Probe all frauds at SLC | Daily News


Probe all frauds at SLC

The disclosure that a massive US $ 5.5 million that was due as sponsorship money to Sri Lanka Cricket had been rerouted to an offshore company by bogus means may come as no surprise to many who had been observing the passing scene at the cash rich sports body over the years. Nay, this may well be the tip of the iceberg, with many more such questionable transactions involving Cricket Board funds hidden in the subterranean layers at Maitland Place.

According to our main story yesterday the SLC had been able to successfully thwart a fraudulent attempt to transfer US$ 5.5 million of its Media Rights Sponsorship funds, which was due from an International Media Network, to an offshore account. The fraudulent act was discovered before it was executed through bogus means, it was reported. In the wake of the detection SLC has decided to call in the FCID and a full scale audit inquiry is also to be launched into all the financial transactions of SLC during the past year.

That SLC had been mired in financial scandals since the cash started flowing in torrents to the Board's coffers following Sri Lanka's World Cup victory in 1996, is putting things mildly. There was a mad scramble by all and sundry to share in the spoils, including those who had not held a cricket bat or actors with only a nodding acquaintance of the game. Cricket Board elections were fought on the lines of the now infamous Wayamba Provincial Council election with gun toting mobs brought to the scene. A far cry from the days when Cricket Board elections went unnoticed even among the close followers of the game and when the cricket administration was in the hands of gentlemen of the calibre of Robert Senanayake, Dr. N. M. Perera and Gamini Dissanayake et al.

As mentioned, the World Cup victory put paid to that culture and instead we had vultures hovering over Maitland Place only to leave the skeleton behind as financial losses kept mounting through mismanagement and arbitrary decisions.

Be that as it may, now that an audit is to be conducted into all financial transactions at SLC over the past year, there is bound to be more financial scandals that will be unravelled involving those holding top positions at SLC. Ideally, a full audit should be carried out going into the time when Sri Lanka was one of the countries which hosted World Cup matches when the tournament was staged in the sub-continent in 2011. No doubt, the massive financial frauds that were carried out in the construction of the Hambantota Cricket Stadium are bound to come to light in such an eventuality. True, those whose names transpired in this connection are today safely ensconced in foreign climes. But at least it could shed light on the political authority involved in masterminding the operations.

The probe should also extend to include the astronomical salaries paid to selected Cricket Board staff and payments made to non-performing staff about which there were detailed reports in certain print media. There were also other irregularities in the granting of sponsorship rights that should also be looked into.

The Sri Lanka Cricket Chief Executive issuing a statement on the fraud detection says that the revelation was “highly damaging for an organisation of international repute such as the SLC”.

Well, there are some things he could do to enhance the reputation of his organisation. One such course will be, with the assistance of the minister, to ensure that the upcoming Cricket Board elections will be a free and fair one and appear to be free and fair in the eyes of the cricket loving public, where no horse trading is suspected. For the first time ever in any part of the world where cricket is being played, the governing body of the gentleman's game in this country was mired in litigation due to the shenanigans of those at the helm of affairs. A repeat should be avoided at all costs if the reputation of SLC, so coveted by the CEO, is to remain intact.

Vitharana's invite to Viggy

Professor Tissa Vitharana, the veteran Samasamajist and nephew of LSSP stalwart the late Dr. N.M. Perera has invited Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Vigneswaran to join his party. This is following the rift that had developed between the Chief Minister and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) that is now played out in the open. Addressing the media at the N.M. Perera Memorial Centre in Borella, Prof. Vitharana said if the TNA does not want a politician of Vigneswaran's calibre the LSSP would welcome him to its fold.

It is not clear what Viggy's response would be to the overture of the octogenarian politician. But there are reasons why the offer would be turned down. With the decimation of the LSSP, and, indeed, the entire Left in the 1977 UNP avalanche, the LSSP and the CP are today reduced to mere name boards. Vigneswaran, who, on the other hand, has tasted electoral success will not want to cast himself into the forgotten things of history which the LSSP has been consigned to today.

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