SriLankan reimbursed Rs. 24 mn to SL embassy in Russia, PCoI told

Published : 9:10 am  August 30, 2018 | No comments so far |  | 

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Function to publicise new GSA in Russia

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By Yoshitha Perera  
SriLankan Airlines had reimbursed the Sri Lankan Embassy in Russia approximately Rs. 24 million that it had allegedly spent on a get-together organised to provide publicity to the newly appointed SriLankan General Sales Agent (GSA) for Russia.

 

 

This includes a payment of USD100, 000 for the venue (the Ritz Carlton) and another USD 84, 000 for the handling of VVIP movement

 

This was revealed in front of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) probing irregularities at  SriLankan Airlines, SriLankan Catering and Mihin Lanka by Upekha Abeysekera, Senior Manager, Revenue Accounting at the Airline. 


This was when Udayanga Weeratunga was functioning as the Sri Lankan Ambassador to Russia.   


Last week it was revealed that Weeratunga had recommended a company, Sri Lanka Limited, to be appointed as General Sales Agent (GSA) for the national carrier in Russia. Writing to the SriLankan country manager in Russia in 2011, Weeratunga had said that Sri Lanka Limited could help the country build closer relationships with Russia and Ukraine and thus should be selected as the airline’s GSA.   


Although, the party was organized to celebrate the appointment of the airline’s new GSA and SriLankan had agreed to bear the expenses, the Russian Embassy had footed the bill. “This includes a payment of USD100, 000 for the venue (the Ritz Carlton) and another USD 84, 000 for the handling of VVIP movement. Our embassy had initially paid the bill and we reimbursed that amount,” she told the commission.   


Last week Shiromi Cooray, Manager Industrial Relations at SriLankan Airlines told the commission that this was the first time, according to her knowledge, that a diplomat has involved himself in the appointment of a GSA for SriLankan Airlines.   

 

The PCoI heard that SriLankan started selecting GSAs, a sales representative for an airline in a specific country or region responsible for selling passenger and cargo space, after the departure of Emirates. Earlier it maintained its own offices in a number of countries. However, even under a GSA system, the airline retains a country manager and an officer in charge of finance, who are provided office space by the GSA.     

 

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