Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) welcomes the decision by SriLankan Airlines to sue the company Airbus SE for $ 1 billion damages, loss of reputation, reimbursement of costs and interest.
Sri Lankan Airlines has also called for the cancellation of the purchase agreement for four A350-900 Airbus aircraft and the return of the advance payment of $ 19 million made for the aircraft.
The move by SriLankan Airlines follows information revealed through a Deferred Prosecution Agreement between the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), UK and Airbus SE, in relation to the bribing of public officials by Airbus SE in several countries including Sri Lanka.
“The move by SriLankan Airlines to seek compensation from Airbus should be commended,” Transparency International said in a statement.
“However, it should be noted that Sri Lanka does not have a comprehensive legal framework for the management of recovered assets.”
In 2018, TISL contributed to a multistakeholder effort to draft a policy framework on stolen asset recovery, which provides a proposed legal framework to investigate, identify, trace, seize, and transfer to Sri Lanka and manage such assets.
Given the possibility of lost monies being returned to Sri Lanka as a result of the action filed by the authorities in this case, it is vital that this policy framework be converted into law, so that the recovery process may be managed effectively.
While commending the move by SriLankan Airlines to sue Airbus, TISL is concerned that the alleged perpetrators of corruption in Sri Lanka are yet to be held accountable domestically.