By Saman Indrajith
Members of the Parliamentary watchdog committee- COPE (Committee on Public Enterprises) severely reprimanded the officials of the scandal-ridden Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) yesterday for their irresponsible attitudes and manner of handling finances.
The Sri Lanka Cricket officials were reprimanded at a probe conducted by the COPE at the parliamentary complex yesterday where it had been found that officials had not come there prepared with documents necessary for the audit, parliament sources said.
The COPE investigation lasted for around one and half hours when its members decided to suspend the probe abruptly and ordered the officials to appear before the committee for its investigation in a month’s time, Chairman of the COPE Prof Charitha Herath said.
The Officials had been summoned to investigate the issues arising from the Audit Reports and Performance Reports pertaining to the financial years 2017 and 2018. Though the COPE had informed the officials to be present ready with documents, they came there empty handed, sources said.
Yesterday’s meeting presided by Prof Hearth comprised of COPE members Ministers Mahinda Amaraweera, Mahindananda Aluthgamage, State Ministers Indika Anuruddha, Ajith Nivard Cabraal, Nalaka Godahewa and MPs Patali Champika Ranawaka, Jagath Pushpakumara, Eran Wickremaratne, Premanath C Dolawatte and S Rasamanickkam.
Prof Herath said that there was no financial discipline in Sri Lanka Cricket administration. The informal manner of financial administration had resulted in chaos and many other problems of the institution, Prof Herath said adding that people have expressed their displeasure on the conduct of the cricket governing body as well as the subsequent losses of the national team in recent matches. The officials should understand that Sri Lanka Cricket is not a property of some of them but belongs to the public.
The COPE members found fault with Sri Lanka Cricket officials for not submitting for audit documents pertaining to contracts and other deals running over Rs 240 million in the year 2017. The officials could not produce those documents at yesterday’s investigation too, parliament sources said.
The COPE members also observed that the officials failed to submit for audit documents for various incomplete projects worth Rs 511 million as at the end of 2020.
COPE members questioned officials for not collecting a Rs 29 million television rights fee for the South Africa-Sri Lanka series in 2018. SLC head Shammi Silva said that there was a CID investigation in progress on the matter. It was revealed during yesterday’s probe that the aforementioned fee had been remitted on a personal bank account of an American national of the name of Diamond Chanel. The COPE members demanded to know from officials as to how such remittance could be made, yet the officials could not respond to the investigators’ satisfaction, sources said adding that COPE Chairman Prof Hearth instructed Secretary to the Ministry of Youth and Sports Anuradha Wijekoon to conduct a separate investigation on the matter and submit a report to the COPE within a month.
COPE members pointed out that the service contract of recruiting Chandika Hathurusinghe as the head coach of the Sri Lanka Cricket team was full of errors and now Haturusinghe has moved court against the unjust meted out to him. Officials in response said that Haturusinghe had a three year contract period but he had to be removed prematurely because he could not deliver the expected results. It was also revealed that Sri Lanka Cricket had to pay 20 million rupees up to yesterday as legal fee for lawyers to attend to the legal action filed by Haturusinghe.
The COPE members censured Sri Lanka Cricket officials for their failure to submit its annual reports for several years. The committee ordered the Secretary to the Ministry of Youth and Sports to submit those annual reports immediately, sources said.
Murali hospitalised for cardiac treatment
Muralitharan was at the Chepauk when Sunrisers played Mumbai Indians on Saturday, incidentally his 49 birthday. © BCCI/IPL
Sri Lankan cricket legend Muttiah Muralitharan, who is part of the Sunrisers Hyderabad support staff in the ongoing IPL, has undergone an angioplasty in Madras.
It was reported that the champion off-spinner “had a stent fitted to unblock an artery, and will rejoin Sunrisers Hyderabad when discharged.
He has been the bowling coach and mentor of Sunrisers Hyderabad since 2015. His team has suffered three losses in a row this season.
Dilhara Lokuhettige gets eight-year ban for corruption
Dilhara Lokuhettige had been slapped with corruption charges in April 2019
“The severity of the sanction reflects the seriousness of his offences and his continued refusal to cooperate”
Dilhara Lokuhettige, the former Sri Lanka allrounder, has been banned from all cricket for eight years by the ICC anti-corruption tribunal after being found guilty of breaching the ICC’s anti-corruption code on three counts.
Lokuhettige had been slapped with corruption charges in April 2019, five months after the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) had also charged him. The charges relate to the 2017 T10 tournament played in the UAE, which is why the ECB had been first to lay charges.
In January this year, the tribunal found Lokuhettige guilty of:
Article 2.1.1 – for being party to an agreement or effort to fix or contrive or otherwise influence improperly the result, progress, conduct or other aspect(s) of a match.
Article 2.1.4 – directly or indirectly soliciting, inducing, enticing, instructing, persuading, encouraging or intentionally facilitating any participant to breach code article 2.1.
Article 2.4.4 – failing to disclose to the ACU full details of any approaches or invitations received to engage in corrupt conduct under the code.
“Having represented Sri Lanka in international cricket, Dilhara had attended a number of anti-corruption education sessions and would have known his actions were a breach of the Code,” Alex Marshall, the ICC general manager – anti corruption, said. “The severity of the sanction reflects the seriousness of his offences and his continued refusal to cooperate and should serve as a deterrent for anyone considering getting involved in corruption of any kind.”
An Al Jazeera documentary on cricket corruption in Sri Lanka had initially raised concerns about Lokuhettige. In that, Lokuhettige was seen to be in the room when another former Sri Lanka cricketer was talking to an alleged corruptor, as well as an Al Jazeera journalist posing as a prospective bettor.
Former Sri Lanka seamer Nuwan Zoysa was also found guilty of three corruption-related offences to do with that T10 tournament in November last year. Zoysa has since denied any wrongdoing.
Zoysa and Lokuhettige are the third and fourth former Sri Lanka players to be charged with corruption. Sanath Jayasuriya was the most high-profile cricketer to cop charges, and has served out a two-year suspension from the game, while former offspinner and sometime Galle curator Jayananda Warnaweera was the first to be charged with corruption by the ICC.
As Lokuhettige has been living in Australia and held no positions with Sri Lankan cricket, he has not faced a sanctions from the SLC so far.
He played 11 white-ball internationals for Sri Lanka, picking up eight wickets to go with 101 runs with the bat. His last competitive game was a first-class fixture for Moors Sports Club in February 2016.
Royal, Trinity march into semis as Ahan continues top form
Royal College marched into the semi-finals of the Under-19 Division I Tier ‘A’ tournament with a convincing six wickets victory over Nalanda as they stopped the team inclusive of at least two leading players of the tournament at the quarter-final hurdle on Monday.
Chasing 190 runs to win, the tournament’s leading batsman Ahan Wickramasinghe scored an unbeaten 71 runs for Royal to seal the semi-final place with 11 overs to spare. Dasis Manchanayake who took three Nalanda wickets also chipped in with 22 runs.
Wickramasinghe has scored over 400 runs now in six matches. Raveen de Silva who scored an unbeaten half century and Vinuja Ranpul who chipped in with 22 runs for Nalanda are the tournament’s second and third highest run scorers. .
In the other Tier ‘A’ quarter-final played on Monday, Trinity beat St. Sebastian’s, Moratuwa by seven wickets to book their semi-final place.
While Royal meet the winners of the match between St. Anthony’s, Katugastota and Mahanama, Colombo in the semi-final, Trinity will encounter the winners of the quarter-final between Richmond and St. Joseph’s.
In the Division II Tier ‘A’ tournament, Lyceum International School, Wattala continued their impressive run as they edged out Rahula College, Matara in the quarter-final.
Division I Tier A
Royal beat Nalanda at Mount Lavinia
189 for 7 in 50 overs (Rashan Dissanayake 30, Nadil Jayakody 32, Vinuja Ranpul 22, Raveen de Silva 59n.o.; Dasis Manchanayake 3/17)
191 for 4 in 39 overs (Sineh Jayawardena 60, Isiwara Dissanayake 21, Ahan Wickramasinghe 71n.o., Dasis Manchanayake 22; Dineth Samaraweera 2/32)
Trinity beat St. Sebastian’s at Reid Avenue
131 all out in 43.2 overs (Yashan Avishka 51, Savindu Rodrigo 30; Dinuka Thennakoon 4/23, Abishek Anandakumar 3/37)
133 for 3 in 30.1 overs (Thevin Amarasinghe 39, Umair Raizan 60, Pawan Pathiraja 21n.o.; Sadeesh Fernando 3/39)
Division II Tier ‘A’
Lyceum beat Rahula at Darley Road
148 all out in 42.1 overs (Gamitha Pawan 61, Jaron Fernando 20, Theekshana Shehan 26; Binura Sanketh 2/17, Sandew Rithmaka 3/27)
117 all out in 42.2 overs (Tharindu Rajapaksha 52, Binura Sanketh 24; Mohammed Rifnaz 2/23, Mithush Lakshman 3/14)
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