Gota registered Mihin Lanka as a private entity | Sunday Observer

Gota registered Mihin Lanka as a private entity

The application for the incorporation of Mihin Lanka (Private) Limited as a private entity had been submitted by Former Secretary to the Ministry of Defence, Gotabaya Rajapaksa in his capacity as a founder director way back in October 2006, a representative from the Registrar Companies divulged on Thursday.

Further, although the Articles of Association stipulated that the minimum number of directors needed to be five, in the case of Mihin Lanka (Pvt) Ltd., there had however been only four since Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s name was not mentioned in the company’s records after 2008.

These revelations transpired when State Management Assistant, Registrar of Companies, Indika Roshan Gunawardena gave evidence before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry which met to record evidence on Thursday (June 7), at the BMICH. The Commission met for the second day to probe alleged malpractices at Sri Lankan Airlines, SriLankan Catering and Mihin Lanka from 01st January 2006 to 31st January 2018.

When Gunawardena was questioned by Additional Solicitor General, Neil Unamboowe PC, it was revealed that although the application for incorporation of Mihin Lanka (Pvt) Limited was submitted on 25th October 2006, the Registrar of Companies had made a minute on the document citing defects. However, despite the defects, according to the evidence, a certificate of incorporation for Mihin Lanka (Pvt) Ltd. was issued on 27th October 2006.

The first Board of Directors consisted former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, former Finance Ministry Secretary P.B. Jayasundera, former Air Force Commander Air Chief Marshal Roshan Mahesh Gunathilake and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Coordinating Secretary Sajin de Vaas Gunawardena. S. S.Consultants & Corporate Secretaries (Pvt) Ltd. acted as the Company Secretary to Mihin Lanka (Pvt) Ltd.

Responding to questions on whose authority the airline had been registered as a private entity, Gunawardena explained that the Department’s documents on Mihin Lanka did not contain any letter authorising the setting up of the airline from either the Finance Ministry, Defence Ministry or the Cabinet at the time. He added that they did not also possess any document stating the appointment of the first Board of Directors. However, according to the State Management Assistant, the company’s constitution mandated that either the State or Minister of Civil Aviation had to present the Board with letters of appointment.

During the hearings, it was disclosed that for a period of about 8 years from 2006 to June 27th 2014, the Lankaputhra Development Bank and the Finance Ministry together had injected Rs. 14.4 billion in Mihin Lanka (Pvt) Limited.

At the hearing, the witness was requested to submit the share capital for SriLankan Airlines, SriLanka Catering and Mihin Lanka from 2006 to 2018 as recorded with the Registrar of Companies within the next two weeks.

The examination of evidence by the Presidential Commission commenced on Monday, June 4. The sitting was adjourned on Thursday June 7 as the previous day’s proceedings were not available for the Commissioners and the Attorneys to peruse. The Commission will convene again tomorrow.

Prior to the recording of evidence, Additional Solicitor General Neil Unamboowe making a statement noted that investigations carried out revealed that Sri Lankan Airlines made a loss of Rs. 143 billion from 2006 to 2018 and has Rs. 167 billion in liabilities. He pointed out that from 2006 to 2018, Mihin Lanka had also incurred a loss of Rs. 17 billion with liabilities amounting to over Rs. 10 billion. During the first six months of 2016, Mihin Lanka incurred a loss of Rs. 181 million.

Therefore, he said that investigations have shown SriLankan Airlines, SriLankan Catering and Mihin Lanka had suffered colossal losses due to mismanagement, corruption and undue influence from those in power.

The Commission of Inquiry was appointed on the 2nd of February this year with President, Maithripala Sirisena signing the Gazette Notification. Retired Supreme Court Judge Anil Gunaratne has been appointed as the Chairman of the Commission while the rest of the Commission consists of Court of Appeal Judge E.A.G.R. Amarasekera, Retired High Court Judge Piyasena Ranasinghe, Retired Auditor General M.D.A. Harold and Ms. W.J.K. Geeganage from the Sri Lanka Accounting and Auditing Standards Institution.

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SriLankan CEO Suren Ratwatte resigns

The Chief Executive Officer of SriLankan Airlines, Suren Ratwatte has submitted his letter of resignation to the Chairman Ranjith Fernando on Thursday (07), The Sunday Observer learns.

The national carrier announced that the CEO had decided to retire early in order to facilitate the restructuring process of the airline. The announcement came three days after the Presidential Commission appointed to investigate into alleged financial irregularities at SriLankan Airlines and Mihin Lanka Airlines, commenced recording of evidence.

Ratwatte, a former captain with Emirates assumed duties as the Chief Executive Officer of the national carrier on 15th October 2015. 

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