Wickramasuriya allegedly chartered flight from Washington without Ministry approval, PCoI told | Daily News

Wickramasuriya allegedly chartered flight from Washington without Ministry approval, PCoI told

Former Sri Lankan Ambassador to the United States (2008–2014), Jaliya Wickramasuriya without any Foreign Ministry authorization had allegedly chartered flight in April 2013 to fly from Washington to Mattala via Dubai, it was revealed at the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) on irregularities at SriLankan Airlines, SriLankan Catering and Mihin Lanka learnt on Wednesday.

It was revealed that Wickramasuriya had chartered this flight in an arbitrary manner with the support of a SriLankan Airlines official and had billed the cost to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

A witness from the SriLankan appearing on behalf of its Head of Finance at the Commission said that there was no request from the Foreign Ministry, but, from Wickramasuriya to the Airlines management for reserving this flight.

However, the due payment of Rs. seven million for the chartered flight still remains outstanding as the SriLankan has been failed to collect it from the responsible party, the PCoI learnt. The witness pointed out that they had written to the Foreign Ministry reminding the due payment later on.

In response to that, the ministry had asked the airline to conduct an internal inquiry into the deal as they had no involvement in it.

The witness replied “no”, when he was asked as to whether SriLankan had conducted any internal inquiry into this. He also replied that they had not taken any step in this regard through their legal department too.

Former Ambassador Jaliya Chitran Wickramasuriya is a cousin to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and currently holds Permanent Residency in the USA.

He has been indicted for five charges, including money laundering, wire fraud and visa fraud violations by a US Grand Jury in May 2018. The Media reported that he was expected to surrender to the US authorities at a US District Court this week.

He continues to evade arrest in Sri Lanka where he faces similar charges pertaining to the purchase of the same property in Washington DC during his tenure as Sri Lankan Ambassador.

US Attorney Zia Mustafa Faruqui and Arvind K.Lal are the lead prosecutors for the US Government in the case against the former Lankan envoy.

The case marks the first time that a foreign head of mission has been indicted by the US Government. It is also the first time that a Sri Lankan Ambassador has been prosecuted under foreign jurisdiction.

 


 

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