SriLankan Catering services used free of charge for political, social events

ECONOMYNEXT-The profitable catering arm of the loss-making state-owned national carrier SriLankan Airlines had supplied meals for political, social and charity functions free of charge, an official said at a commission of inquiry.

Group Assurance and Advisory Services Senior Manager Mahesh Nanayakkara testified at a Presidential Commission of Inquiry that meals prepared at SriLankan Catering Limited had been sent for political campaigns and social functions without any payments.

"Most of the time, these were done with the approval of the board," Nanayakkara said.

"If the chairman or the chief executive approve, then we check to see if they have the power to do that. If so, we are satisfied."

He said supplying catering services for these functions free of charge did not help the business of SriLankan Airlines.

Meals had also been prepared for ‘dansal’, although charity is allowed, he said.

However, some of these outside catering had been done without required board approval, Nanayakkara said.

"Charity and social activities, how do you draw the line?" Senior State Counsel Fazly Razick questioned.

Nanayakkara said that a policy has now been set up.

"Subsequently, we have put a policy in place. It is clear cut," he said.

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Razick suggested that SriLankan Catering should put in place a mechanism to reclaim unauthorized catering services.

"Yes, it is a prudent suggestion to reclaim the money," Nanayakkara said.  (Colombo/Oct04/2018)
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