Airbus deal deserves special attention - Transparency International SL | Sunday Observer

Airbus deal deserves special attention - Transparency International SL

Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) has alerted the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into Allegations of Large Scale Fraud and Malpractice in SriLankan Airlines to the alleged corruption surrounding the controversial procurement of Airbus A350 aircraft by the national carrier. The German publication Der Spiegel has on repeated occasions flagged the allegations of bribery and corruption in the procurement of the Airbus aircraft.

In a letter to the CoIin August this year, TISL highlighted that the aircraft manufacturer Airbus and its subsidiaries are under investigation in several jurisdictions for allegedly paying bribes in order to win billions of dollars in contracts. TISL believes, these investigations are of particular interest to the Sri Lankan people given the fallout following the cancellation of SriLankan Airlines’ planned purchase of Airbus A350 aircraft which led to the state having to pay in excess, Rs. 15 billion as cancellation costs.

In June this year, TISL co-signed a letterwith Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) from France, Indonesia, Tunisia, the UK and the US, addressed to the Head of UK’s Serious Fraud Office and copied to France’s Parque National Financier, the US Department of Justice and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) calling on their investigating agencies to ensure that any allegations connected to the procurement of Airbus aircraft are properly investigated and where necessary, legal action is initiated. Key among the recommendations made by the CSOs is that in instances where it is proven that Airbus or its agents have paid bribes, the aggrieved countries are compensated for the harm caused.

The CSO’s joint statementand a report compiled by Corruption Watch UK on the allegations of bribery and corruption at Airbus were also referred to the Commission of Inquiry. TISL Executive Director Asoka Obeyesekere said, “We respectfully call on the Commissioners to ensure a comprehensive and transparent investigation of the A350 deal, especially, considering the burden placed on the country as a result of the cancellation costs. As Airbus’ parent company EADS is listed in France, the OECD guidelines for multinational enterprises would apply. This provides a framework for the recovery of any monies that may have been earned through bribery or corruption”.