Sri Lanka Brief
NewsPresidential Election Abuses by Rajapaksas

Presidential Election Abuses by Rajapaksas

by

It is amidst an impending parliamentary election that more details of abuses and irregularities at the January presidential election are now emerging. A shocking revelation is how the assets of Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) were allegedly used like a local taxi service by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, his family members and a few onetime ministers during the presidential election campaign. Helicopters and fixed wing aircraft were allegedly used and abused at their will and pleasure. At the end of it all, no payments have been made to the SLAF for these flights. The costs of these flights, an SLAF source said, would run into millions of rupees which the taxpayers would have to meet. The source said all the costing had been done from the point from which the aircraft or helicopter took off until it returned to the same location. In the case of helicopters, they left the SLAF base in Ratmalana and often landed in Colombo to pick up the VVIPs and VIPs. “Our costing procedure includes the point of origin, locations visited and the return to where the flight took off from,” said the source who did not wish to be identified. He is barred from officially talking to the media.

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa used different types of helicopters and Chinese built Y-12 passenger transport aircraft on 71 flights during the period December 1, 2014 to January 9, 2015. All these flights, barring the last, were to take part in election rallies though a few were linked to official engagements. Of course, one might argue these flights were enjoyed by a serving President since he is also the Minister of Defence and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. Yet, the question remains whether it was both ethical and fair when his rival Maithripala Sirisena was not permitted to use the SLAF assets. Yet, there were others who were not entitled to this privilege but have taken free rides on SLAF helicopters. One such case is Namal Rajapaksa, MP.

Others included, former ministers Basil Rajapaksa, Wimal Weerawansa, Susil Premjayantha, North Western Province Chief Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera, and a person identified only as S. Manamendra who went on an unpaid Bell 412 helicopter flight from Ratmalana to Colombo, Ginigathhena, Colombo and return to Ratmalana. There were also SLAF flights used by the then first lady, Shiranthi Rajapaksa, for which payments have not been made. One such flight on December 12 last year, shocking enough, was from Ratmalana to Maharagama and back, not more than five kilometres.

Namal Rajapaksa, the son of former President Rajapaksa, made 25 flights during this period. SLAF records seen by the Sunday Times confirm that no payments for these flights had been made until yesterday. As the Parliament is set to debate the 19A next week, there is little doubt that dissolution will not be on April 23 – the deadline set by the UNP. Of course, the UNP has agreed to allow a short extension. However, UNP leaders feel the longer it takes the worst it would be for the party politically. With many pledges made during the presidential election campaign yet unfulfilled, both the Presidency and the UNP-dominated Government have come in for strong public criticism. Even if he is finding it difficult to control the SLFP parliamentarians, President Sirisena sits pretty. He will enjoy more powers than what he thought when he was elected. But the prospects of a rapid re-emergence of Mahinda Rajapaksa, plotting and planning his next move, should remain a worry for the incumbent President as he gradually loses his grip on his MPs.

SLAF Harbin Y-12

Abuse of SLAF: Sky was the limit for the Rajapaksa family; millions not paid

The Sri Lanka Air Force is yet to receive payments for flights offered to members of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s family and former Ministers of his Government.
The rates were charged from the point of departure of the aircraft/helicopter from the SLAF base in Ratmalana. Until yesterday the SLAF has not received any payments for these flights. Here are some of those who took the flights:

Namal Rajapaksa – MP
December 1, 2014 – SLAF Bell 412 helicopter to fly from Ratmalana to Colombo, Mattala and return to Ratmalana.
December 3, 2014 – SLAF Bell 412 helicopter to fly from Ratmalana to Koggala, Tangalle, Colombo and return to Ratmalana.
December 7, 2014 – SLAF Bell 412 helicopter to fly from Ratmalana to Colombo, Tangalle, Wellawaya, Hambantota, Colombo and return to Ratmalana.
December 9, 2014 – Harbin Y 12 transport aircraft – to fly from Ratmalana to Mattala, Bandaranaike International Airport and return to Ratmalana.
December 11, 2014 – Bell 412 helicopter to fly from Ratmalana to Colombo, Ratnapura, Kandy, Colombo and return to Ratmalana.
December 12, 2014 – Bell 412 helicopter to fly from Ratmalana to Colombo, Hambantota, Wellawaya, Hambantota, Koggala, Bandaranaike International Airport and return to Ratmalana.
December 14, 2014 – Harbin Y 12 transport aircraft to fly from Ratmalana to Katunayake, Anuradhapura, Bandaranaike International Airport and return to Ratmalana.
December 15, 2014 – Bell 412 helicopter to fly from Ratmalana to Colombo, Ratnapura and return to Ratmalana.
December 16, 2014 – Harbin Y 12 transport aircraft to fly from Ratmalana, Mattala, and return to Ratmalana.
December 17, 2014 – Bell 412 helicopter to fly from Ratmalana to Colombo, Palavi, Mannar, Colombo and return to Ratmalana.
December 21, 2014 – Harbin Y 12 transport aircraft from Ratmalana, Vavuniya and return to Ratmalana.
December 22, 2014 – Bell 412 helicopter to fly from Ratmalana to Colombo, Galgamuwa and return to Ratmalana.
December 24, 2014 – Bell 412 helicopter to fly from Ratmalana to Colombo, Tangalle, Koggala, Tangalle, Colombo and return to Ratmalana.
December 25, 2014- Y12 Harbin transport aircraft from Ratmalana to Ampara.
December 26, 2014 – Y12 Harbin transport aircraft to fly from Ampara and return via Katunayake to Ratmalana.
December 27, 2014 – Bell 412 helicopter to fly from Ratmalana to Colombo, Deraniyagala and return to Ratmalana.
January 1, 2015 – Bell 412 to fly from Ratmalana to Koggala, Tangalle, Kurunegala and return to Ratmalana.
January 2, 2015 – Bell 212 helicopter to fly from Hingurakgoda to Kekirawa, Aralaganwila and return to Hingurakgoda.
January 4, 2015 – Harbin Y 12 transport aircraft to fly from Ratmalana to Kankesanthurai (Jaffna), Mattala and return to Ratmalana.
January 5, 2015 – Bell 412 helicopter to fly from Ratmalana to Wirawila, Makandura, Colombo, Kaduwela, Nattandiya and return to Ratmalana.
January 6, 2015 – Bell 412 helicopter to fly from Ratmalana to Colombo, Medamulana, Koggala and return to Ratmalana.
January 6, 2015 – Harbin Y 12 transport aircraft to fly from Ratmalana to Mattala and Anuradhapura. Night Stop.
January 7 2015 – Harbin Y 12 transport aircraft to fly from Anuradhapura, Wellawaya and return to Ratmalana.

Basil Rajapaksa, former Minister of Economic Development
December 13, 2014 – Bell 412 helicopter to fly from Ratmalana to Colombo, Kurunegala, Kegalle and return to Ratmalana.
December 15, 2014 – Bell 412 helicopter to fly from Ratmalana to Colombo, Ratnapura, Colombo and return to Ratmalana.
December 16, 2014 – Mi- 17 helicopter to fly from Ratmalana to Colombo, Vavuniya, Jaffna and Palaly.
December 16, 2014 – Harbin transport aircraft Y 12 to fly from Ratmalana to Palaly and return to Ratmalana.
December 17, 2014 – Bell 412 helicopter – to fly from Ratmalana to Colombo, Wennappuwa, Colombo and return to Ratmalana.
December 18, 2014 – Bell 412 helicopter – to fly from Ratmalana to Colombo, Matale, Colombo and return to Ratmalana.
January 8 2015 – Bell 412 helicopter – to fly from Ratmalana to Colombo, Medamulana, Koggala, Medamulana, Colombo and return to Ratmalana.
SLAF Bell 412

Former first lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa
December 7, 2014 – Mi-17 helicopter from Colombo to Matale, Pallekele, Kandy and return to Ratmalana.
December 8, 2014 – Mi-17 helicopter from Colombo to Kandy and return to Colombo.
December 10, 2014 – Mi-17 helicopter from Ratmalana to Maharagama and return to Ratmalana.
December 12, 2014 – Mi-17 helicopter from Tangalle to Colombo
January 2, 2015 – Mi-17 helicopter to fly from Ratmalana to Colombo, Naula and return to Ratmalana.
January 3, 2015 – Mi-17 helicopter to fly from Ratmalana to Badulla, Colombo and return to Ratmalana.
January 4, 2015 – Mi-17 helicopter to fly from Colombo to Kurunegala and return to Colombo.

Wimal Weerawansa, former Minister of Housing and Construction
December 20, 2014 – Harbin Y 12 transport aircraft to fly from Ratmalana, Ampara and return to Ampara.
December 21, 2014 – Bell 412 helicopter to fly from Ratmalana to Colombo, Moneragala, Wellawaya, Buttala and Koggala and return to Ratmalana.
December 21, 2014 – Harbin Y 12 from Ratmalana to fly to Koggala and return to Ratmalana.
January 1, 2015 – Bell 412 helicopter to fly from Ratmalana to Colombo, Kandy, Colombo and return to Ratmalana.
January 2, 2015 – Bell 412 helicopter to fly from Ratmalana to Kandy, Kantale, Sigiriya and return to Ratmalana.
January 2 2015 – Harbin Y 12 transport aircraft from Ratmalana to Hingurakgoda and return to Ratmalana.
January 5 2015 – Mi 17 transport helicopter to fly from Ratmalana to Colombo, Wirawila, Matara, Ambalangoda, Matugama and return to Ratmalana.

Susil Premajayantha, former Minister of Environment and Renewable Energy
December 30, 2014 – Bell 412 helicopter to fly from Ratmalana to Colombo, China Bay, Kantale, Valachchenai and Hingurakgoda. Night stop.
December 31, 2014 – Bell 412 helicopter to fly from Hingurakgoda to Ampara, Colombo and return to Ratmalana.
January 2, 2015 – Mi-17 helicopter to fly from Ratmalana to Colombo, Palaly, Jaffna, Vavuniya, Mannar and return to Colombo.

Back to Top