COPE Exposes More Irregularities at SLC
By Gagani Weerakoon and Methmalie Dissanayake
It was exposed at the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) that although Rs132 million was spent for the construction of a National Cricket Stadium and a Multi-Sports Complex in the Hingurakgoda area in Polonnaruwa, a title deed for the land has not yet been obtained.
Furthermore, Rs 30 million has been spent to take legal action against the former head coach of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) Chandika Hathurusinghe due to the shortcomings in his agreement.
The Committee also paid special attention to the continuation of construction advances of Rs 7.7 million given to Cricket Association in years 2007, 2008, 2016 and 2017 and match advances of Rs 10.2 million from 2015 to 2019 without settlement.
The COPE meeting convened to examine the Auditor General's report and SLCs current performance for the financial years 2017 and 2018. COPE Chairman Dr. Charitha Herath, Ministers Mahinda Amaraweera, Mahindananda Aluthgamage, State Minister D.V. Chanaka, MPs Patali Champika Ranawaka, Eran Wickramaratne, S.M. Marikkar, Nalin Bandara, Premanath C. Dolawatta, S. Rasamanikkam were present at the meeting
The Committee pointed out that 123 out of the 162 approved cadre of Sri Lanka Cricket are contract positions which are a serious question. The Committee also pointed out that the posts of Head of Finance, Legal Officer, Information Technology Officer and Internal Auditor should be permanent positions
Furthermore, Secretary to the Ministry of Sports Anuradha Wijekoon was instructed to take legal action if any of the former members of the SLC Executive Committee are found guilty.
Dr. Herath further stated that the assistance of the Attorney General could be obtained for this purpose.
The Committee also recommended that the procurement process of Sri Lanka Cricket be streamlined and that a proper system be introduced to streamline it.
It was also discussed at the committee that the intervention of the Director General of Sports should be at a higher level than the current situation.
The Committee also recommended that Sri Lanka Cricket should develop a proper format for disbursing funds to Cricket Associations.
The Ministry of Sports and the Sri Lanka Cricket were instructed to take immediate action to amend the Sports Act expeditiously.
Dr. Herath pointed out that the reason for the massive collapse of cricket in the country was not the fault of the players but the weaknesses of the cricket administration.
The Committee questioned the non-recovery of Rs 29 million in revenue due for sponsorship of the South Africa-Sri Lanka Cricket tour in 2018 and the Executive Officer of SLC Ashley de Silva informed the Committee CID has commenced an investigation into the matter. It was exposed at the meeting that the money had been deposited in the account of an American named ‘Diamond Channel’ and that investigations were focused on how it happened.
Dr. Herath instructed Secretary Wijekoon to conduct an inquiry and submit its report to the Committee within three months.
The Committee was of the view that a number of such issues have arisen in SLC due to the non-implementation of the Procurement Guidelines and that the institution should operate within an accepted framework.
Officials from the Ministry of Sports as well as officials from Sri Lanka Cricket were present at the meeting.
Although several former officials of the Sri Lanka Cricket Executive Committee were present at the Parliament premises to attend the meeting, they were not allowed to take part due to the expiration of their tenures on the previous day.