Plan questionable’

The process of selecting the International Consultancy Service to review the SriLankan Airlines (SLA) Strategic Business Plan (SBP) 2010/11 to 2014/15 is questionable, the Head of Financial Management of SriLankan Airlines Yasantha Dissanayake testifying before the Commission for the second time said yesterday.

The Presidential Commission inquiring into frauds and malpractices at SriLankan Airlines, SriLankan Catering Ltd and Mihin Lanka (Pvt) Ltd met yesterday at the BMICH for the second time this week.

The SLA Business Plan 2010/11 to 2014/15 was prepared by S.A. Chandrasekara who was appointed as a Consultant by the Board of Directors of SLA on 4th March 2010 for three months till June. He has been paid Rs.250,000 per month and provided transport facilities to and from the office during his serving period as per the Board Paper dated March 12, 2010.

Accordingly, he had been paid Rs.750,000 for the three months for his service. Although, the SBP was prepared by Mr. Chandrasekara at a cost of Rs.750,000, it was revealed that SLA had paid USD 450,000, (approximately Rs.50.7 million) for it to be reviewed by an International Consultancy firm.

The witness told the Commission that after compiling the SBP by Chandrasekara, the General Treasury wanted it to be reviewed by an International Consultant. He also said that when a Business Plan is prepared, it should be reviewed by an International Consultant. Accordingly, then Chairman of SLA Nishantha Wickremesinghe appointed a five-member committee to select an International Consultant. This committee comprised with Nihal Jayamanna, Manilal Fernando, Krish Nonis, Manoj Gunawardhana, and the witness, Yasantha Dissanayake. According to the witness, the CEO of SLA and also a member of the five member committee Manoj Gunawardhana on July 31, 2010 has informed to the board meeting that the Business Plan had been sent to 12 international parties with the purpose of selecting an international consultant.

However, the witness told the Commission that out of 12, four international consultancy firms including SH&E Company, Seabury Aviation, Via-Capital, and InterVISTAS were short listed. For making the final selection, those companies made presentations in the presence of the five member committee; he confirmed referring to the board minute dated 19th October 2010.

The best presentation was from Dr. Emer Serpen, who represented the InterVISTAS. Dr. Serpen is an expert in this kind of work, the witness told the commission. Accordingly, based on the presentation made, the InterVISTAS was selected, he said. But, it was also revealed yesterday that proposal made by the InterVISTAS was a joint proposal with the Via- Capital Company.

However, the witness revealed before the Commission that a letter dated December 1, 2010 informed that the SLA was entering an agreement with Via- Capital. The agreement was signed on December 3, 2010.

When questioned by Additional Solicitor General Neil Unamboowe as to why the Committee selected Via- Capital as the International Consultancy firm if Emer Serpen is not an employee of that company and why it was selected when they have no previous experience either, the witness answered that he was not aware how their name came about. When asked by him as to who selected the Via – Capital, the witness answered that only two committee members, Nihal Jayamanna and Manilal Fernando recommended the selection of Via- Capital.

He said that the rest of the three members of the SLA Chairman’s Committee did not subscribe to sign for the selection of Via- Capital as the relevant document was not given for them to sign.

The commission will further question Head of Financial Management of SriLankan Airlines Yasantha Dissanayake today.

 

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