The Sunday Leader

SLT Chairman’s Attempt To Dial High Thwarted

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by Nirmala Kannangara

Kumarasinghe’s letter to Mobitel seeking a salary hike

Startling revelations have now come to light as to how the Chairman of Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) PLC and Mobitel (Pvt) Ltd  allegedly attempted to get a threefold salary increment, soon after assuming duties in January this year, although the initial proposal was rejected by the Board Members.

The Sunday Leader’s expose below is written with the best interest of the general public at heart.

P. G. Kumarasinghe Sirisena, brother of President Maithripala Sirisena was appointed Chairman of SLTand Mobitel (Pvt) Ltd in January this year. However, a few weeks after assuming duties, Kumaraisnghe Sirisena had allegedly presented a proposal to the Board of Directors of SLT and Mobitel Remuneration and Nomination Committees, seeking board approval to revise the remuneration of Board Members.

When Kumarasinghe Sirisena was appointed Chairman SLT and Mobitel, he had allegedly received two salaries from both institutions each reportedly amounting to a gross salary of Rs. 444,444 and after the applicable taxes, the net salary came to Rs.400,000. Notwithstanding to what he was receiving from both institutions which amounted to Rs.800,000 per month together with all other perks, Kumarasinghe Sirisena had allegedly gone to the extent of making a request to get his and other board members salaries increased by three folds and on the second attempt tried to get it increased at least by 100% to which the Sri Lankan and Malaysian Board Members had objected and rejected the proposal.

According to statistics, although Kumarasinghe as the Chairman had received Rs. 400,000 each from the two institutions  per month, the other board members had received only Rs. 40,000 per month. “The gap between the Chairman’s and the Directors salaries is 10% and had the requested salary increments were approved the Chairman would have received Rs.1.2 million and the board directors Rs. 120,000,” reliable SLT sources told on grounds of anonymity.

 

Three-fold

The Sunday Leader is in possession of documents to prove how Kumarasinghe had allegedly attempted to get his salary and that of the other board members increased by three fold, stating that he has undertaken  responsibility of full-time basis for the position of the Chairman while sacrificing a permanent employment opportunity in the state sector in the capacity of Chief Executive Officer (CEO)/General Manager while having worked as a dedicated government servant for 30 years.

SLT sources queried as to why Kumarasinghe had sacrificed a lucrative job in the state sector and joined the SLT as its Chairman if he had thought the former job is better than his current occupation. “Has he received a big salary in the state sector like what he is getting at SLT now? He is now entitled to a monthly remuneration of Rs.800,000 from SLT and Mobitel. If this request was granted by the board of directors of SLT and Mobitel would he have enjoyed a monthly salary of Rs.2.4 million?” sources queried.

According to sources, at a time the salaries of the SLT and its eight other subsidiary venture employees are increased only from five to ten percent.

“There were times our previous board of directors got their salaries increased by a higher margin but to get the salary increased by 300% is unbelievable. The Chairman in his proposal stated that he needs a salary increment as he oversees SLT operations on a full-time basis and sometimes even during weekends as he is involved in business and regulatory related discussions and negotiations. Not only the chairman, but all other employees also work full-time and not on free-lance basis. It is the Chairman’s duty to oversee the entire SLT operations and to hold discussions even on weekends. If the SLT chairman seeks a threefold salary increment for working long hours when he was getting an enormous Rs.800,000 from public money, then how much of a salary increase does a specialist doctor in this country or even an intern doctor who works round the clock saving the lives of patients would need to demand. Kumarasinghe knows that this is the high time he can earn money for a better tomorrow,” sources alleged.

 

Reasons

Be that as it may, in the proposal made on March 30, 2015, to the Board of Directors, SLT Remuneration and Nomination Committee by the Chairman SLT in order to get the Board Members remuneration revised, Kumarasinghe giving reasons for seeking a salary increment has stated as thus, However due to the following reasons, it is now requested to consider a review of the present remuneration structure entitled to the Chairman and other board members of SLT, its subsidiaries and director board members of the respective sub committees.

“The above proposal was brought to the remuneration committee meeting held on February 24, 2015, and accordingly the committee has recommended that a survey has to be carried out to benchmark the fees to a non-executive Chairman in the other listed companies and to report back to the committee for the final decision to be considered.

“However, it has been revealed that it is not realistic to benchmark the remuneration paid to the chairman of SLT with the other companies due to the following reasons-

(A)It is difficult to select other listed companies which are in the similar nature/ structure of SLT nature in operation. Though SLT is a listed company, SLT is also operated under different government agencies and boards.

(B) SLT operates in an environment where over 30 trade unions are  not active, therefore one of the SLT Chairman’s main roles would be to deal with them for industrial peace

(C) Role of the current chairman is unique when compared to the previous chairman’s roles

“According to the administrative and management models that are adapted by the Chairman, he oversees the operation of SLT on a  full-time basis and sometime even during the weekends as he is involved in business and regulatory related discussions and negotiations. Remuneration structures of both private and public sectors in the country have been changed considerably since 2007 due to the inflation, micro/macro- economic conditions, statutory directions, global trends and industry benchmarks with completion etc.”

He has also stated that he has foregone permanent employment in the state sector from the capacity of CEO/ General Manager to take over the responsibility as the Chairman SLT. The letter further states thus, “In view of the foregoing, I would be greatly appreciated if you could consider to revise the present remuneration of the Chairman and all the other director board members of SLT preferably an amount in the range of around three times of what is paid presently. Also it is proposed to pay all director board members of SLT subsidiaries and all director board members of the respective sub-committees with an amount equivalent to 50% of their fees after the proposed revision. Kumarasinghe Sirisena, Chairman Sri Lanka Telecom PLC”.

Kumarasinghe meanwhile has indicated indirectly as to how important he is to SLT as its Chairman claiming he could make use of his personal and all other relationships with the Urban Development Authority,  Sri Lanka Railways, National water Supply and Drainage Board, Board of Investment, Ceylon Electricity Board and Lanka Electricity Company to resolve issues related to SLT matters.

In a similar letter to the Chairman Remuneration and Nomination Committee of Mobitel, Kumarsinghe Sirisena in his capacity of Mobitel Chairman on April 2, 2015 had allegedly sent a proposal seeking a restructure of the remuneration for Mobitel board members.

According to the letter to Mobitel, Kumarasinghe had proposed two options – first option was to increase the salary by two fold and the second option by two and a half fold. According to the proposed structure table, when his net basic salary is increased by two folds it becomes Rs. 800,000 and if increased by two and a half fold it increases up to Rs 01 million. However, other Mobitel board members’ salaries reach Rs. 100,000 only if they get a threefold increment. If the salaries of the Audit Board Sub Committee members are increased by threefold, still their salaries are a mere Rs. 55,000 per month.

Meanwhile, Kumarasinghe had allegedly requested the Mobitel Remuneration and Nomination Committee to consider the deduction of payee tax from his salary to be borne by Mobitel.

The letter to Mobitel further states as thus, “It is noteworthy to mentioned that there are number of strategically important issues to be solved which needs urgent attention of the board. Matters with the Ministry of Finance, regulatory commission, Information Communication Technology Authority of Sri Lanka (ICTA) are amongst the top of the list. Hence I believe that the present Chairman and the Board could make use of their personal and all other relationship with the respective agencies/ authorities which could help Mobitel to resolve such issues mentioned above and other issues in most effective manner to achieve a higher performance level of Mobitel as a Team. I would be greatly appreciated if you could consider to revise the present remuneration of the Chairman Mobitel and all other board members of Mobitel and all members of the director boards of the respective subcommittees as per the proposal. Kumarasinghe Sirisena, Chairman Mobitel (Pvt) Ltd”.

“Although we can meet Chairman Kumarasinghe Sirisena, none of the promises he has given have been fulfilled over the past 11 months. We were very disappointed when we got the letters the Chairman has sent to the remuneration and nomination committees seeking salary hikes. When we came to know the Chairman’s attempt to get his salary increased we gave a letter to the President in this regard in April, but so far the President has not replied us. Although these politicians promises to clean the society and to put a stop to nepotism and corruption, once they come into power they forget their promises but walks on the same path their predecessors took,” sources claimed.

All attempts to contact Chairman Kumarasinghe Sirisena over his mobile phone for a comment failed as he did not answer the calls. A text message was then forwarded to him requesting for a comment but Kumarasinghe did not return the call nor send a message until the newspaper went for publication.

 

4 Comments for “SLT Chairman’s Attempt To Dial High Thwarted”

  1. Polished

    What a bloody shame from current president, trying to become like MR

  2. Politicians are the most untrustworthy people in Sri Lanka. This type of nepotism is not known in real Democratic Countries . We were happy to get rid of a big monster but the one who took over is no better. ” Blood is thicker than Water ” . If the President is a honest person he should REMOVE his brother from his present post as CHAIRMAN MOBITEL if not he is going down the drain, his days will be numbered as he has earned enough unpopularity already.

  3. suren

    This Kumarasingha Sirisena is not worth rupees ten thousand a month. Recently I was in his office for 2.5 hrs to meet him and had to return empty handed! This kind of utter rotters should be kicked out for ever,if Sri Lanka is to attain economic stability. He will ruin Already ruined SLT, for sure. Thanks to buffaloes in Politics!

    • Daya

      It used to be said that he was qualified for the job, and I had left it at that. However, aren’t there others equally or more qualified, AND

      Now, FIRSTLY, I wonder if the experience that he has had in The Timber Corporation, where littlehas changed in that area of activity over the centuries, is relevant to the fast changing world of Information Technology.

      SECONDLY, his brother Maithripala expresses himself eloquently in Sinhalese, and leaves the use of English to those who he feels can use it well. He may have felt that Kumarasinghe Sirisena was one such. If we are to judge by what Kumarasinghe has written, he appears to have a great opinion of himself, but cannot really express himself in the language, and may not even be aware of his shortcomings in that respect!

      More on this here:

      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/expose-president-sirisena-resorts-to-half-truths-to-conceal-his-brothers-greed/

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