AG’s Dept officials complain of bogus agreement

SriLankan-Mahin probe


Attorney General’s Department officials on Wednesday (July 18) requested the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) on irregularities at SriLankan Airlines, SriLankan Catering and Mihin Lanka to investigate an agreement Kuma Stickers (Pvt.) Ltd had presented to SriLankan Airlines as it was different from the one it had signed with the Airport and Aviation Services Ltd.

The request was made after Somaratna de Silva, Manager of Commercial and Properties of Airport and Aviation Services Ltd told the commission that it had never signed a five-year agreement with Kuma Stickers as regards advertising spaces in the Departure Lobby and Walkway. 

"We first signed a one-year agreement and then opted for a four-year extension, under different conditions. But it seems that Kuma Stickers has presented SriLankan with a document which states we signed a five-year agreement under previously agreed terms. Thus, we can’t accept this as a legal document."

Earlier de Silva revealed that Prasanna Wickramasuriya, former Chairman of Airport and Aviation Services Ltd has given Kuma Stickers, owned by a close associate of the Rajapaksa Administration, exclusive rights to own advertising space in many areas of the BIA. Those high value locations were given without open tender procedure. 

The Commissioners asked de Silva whether the Airport and Aviation Services Ltd had ever attempted to sell advertising space at BIA directly to SriLankan, which could have reduced the costs of the airline by around 25%. De Silva responded that neither they nor the airline had ever considered such an arrangement.

"You are a government owned entity and so is SriLankan. If you had given advertising space in the airport to the airline directly both parties would have benefited. Instead you have allowed a private company to benefit from using government owned space. You have done what Kuma Stickers wanted, to their benefit, not to your benefit," Commissioner Court of Appeal Judge Gamini Rohan Amarasekara said.

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