Son Smuggled The Foreign Currency In SriLankan Airlines Chairman
Sri Lankan Airlines Chairman Nishantha Wickremesinghe told The Sunday Leader that his son Shehan Michael Wickremesinghe did not declare Rs. 3.1 million worth of foreign currency to Sri Lanka Customs when he arrived in the country in April this year.
A lot of people who bring money into the country for different purposes don t declare the monies. People bring cash to invest in a car or buy a land but they have a fear psychosis of declaring the monies because they think that will lead to different connotations, he said.
He brought it as pocket money, Wickremesinghe said, adding that his son had given the cash to his wife as a thank you to his parents having spent some Rs 8 million on his education in Canada.
According to family sources Shehan Wickremesinghe emigrated to Australia recently and works in marketing in a small missionary organization.
In fact, in contradiction to this statement to another Sunday newspaper last week that his two sons had given him the foreign exchange as a birthday gift, he now says he has only one son abroad.
He also claims now that the 4 million rupee wristwatch was a birthday gift from his wife and two sons. However, his second son who lives in Sri Lanka Dilshan Wickremesinghe refused to comment and said to ask his father for any details.
Dilshan Wickremesinghe is Chief Financial Officer and Managing Director of Asset Networks (Pvt.) Ltd., a company engaged in IT services in Colombo and is also facing bribery charges after UNP Provincial Councilor Shiral Lakthilaka alleged that he provided unbranded computers to the government when the contract stipulated that the computers had to be branded.
Nishantha Wickremesinghe has given the media multiple explanations. First it was money given by Sri Lankan Airlines for an official trip to China.
He then said his wife had collected the foreign currency over a period of time but had not banked it as she did not believe in banks.
The scandal broke when his house in Mount Lavinia was robbed by what the police say a drug addict who was arrested last week. The police have since then refused to divulge the amount of foreign exchange that was robbed. Initial reports however from a senior police official who did not want to be named said, US $ 11,500 and Sterling Pounds- 10,500 was stolen from Wickremesinghe s residence at De Saram Place, Mount Lavinia.
The police last week took a u-turn on the robbery of foreign currency from the house of Wickremesinghe.
Despite the police initially saying that among the items stolen from his home three weeks ago was foreign currency to the value of over Rs. 4 million, police spokesman S. P. Ajith Rohana last week told this newspaper that most of the money stolen from the house was not foreign currency.