|Thursday, 11 March 2004|
Dhammika Ranatunga gives evidence in Thilanga Sumathipala case
by Sarath Malalasekera
Former Sri Lanka Cricket Board Chief Executive Officer Dhammika Ranatunga giving evidence in the Thilanga Sumathipala case before the Colombo Chief Magistrate and Additional District Judge Sarojini Kusala Weerawardena yesterday said that he was unable to say whether the 'Jinadasa Committee' report was released to the media.
Cross Examined by President's Counsel Gamini Marapana, Senior Counsel for Thilanga Sumathipala, Ranatunga admitted that any criticism about the Cricket Board that appeared in the newspapers would have been brought to the notice of the Cricket Board.
Ranatunga said that he is employed as an Internet Service Consultant abroad. Several documents including the Sri Lanka Cricket Board Constitution were produced earlier in court and marked as productions for the prosecution case.
Ranatunga was unable to say whether the Cricket Board approved US Dollars 1,500 to Marian Cooray or not without perusing the relevant documents. He was also unable to say whether Subash Pathmaperuma of the Account section of the Cricket Board prepared the document granting USD 1,500 to Godage.
He said he had been the Chief Executive Officer of the Sri Lanka Cricket Board for the last five years.
Further Cross examined Ranatunga said that he was unable to say whether Marian Cooray had instructed the Accounts section of the Cricket Board to pay USD 1500 allocated to him (Cooray) to Godage.
Ranatunga was shown a news item which appeared in the Daily News on February 3, 2000 by Interim Committee Chairman Rienzie Wijetilleke under the headline 'Competent people must handle the Administration of the Cricket Board'.
Ranatunga denied issuing letters to the British High Commission to obtain visas for any outsiders. He had issued letters only to the Cricket Board officials. Later shown a letter dated June 7, 1999, Ranatunga admitted that he issued letters to two outsiders to obtain visa from the British High Commission.
In 1999 two interim committees were appointed, one headed by Dulip Mendis and the other headed by Rienzie Wijetilleke.
The under-19 World cricket Cup was held in Sri Lanka. During this period Rs. 34 million was lost to the Cricket Board. Ranatunga refused to accept a suggestion by the Senior Defence Counsel that in the history of the Sri Lanka Cricket Board, this is the highest loss to the Cricket Board.
Ranatunga said that while constructing the Dambulla Cricket Stadium there had been more loses. Answering the Senior Defence Counsel, Ranatunga said that he was unable to produce any document to that effect.
Ranatunga said that he was sent on compulsory leave as he (Ranatunga) did not accept the offer made by Thilanga Sumathipala to him (Dhammika Ranatunga) to go abroad with US Dollars 500,000 and live with his family. This is an illegal act by Sumathipala, he said.
Ranatunga said that he nor his brother Arjuna or any other members of his family have any illfeelings towards Thilanga.
Ranatunga said that he had filed action against his expulsion from the Cricket Board as the CEO.
Sri Lanka Telecom Chairman and Sri Lanka Cricket President Thilanga Sumathipala is charged under the Immigration and Emigration Act, for aiding and abetting an underworld gang leader Dhammika Perera alias Dhammika Amarasinghe to travel to England to witness the World Cup Cricket in 1999 on a forged passport.
The offence had been allegedly committed between April 1, 1999 and June 15, 1999.
Earlier, Sumathipala pleaded not guilty to the charges read out to him.
Deputy Solicitor General Suhada Gamlath, Senior State Counsel Yasantha Kodagoda, Senior State Counsel Vijith Malalgoda, Senior State Counsel Priyantha Nawanna, State Counsel Amendra Seneviratne and Prosecuting Attorney Rohan Jayasundera appeared for the Attorney General with the CID.
President's Counsel Gamini Marapana, Rienzie Arasacularatne PC, Dr. Harsha Cabral, Navin Marapana, Harin Gomes, Ranjan Srikantha, Wasantha Batagoda appeared for Thilanga Sumathipala.
The proceedings were adjourned until today, March 11 - 2.15 p.m.
Produced by Lake House