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SL alleges ‘billions’ lost in corruption at national carrier

Posted in S. Asia

Published on April 10, 2015 with No Comments

Sri Lanka’s new government has ordered a criminal investigation into alleged corruption at the state-run national airline that it says involved “billions of dollars”.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s office said an inquiry, led by an anti-corruption lawyer, had found “shocking details of corruption running into billions of dollars” at Sri Lankan Airlines, as well as “irregularities” in its $2.3 billion 2013 deal to buy 10 Airbus aircraft.

Airbus said it had no comment on the Sri Lanka government statement. According to the statement, the inquiry recommended investigations into the national carrier’s “entire re-fleeting process”.

The statement also said that former airline chairman Nishantha Wickremasinghe, who it identified as a brother-in-law of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, “should be prosecuted”.

Wickremasinghe resigned as the airline’s chairman shortly after Rajapaksa, who had been Sri Lankan president for 10 years, was defeated in a January election by Maithripala Sirisena. It also alleged that Rajapaksa changed the management of the loss-making airline, which is 51 percent government-owned, to ensure the purchase of the Airbus planes despite the availability of cheaper alternatives.

 

 

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