Sri Lankan Airlines ‘A Culture of Corruption’

air lankaThe Sri Lankan government has launched a criminal investigation into the country’s national airline over allegations of “shocking” corruption.

A statement from the prime minister’s office said that an inquiry had unearthed “major security breaches” at Sri Lankan Airlines.

The statement alleges irregularities in a $2.3bn purchase of 10 aircraft made under the previous government.

The loss-making airline is 95% state-owned and 5% owned by staff.

It is the latest in a string of corruption allegations made against the administration of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

‘Serious mishaps’

The statement, issued by the office of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, accuses Mr Rajapaksa of making management changes within the airline to allow the $2.3bn-dollar purchase of 10 new aircraft “despite the availability of more cost-effective alternatives”.

The former chairman of the airline, Nishantha Wickramasinghe, is also singled out by the statement, accused of a “gross abuse of power”.

Mr Wickramasinghe – who is Mr Rajapaksa’s brother-in-law – is accused of exposing the airline to “reputational damage” by his “penchant for young air hostesses”, as well as falsifying documents to lease a luxury sports car.

The statement also accuses the airline of attempting to “hush-up two serious flying mishaps”, although no details are given.

Mr Rajapaksa, in power since 2005, was defeated in an election in January 2015, by Maithripapa Srisena.(BBC)

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