Nishantha Wickremasinghe’s travel expenses more than Rs 24 m | Sunday Observer

Nishantha Wickremasinghe’s travel expenses more than Rs 24 m

The cost for duty travel overseas incurred by the Chairman’s office of the SriLankan Airlines from 2010 to 2015 was a staggering Rs. 24.9 million, the Presidential Commission to Inquire into Allegations of Large Scale Frauds and Malpractices in SriLankan Airlines, SriLankan Catering Ltd and Mihin Lanka (Pvt) Ltd. revealed.

The Company Secretary for SriLankan Airlines Dalrene Thirukumar revealed this testifying before the Commission last week.

In the financial year of 2010/ 2011 the expenses for duty travel overseas has been Rs. 1,306,000 while it shot up to Rs. 3,133,000 recording an increase of 139 percent in 2011/2012. This amount had increased to Rs. 5.1 million in 2013, Rs. 6.3 million in 2014 and Rs. 9 million in 2015.

The airline incurred separate costs of US$ 58,235, £ 5,610 & € 12,490 as per diem allowances (daily allowance covering only meals and incidental costs) for overseas travel of the then Chairman Nishantha Wickramasinghe between April 2011 to December 2014. Meanwhile self-related pax cost (Cost that the airline has to bear on the Chairman’s excess luggage at official foreign trips) increased from Rs. 32,000 in 2008/2009 to Rs. 516,000 in 2014/2015. The total cost incurred during the period is Rs.7.7 million.

The telephone bills of the chairman amounted to Rs. 4.06 million during financial years 2008/2009 to 2014/2015. In the financial year 2008/ 2009 telephone the expenses of the Chairman’s office had been Rs. 22,000 and this amount increased to Rs. 1.5 million in the financial year 2014/2015. Further it was revealed at the Presidential Commission that a new cost category named ‘trunk calls’ which the Company Secretary couldn’t define was introduced after Wickramasinge assumed duties.

The office of chairman had only two secretaries and three drivers aforementioned period leaving the question as to how such exorbitant amounts were spent on six individuals. During the course of the hearing it was also revealed that unjustifiable amounts of Over Time payments had been made to the three drivers attached to the chairman’s office. All three drivers records showed that they had worked an average of 20 hours per day making them entitled to a take home salary over one hundred thousand rupees per month.

Comments

Overtime for 10 hours, in addition to the 8 hours normal working hours - leaving only 6 hours for sleeping, eating etc., was claimed by all drivers of Rupavahini and SLBC during the eighties and nineties. Board members who queried this were ignored and vilified.