Mar 30, 2017

Govt. instigates probe into Sri Lankan Airlines A330 deals

A high level investigation has been instigated by the government to ascertain corrupt practices and administrative blunders if there are any in the Sri Lankan Airlines A-330 air craft dry lease to the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) in August last year and their lease of three A330-200 aircraft from an international firm in 2010, official sources said.

A team of high ranking officials has been directed to conduct an in-depth investigations in to theses deals and submit a report with recommendations and cause of action against the top officials Including the CEO of the airline if they found guilty for causing a massive financial loss for the country.

Sri Lankan is yet to collect US$2 million plus interest from PIA following the ending of the dry lease after three months of operation.

In a dramatic turn of events of PIA- Sri Lankan Airlines A330 aircraft deal concluded recently, Pakistani authorities banned the German CEO of the the state-owned national airline from leaving the country as the government begins an investigation into a plane-lease contract.

Bernd Hildenbrand, the German head of Pakistan International Airlines Corp. (PIA), has been put on a so-called exit control list (ECL) and the nation’s anti-graft Federal Investigation Agency has been directed to probe the national carrier’s wet lease of A 330 Aircraft allegedly tainted with corruption and irregularities, Pakistan media reported.

In the wake of Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency’s probe into the aircraft deal and subsequent action of barring the PIA CEO from leaving the country, the government has been pressurized to investigate in to The Sri Lankan Airlines deal where its CEO Suren Ratwatte publicly boasted the outcome of the deal as successful.

In the other deal a case was filed in the Commercial High Court of Justice earlier this month by SASOF II Aviation Ireland Ltd pleading the judiciary to declare that SriLankan Airlines is abide by the relevant extension agreements.

This company is also seeking an order to recover all rental payments due to them under the extended leases and costs.

The high level team is probing as to how the Sri Lankan Airlines CEO has extended the leases last year without a SriLankan board decision and other mal practices connected to the deal.

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