Udayanga recommended company as GSA for Russia

Former Sri Lankan ambassador to Russia, Udayanga Weeratunga had recommended a company named Sri Lanka Limited to be appointed as General Sales Agent (GSA) for SriLankan airlines in Russia, the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) on irregularities at SriLankan Airlines, SriLankan Catering and Mihin Lanka was told yesterday.

Shiromi Cooray, Manager Industrial Relations, SriLankan Airlines notified the commission that writing to the SriLankan country manager in Russia in 2011, Weeratunga has said that Sri Lanka Limited could help the country forge closer relationships with Russia and Ukraine and the company should be selected for this reason. “This is the first time that we have appointed a GSA to Russia,” she said. She also said that there had been no advertisement announcing the decision.

It was also revealed that this was a direct violation of rules formulated in 2009 which stipulates that prior to selecting a GSA, SriLankan should conduct a market survey of a new territory and call for applications through advertisements in newspapers and SriLankan websites and also hold a legal and financial review.

"There had been no interview process to select a suitable company and there has been no legal or financial review during this process," she said.

She also informed the Commission that although the then CEO, Kapila Chandrasena had recommended Sri Lanka Limited, according to the 2009 rule manual the CEO does not have the authority to appoint a GSA.

"Chandrasena had also extended the agreement in 2015, again violating the rules appearing in the 2009 manual, for another three years, however the GSA terminated the agreement in 2015 after SriLankan stopped direct flights to Russia," she said. (Yoshitha Perera)