By Marlon Dale Ferreira –
In a startling confession Lawyer Varuna Mallawaarachchi said that despite having sufficient evidence, his team of Lawyers failed to name Nuski Mohamed along with the other former big wigs of Sri Lanka Cricket such as former Minister of Sports Mahindananda Authgamage, the Dharmadasa brothers Upali and Jayantha and former Secretary Nishantha Ranatunga for acts of pertaining to abuse of power, corruption, high handed acts and several other malpractices during the last three years in their final report.
“The former Treasurer of SLC and current Committee Member of its Interim Committee Nuski Mohamed is in violation of the gazetted Sport Law No 25 of 1973 of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka (No 1793/3)” said Varuna Mallawaarachchi a member of the three man team of Lawyers that also comprised Ravi Algama and Jaliya Bodinagoda which were appointed by the former Sports Minister Navin Dissanayake to investigate and report acts of fraud, corruption and many other misdeeds committed by the former elected Executive Committee of SLC during the last three years.
“Our focus was to investigate the larger acts of fraud that was alleged to have been committed by the former Executive Committee and I really don’t know how we missed out on clubbing the name of Nuski Mohamed in our final report along with the other perpetrators. This was despite having sufficient evidence in hand” continued Lawyer Mallawaarachchi.
If there was a big fish that needed to be netted it should have been the former Treasurer of SLC Nuski Mohamed himself. Being a Director of the ‘The Cricket Shop’, he was responsible in the past of purchasing cricket goods for SLC that ran into millions of rupees from his very own sports goods store.
Further in 2013 Nuski Mohamed also went on to provide an affidavit to the Ministry of Sports stating that he was clear of any conflicting acts of interest, since he had tendered his resignation as a Director of the Sports Good store the “Cricket Shop”. This affidavit was made mandatory by the then Minister of Sports just prior to the Annual General Meeting that was to be held then. However what Nuski Mohamed did not reveal was that his replacement Director Mohamed Shiyam Mohamed was a close family member. The relationship was so close that even Mohamed Shiyam Mohamed had officially stated that he and Nuski Mohamed share the same residential address 3/16 Kynsey Road Colombo 8, as well.
With his resignation as a Director of the ‘Cricket Shop’ Nuski Mohamed went on to transfer all his shares to his wife to prove that he was clean as a whistle.
Photo – Board of Inquiry comprising Mr. Ravi Algama (Attorney-at-Law), Mr. Jaliya Bodinagoda (Attorney-at-Law), and Mr. Varuna Mallawaarachchi (Attorney-at-Law)
However stated below is the section of the Sport Law which Nuski violates still.
The Sports Law Act and clause last updated on the 15th January 2013, clearly states in section 15 – (1) that “a person shall be disqualified from being elected or otherwise to hold or continue to hold any paid or unpaid office or to hold any paid or unpaid post or to be a member of a Committee of any National Association or to be a nominee of an affiliated club or organization in a National Association if:- (i) “he is directly or indirectly involved in the manufacture, assembly, production, sale or distribution of sports goods, gear any item or equipment relating or such sport”.
Stated below here is the conclusion of what the Lawyers have documented in their final report after their so called meeting with Nuski.
The final report on Nuski Mohamed’s issue as stated by the investigating Lawyers in their final report reads “With regards to procurement’s the only seeming anomalous matter that was brought to our attention was the repeated purchase of sports equipment from a specialized sports vendor namely the Cricket Shop said to be run by the former Treasurer and ex-official secretary of the sponsorship committee. However upon being questioned by us, the person concerned Nuski Mohamed, stated that he himself had not officially been involved in the said business even though certain family members’ were involved. As such we did not pursue the matter”.
It is extremely disheartening to note that respected lawyers of the caliber of Algama, Bodinagoda and Mallawaarachchi could have displayed their sheer ignorance in not understanding and interpreting the laid down sports law as mentioned above, especially pertaining to Nuski Mohamed’s blatant violation of it.
Or were they pressurized or forced to ignore this aspect by the former Sport Minister Navin Dissanayake?
Despite this being brought to the attention of the former Sports Minister Navin Dissanayake earlier, he even brushed this aside and quizzically went on to retain and appoint the controversial former Treasurer Nuski Mohamed as a member of his appointed Interim Committee.
The Minister then said that the former elected Executive Committee of SLC was corrupt and needed to be disbanded.
However what left many bemused was that strangely Minister Dissanayake never found the former Nuski Mohamed to be corrupt when he retained him and the another alleged match fixer Jayananda Warnaweera who had been evading the ICC’s Anti-Corruption Security Unit officials since 2006.
It can be established now that the appointment of Nuski Mohamed into the Interim Committee by the former Minister of Sports Navin Dissanayake was in order to secure the Ten Sports Television deal for the recently concluded Indian Three Test tour.
Nuski’s surprise visit to Dubai prior to that Indian Series was to attend an ICC meeting. That was the ICC meeting he never attended when he was permitted to sit in only as an observer.
What he attended instead was a private meeting with Ten Sports officials in Dubai. This meeting was alleged to be the one where the Ten Sports television deal was struck. This is the same deal where SLC was underpaid compared to the secured future tours programme of the Indian 2017 tour where SLC is to gain US $ 7.5 million for the three test matches.
With the concluded three test Indian series of 2015, SLC was only paid a paltry sum of US $ 2.2 million instead, which was way below SLC’s usual marketed price.
Perhaps these are deals that need to be fully investigated.
Minister Dissanayake when questioned then went on to say that Nuski Mohamed was clean in his eyes and that he was unaware that Jayananda Warnaweera had been avoiding meeting the Anti-Corruption Security Unit officials of the ICC.
Warnaweera who was eventually cornered by ICC’s ACSU officials to finally meet in September and October 2015, went on to tender his resignation as a member of the current Interim Committee after he dodged both meetings and avoided being grilled for his alleged match fixing charges.
This only proves that Nuski Mohamed who was earlier protected by the former Sports Minister Navin Dissanayake has continued to remain protected by the very same team of lawyers appointed by Minister Dissanayake himself.
If the target of the team of lawyers was to name and shame all the crooks involved, then they should ideally have painted everyone with the same brush too.
For example with the violation of the Sports Law Act and conflict of interest displayed, there seems to be one rule for the former Secretary Nishantha Ranatunga and another for Nuski Mohamed.
It was stated in their final report that the former Secretary of SLC Nishantha Ranatunga was one of many who had been named as a person who displayed a conflict of interest, as he also held the post of CEO CSN television network when the television rights tender was offered to SLC.
On the other hand the three man committee of lawyers turned a blind eye to Nuski Mohamed who continues to violate the Sports Law in his current capacity as a committee member of the Interim Committee of SLC.
Strangely it was Nuski Mohamed who himself recommended to the Executive Committee of SLC, that the television tender deal should be awarded to CSN. Nuski was part of that particular sponsorship committee responsible for sourcing a television coverage supplier.
The minutes of that particular Ex-Co meeting which is in this writer’s possession states that when this topic was brought out by Nuski Mohamed, the former Secretary Nishantha Ranatunga had excused himself from the decision making process citing that there is a conflict of interest associated to with him as he was the current CEO of CSN.
The CSN television deal that Nuski Mohamed proposed to SLC was then agreed upon by the other Executive Committee Members barring Nishantha Ranatunga who was not present then when the final decision was taken.
All evidence was provided to lawyer Mallawaarachchi on the 4th of July 2015, regarding the conflict of interest displayed by Nuski Mohamed, such as copies of the business registration of SVA Agencies and the ‘Cricket Shop’ along with previously written articles.
It is a pity that the three man committee of Lawyers appointed by the former Sports Minister Dissanayake, had not been consistent in bringing to book all individuals concerned in their final report, rather than only targeting the officials they set out to do so from the inception of their investigation.
it now proves beyond reasonable doubt that the investigating lawyers comprising Mallawaarcchi, Bodinagoda and Algama have acted in a biased manner in completing and submitting their final report. Mind you they were paid a hefty sum of Rs 3.7 million rupees for their efforts.
The validity of their submitted final report will always remain incomplete and perhaps Nuski Mohamed’s case should now be investigated or perhaps even debated in parliament.