It is easily one of the worst losses suffered by the Government but it had little or no say over the issue. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Matters (CCEM) has decided to negotiate the “termination loss” for a SriLankan Airlines order in February 2013 for three brand new A 350-900 aircraft for “anything between US$ [...]


Three new Airbuses: Govt. faces financial turbulence, but no action against culprits


It is easily one of the worst losses suffered by the Government but it had little or no say over the issue.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Matters (CCEM) has decided to negotiate the “termination loss” for a SriLankan Airlines order in February 2013 for three brand new A 350-900 aircraft for “anything between US$ 75 million to 85 million” or between more than Rs. 10.99 billion and Rs. 12.45 billion. The new aircraft ordered by the previous management were due for delivery in 2020/21.

The decision was made at a CCEM meeting chaired by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. It came after Public Enterprise Development Minister Kabir Hashim briefed the committee recently.

Despite the colossal losses that would be incurred, the Government has still not been able to determine who was responsible for the controversial purchases. It has also not been able to determine who during this period represented the French Airbus Industrie, the manufacturers of the aircraft and Britain’s Rolls Royce, whose engines were to be fitted on them.

The projected “termination loss” is not the only expenses incurred by the Government. In December 2013, the then Civil Aviation Minister Priyankara Jayaratne obtained approval of the then Cabinet of Ministers to make “pre-delivery payment” to Airbus Industries for deliveries of aircraft.

He said, “In order to obtain medium term financing, the Board of Directors from SriLankan Airlines has approved the issue of a Bond in international markets with a view to raising US$ 175 million to be re-paid at the end of five years. Accordingly, SriLankan Airlines requires the Treasury Guarantee issued to Mashreq Bank (Dubai based) cancelled and re-issued to guarantee the bond issue of US$ 175 million.

“SriLankan Airlines needs to repay the Mashreq Bank loan outstanding amounting to US$ 130 million in order to cancel the present guarantee of US$ 175 million issued to Mashreq Bank. The Board of Directors of SriLankan Airlines has appointed Standard Chartered Bank as lead bank and arranged for US$ 150 million syndicate loan which will primarily be used to repay the Mashreq Bank syndicate loan. The new loan requires Treasury guarantee for only 33 percent of the loan value and therefore SriLankan Airlines is seeking a new Treasury guarantee of US$ 50million to raise this facility.”

As is clear from the then Minister Jayaratne’s memorandum, the then SriLankan management has gone from bank to bank to borrow money for a purchase which had lacked transparency. Now the National Unity Government has been forced to bear the accumulated loss.

While former Government leaders are being taken in for the abuse of state vehicles – and remanded, those responsible for these colossal losses go scot free and the top management of the national airline seems to have had little time to pursue the culprits. Even the inquiry report commissioned by the new Government into the airline gathers dust with no interest other than to say; “we have handed it over to the Attorney General”.

Relief for political victims
The Cabinet of Ministers will next week discuss a proposal to “provide relief to those who faced difficulties due to political reasons.”

This follows a proposal made by Transport and Civil Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva.
A ministerial source said among matters ministers would discuss would be the kind of relief that could be offered to those who have been subject to difficulties.

Now SriLankan pilot makes shocking sex tape
Woes of near bankruptcy, allegations of drunk pilots and a so-called “go slow” do not seem to have deterred some young flyers, at least those who still believe in the national carrier SriLankan Airlines offering a ‘taste of paradise.’

However, this story is about one young and amorous flyer and his lady friend, who also gets airborne, taking to the airline’s dream of offering a heavenly experience.

The young pilot, in what seems a bizarre case, decided to film his sexual encounter with his girl friend. The ecstatic moments were not the only material on tape. Both their faces, the moans and groans and even parts of the uniform could be seen. Trouble began after the young pilot threatened to expose the lady friend if she kept the company of a colleague. She defied the decree and soon the colleague received a copy of the pornographic footage on his mobile phone.

Now the video has gone viral courtesy the jilted colleague. The young pilot who filmed himself now had his evil act boomerang on him so he ran to the bosses, who to his fortune, were friendly with him. He was told to ignore the issue since that was his personal life and did not concern the company. Yet, the troubles are not altogether over for the young man – on the home front.

Ambulthial and polos curry for Lankan journalists in New York
The media contingent that accompanied President Maithripala Sirisena to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York had no cause for concern over cuisine.

Most who preferred Sri Lankan cuisine as against western food found their favourite rice and curry delivered to their hotel room. For example, a packet lunch contained fish ambulthiyal, polos, beetroot, curry and dhal. There was also biriyani in between.
Dinners were no different. There were string hoppers, chicken curry, pol sambol and potato white curry. On another occasion, it was kottu rotty. “Home was never like this,” declared a journalist as he dug into his packet of string hoppers and accompaniments.

Where Bogambara stood, a new project by an Australian
Australian architect Peter Hill appeared before Tuesday’s weekly ministerial meeting to explain a project to be sited at the five hectare land in Kandy where the Bogambara Prison was once located.
This land comes under the Urban Development Authority. However, the proposal to develop the area has come from Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. He is also the Minister of National Policies and Economic Affairs.

Minister dashes vet’s Vietnam dream
A serviceman preparing to take wing for the Asian Beach Games in Vietnam this week was grounded on the orders of the Sports Minister who asked for his credentials and found that his expertise was in the field of looking after the health of canines rather than that of sportspersons.

The grounding orders probably came in the aftermath of the fiasco of more delegates than athletes going for the recently concluded Rio Olympic Games. According to a source at the National Olympic Committee, Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera had first given the nod for the some 60 member delegation from Sri Lanka attending the Beach Games in Vietnam, but later had sought clarification on the serviceman. When he received no response from the NOC, an angry minister struck off the poor man from the list.

Not accustomed to take matters lying down, the serviceman consulted the NOC. The NOC asked the Minister to fly a kite, and for him to fly to Vietnam. He was to go as the 2IC (second-in-command) of the delegation, no less.

Taking orders from the NOC rather than the minister, the serviceman packed his bags and went to the BIA to join the delegation to Vietnam but his colleagues cautioned him that the Minister may have informed the Controller of Immigration and Emigration to stop him from leaving the country. The legality of such a move would have been in question, had such orders been given, but he was told that, if such a thing were to happen at the Border Control post, it would become a major issue for him and his career.
A former wrestler, the serviceman went back home, but is now considering going to the Human Rights Council, say his friends.

CBK’sLondon Foundation laid to rest
A “CBK Foundation for Democracy and Justice” functioned in Britain for nearly eight years before its directors decided to wind it up.The Foundation was registered as a “private company limited by Guarantee Without Share Capital claiming exemption under (UK’s) Section 30 of the 1985 Act from using the word ‘LIMITED.’ ” It was formed on May 31, 2007.
The Foundation’s directors were Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga who was listed as an “Economist” resident in Surrey, K.M.M. Tittawela, Uday Visonji Kapadia and John Chitrapri Lalith de Mel.
The total asset of the Foundation has been placed at Sterling Pounds 8,906 when the directors decided in 2015 to close it down.


Good sign for the hearing impaired
Sign language interpreters will soon be a feature at public events where Government dignitaries make speeches.
The Cabinet of Ministers has approved a recommendation to recruit Sign Language Interpreters for the Department of Social Services. The move comes on the recommendation of S.B. Dissanayake, Minister of Social Empowerment and Welfare.

Cabraal  before FCID
One-time Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal is due to make a statement tomorrow (Monday) at the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID).
It relates to the multimillion loss the country faced over the oil hedging deal which is now under FCID investigation.

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