COPE summons Sri Lanka Cricket
Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) was yesterday summoned by the parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) following allegations of match fixing and financial misappropriation.
COPE Chairman and Senior Minister D.E.W. Gunasekara said the summons followed the series of shocking exposures in the media, especially in the Daily Mirror.
According to a Daily Mirror report, SLC is alleged to have lost more than Rs.2 billion since the present interim committee headed by D.S. De Silva took over the administration.
“We have asked the SLC to appear before COPE and answer allegations of discrepancies in its accounts, misappropriation of funds and other irregularities. The Auditor General has been asked to make available to COPE all documents pertaining to SLC transactions and payments,” Minister Gunasekara said.
“We have asked the SLC to appear before COPE and answer allegations of discrepancies in its accounts, misappropriation of funds and other irregularities. The Auditor General has been asked to make available to COPE all documents pertaining to SLC transactions and payments,” Minister Gunasekara said. “This is the first time COPE has summoned the SLC for an inquiry. The impression in the past was that COPE had no power to probe SLC activities but our legal advisors have said COPE has constitutional power to investigate the SLC,” Minister Gunasekara said.
The Daily Mirror exposed the SLC in a news item headlined, ‘Cricket officials get Rs.12 million in pocket change’ on its sports page of December 27 last year.
The report said a whopping Rs.12 million had been spent by SLC officials by way of allowances on foreign tours in 2009.
According to the news item most of the queries raised by the AG in the 2009 SLC accounts had gone unanswered and cricket officials have little or no clue on how to answer them. SLC Officials had visited foreign countries on official matters and a sum of Rs.11,958,217 had been paid to them by SLC excluding the payments of ICC/ACC during the year as foreign travel expenses.
“The payment of allowances for the officials had been made based on the number of days approved for the relevant overseas visit by SLC without considering the actual number of days required to stay abroad,” the AG observed.
“The cost of foreign travel could not be satisfactorily vouched or scrutinized to verify the economy of the transactions due to the absence of the following documents although requested,” the Daily Mirror reported.
It said the SLC had not furnished the travel itinerary, official invitations, embarkation and disembarkation records, quotations, reports relating to the benefits for SLC on the tours if any and other related documents.
Air fare for these travels had cost in excess of Rs.4,000,000 and the documents AG had wanted to justify it include invitations, copies of the air tickets and passports, ICC approval, ICC approval for additional expenses and quotations for air fare. SLC security consultant Lawrence Fernando had spent more than Rs.1.3 million as foreign travel allowances during 2009 but has failed to produce relevant reports to the AG, who had called for them.
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