PCoI into SriLankan and Mihin : Rajapaksa Govt took Rs.1.38b loan to settle Mihin debt | Sunday Observer

PCoI into SriLankan and Mihin : Rajapaksa Govt took Rs.1.38b loan to settle Mihin debt

The Bank of Ceylon (BOC) had granted a loan of Rs. 1.38 billion to the Government to facilitate unsettled bank Over Drafts (ODs) to itself by the State owned Mihin Lanka Pvt Ltd., the Presidential Commission to inquire into allegations of large scale frauds and malpractices in SriLankan Airlines, SriLankan Catering Ltd. and Mihin Lanka (Pvt) Ltd., learnt last week.

Mihin Lanka, which was then under the chairmanship of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa had obtained several bank ODs and some were without a guarantee, it was revealed.

According to evidence led before the Commission it was revealed that most of the facilities obtained was for working capital purposes, and to settle urgent fuel and maintenance bills. Testifying before the Commission, Prageeth Lasantha Balasuriya, Relationship Manager of BOC said that by March 31, 2009, Mihin Lanka owed the BOC Rs. 1,381,700,195.45 and the bank had sent several reminders to the Mihin Lanka to settle the loans. At this time, the Government had requested a rupee loan equivalent to the aforementioned amount from the BOC. Even though the Government paid back the loan in two years, the BOC had suffered a loss Rs 1.68 billion as the interest on the loans taken by Mihin Lanka had to be written off.

It was also reported to the Commission that the former Chairman of the SriLankan Airlines, Nishantha Wickramasinghe had made a diversion of a scheduled fight in order to travel back Sri Lanka from Singapore on January 22, 2014. Testifying before the Commission, Gopitha Indrajith Ranasinghe, Operations Control Manager of SriLankan Airlines said the Chairman himself instructed him to divert a flight, which was due to depart from Kuala Lumpur to Colombo carrying 124 passengers on board.

According to his testimony, this was the first time such a diversion was made on the instructions of a chairman, a privilege usually extended only to a Head of State.

Wickramasinghe was in Singapore at that time and he was due to return the country by flight number UL 306 which was a scheduled flight.