Pradeepa Kekulawala the Head of Human Resources at SriLankan Airlines was grilled by the Criminal Investigations Officers for several hours last Thursday after many staff of the airline went forward and reported him to the Presidential Commission of Inquiry.
The daunting submissions by staff exposed several deals the SriLankan Airlines Head of HR was involved in, especially acts he had committed during the former Rajapaksa government.
Using staff, utilities and funds to support the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s 2015 Presidential Election campaigns, unlawful terminations of staff, commissions obtained through the offering of contracts, supporting staff caught aiding and abetting in the acts of human smuggling through the airport, were some of the allegations staff who came forward complained to the Presidential Commission of Inquiry.
It is reliably understood that the Airline Pilots Guild of Sri Lanka had made the most complaints about him.
HHR Pradeepa Kekulawala was earlier exposed by Lawyer J.C.Weliamuna when the airline was investigated for fraud and corruption in 2015. However as Lawyer J.C.Weliamuna’s report was not acted upon by the airline, he got away unscathed and continued being employed till today.
Recently the APGSL President Captain Ruwan Vithanage submitted a letter to the airline’s Chairman Ranjith Fernando and his newly appointed Board of Directors stating that they had no confidence in HHR Kekulawala.
The purpose of sending this letter to Chairman Ranjith Fernando was also to brief him that the Presidential Commission of Inquiry had summoned the Pilots Guild President and his committee yet again pertaining to clarification on matters that had arisen, due to the complaints the Pilots Guild had submitted earlier about HHR Kekulawala.
That letter also highlighted 12 reasons as to why the Pilots Guild has no confidence in HHR Kekulawala and requested the Chairman and Board of Directors to investigate their allegations.
Allegations against HHR Kekulawala stated in the letter were the controversial signing of Collective Bargaining Agreements with the airline’s unions, allowance disparities paid between Pilots and Cabin Crew, terminations of Pilots, deprivation of staff travel benefits to pilots on reservation or at check-in, disparities in employment contracts of Pilots and many more.
The Pilots Guild in their letter confirmed that they have sufficient evidence to substantiate all allegations made against HHR Kekulawala.
HHR Kekulawala in his defense decided to reply Captain Vithanage’s letter, despite the fact that he was merely copied on the letter in order to maintain transparency.
Besides refuting all claims as baseless allegations, HHR Kekulawala took the opportunity to blow his own trumpet. “‘I give leadership to the entire HR professionals of the country” he wrote.
His email further stated “Having joined the company competitively through the due process as the Head of Human Resources 08 years ago, I have continued successfully so far as I have always done the right thing towards the Company. The respective Chairmen, Boards of Directors and the leaders of the governments recognized that fact which is the reason for my continuity in the job.”
HHR Kekulawala’s email also roped in the Senior Management and the Board of Directors of the national carrier when he claimed that all decisions were taken by them and not singularly by him. He wrote “I wish to categorically state that none of the decisions affecting the benefits of particular employee groups in any form have been decided by me singularly. It has either been a collective senior management decision and / or a decision backed by Board approval or ratification. I have been the communicator of good and bad news on many occasions, but it does not necessarily follow that decisions have been taken by me.”
Lanka News Web has all email correspondence made between HHR Pradeepa Kekulawala and President APGSL President Captain Ruwan Vithanage in its possession.