Dividends not paid for EPF funds invested in SriLankan - Company Secretary

Although unauthorised EPF funds had been invested to purchase shares in Emirates owned Sri Lankan Airlines in 2010, what happened to its dividends owed to 13.3 million EPF members still remain a mystery.

The manner in which dollars were credited to the EPF maintained in a Sri Lankan rupee account is also a dilemma, SriLankan Airlines Company Secretary Dalrene Thirukumar said.

She gave evidence before the Presidential Commission Investigating into alleged Fraud, Corruption and Misuse of State Funds and Property in Sri Lankan Airlines, SriLankan Catering Services and Mihin Lanka.

Thirukumar disclosed this when Additional Solicitor General Neil Unamboowe PC asked her to produce before the commission any document or note made relating to the dividends owned to the EPF from such unauthorised investments.

ASG Unamboowe submitted that Section 5 of the EPF Act stated the strategies to be adopted in investing EPF Funds. But according to evidence given by witness Thirukumar, neither those strategies had been adopted or Monetary Board approval obtained to invest EPF funds in the Airline.

Thirukumar said more than one million shares worth over 4 million US dollars had been issued to the EPF. She said the Cabinet and Monetary Board approval had been taken to buy these shares.

The shares had been purchased on the strength of a letter then Bank of Ceylon Chairman Gamini Wickremesinghe had sent to then Treasury Secretary Dr. P. B. Jayasundera. She produced the relevant letter before the Commission. Although SriLankan shares given to Banks by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his capacity as Finance Minister had been reclaimed by Banks, EPF shares had not been reclaimed by it, she added. 

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