Former SLC Presidents highlight corruption at Sri Lanka Cricket

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC)

In a letter to Sports Minister Faizer Mustapaha, seven former Presidents of Sri Lanka Cricket had highlighted several alleged corrupt practice during the two year tenure of Thilanga Sumathipala as President of SLC.

Sumathipala was seeking re-election at the SLC AGM scheduled for 31st May, but a court ruling delayed the elections. The Attorney General is supposed to inform the Appeal Court a road map to the cricket elections on the 4th July. Legal experts believe that it will take at least three more months before the elections could be held.

One of the key points mentioned in the letter is how Rs. 3.9 million was passed to Colombo Cricket Club, whose President Shammi Silva was also the Treasurer of SLC. The letter alleges that although the money was passed to development and upgrading of the venue’s facilities for a practice match against Australia in 2016, such match didn’t take place.

Responding to the allegation Silva said that the original itinerary included a game against Australia but was taken out on the request of the visiting cricket team. He added that all accounts had been audited.

The letter further alleges that the contract of retired SSP Lakshman de Silva, the Anti Corruption Manager of SLC was terminated after the Sumathipala administration took office and a school day contemporary of Sumathipala and Shammi Silva had been appointed to the post.

The former Presidents also question the appointment of Godfrey Dabare, a Sumathipala loyalist as International Venues Manager. “He was appointed without any qualifications. Furthermore, the Galle Curator who was caught on a sting operation conducted by Al Jazeera Network promising to doctor the pitch would not have done without official sanction from Godfrey Dabare.”

The former Presidents also accuse the office bearers of misuse of funds. They claim that Rs. 150 million were dispensed to clubs and associations considered favourable towards the current administration, to obtain their loyalty and thereby their votes at election times.

The letter further points out at the darkest moment of Thilanga’s tenure – the domestic match fixing incident between Kalutara PCC and Panadura SC. Prominent members of both clubs were members of the Ex-CO and the findings by an independent inquiry were swept under the carpet.

The national cricket team hit new lows in the last two years. Sri Lanka suffered three 5-0 cleansweeps in ODI cricket at the hands of South Africa, India and Pakistan. The team was also whitewashed 3-0 in Tests by South Africa and India.

During that period, Sri Lanka lost a first ever ODI series to Zimbabwe apart from losing a first ever Test match to Bangladesh. More recently, the team failed to reach the finals of the Nidahas Trophy involving India and Bangladesh. The T20 tournament was conducted to celebrate Sri Lanka’s 70th year independence.

The administrators appeal to the Sports Minister to appoint an Interim Committee to run the affairs of SLC and bring in much needed amendments to the Constitution of SLC.

The letter had been signed by former SLC Presidents – Jayantha Dharmadasa, Rienzie T. Wijetilleke, Sidath Wettimuny, Upali Dharmadasa, Ana Punchihewa, Arjuna Ranatunga and Vijaya Malalasekara.

Currently, the affairs of SLC are run by a Sports Ministry appointed Competent Authority.

(Source: The Island)