The meeting that took place between Minister of Sports Navin Dissanayake‘s and Sri Lanka Cricket’s stake holders ended in a stale mate with the Minister insisting that he wants his Interim Committee to continue running SLC until January 2016 and the Stake Holders opposing it, said Upali Dharmadasa a former President of SLC who attended the meeting yesterday.
A press release sent out by the group of stake holders who attended the meeting reads as follows:
As per our meeting held with the stake holders on 25th April where a mandate was given to the outgoing Executive committee by them to take appropriate action for denying our legitimate rights to elect office bearers of our choice and the subsequent appointment of an Interim committee we write to inform you that following our letter dated 27th April 2015, We were invited for a meeting by the Hon Minister and the following former office bearers namely Mr Upali Dharmadasa, Mr Mohan De Silva, Mr Asanga Senavirathna, Mr Nishantha Ranatunga, Mr Hirantha Perera and Mr Ajith Pasquel represented the stake holders today (12th May 2015 at 2pm at the sports ministry).
At the very outset we informed the minister of our displeasure of the sudden cancellation of the AGM of Sri Lanka Cricket and the subsequent appointment of the interim committee.It was also informed by the delegation the dangers and the possible repercussions that may arise from unjustifiable political interference as per the new ICC Governance regulations introduced in 2012.
The delegation also brought to the notice of the Hon Minister about the unjust accusations leveled against the outgoing executive committee which had been given wide publicity tarnishing the image of the cricket board officials as well as srilanka cricket in general as an institution. Further it was pointed out to the Hon Minister that the appointment of the two former executive committee members Mr Nuski Mohamed ( Former Treasurer) and Mr Jayananda Warnaweera was certainly not acceptable to us in view of the fact that the out going committee had been labeled as corrupt and their eligibility to serve were questionable as highlighted in the media recently.
The delegation also enlightened the Hon Minister of the steps taken to encourage corporate governance by introducing systems and proper structures which paved the way to accomplish the unprecedented achievements SLC was able to record during the past two years such as wining the T 20 WC 2014 , Asia Cup 2014, wining a series in England, leading in the ICC T20 rankings and improving in the other two formats of the game.We also pointed out that revenue had increased substantially and that we were confident of settling our debts by year end.
The discussion’s were also centered on the current situation of SLC and the delegation was of the view that non renewal of player contracts and reduction in the number of contracted players could be detrimental to the progress of the game. And it was also pointed out the holding back of funds by SLC that are due to the stake holders ( ground fees and admin grants etc…) was also causing a great hindrance to the administration of the respective stake holders . It was encouraging to note that the Hon Minister took steps to request the secretary of SLC IC Mr Prakash Schafter to immediate rectify this situation.
According to the Hon Minister of sports what had prompted him to revoke his earlier decision to cancel the AGM and appoint an Interim Committee was mainly because of the interpretation given by the Hon Attorney General with regard to the regulations restricting the office bearers for a maximum period of 4 years and the complaints made by Hon member of parliament Sunil Hadunhettige to the bribery commission and by Trevor Nugawela (former sacked employee of the SLC ) to the CID with purported allegations of corruption.
Hon Minister also informed the delegation that he had informed the ICC officials that he would have discussions with the stake holders to resolve this issue amicably as he had wanted time till January next year to have the elections.
The delegation however insisted that the Hon Minister should expedite the so called investigations in order to hold the elections as early as possible and promised to revert back to the Hon Minister after discussing with the stake holders about his request.
All in all the discussions were cordial and the delegation and the Hon. Minister agreed to support each other for the larger interest of the game and the Country.
Mr Upali Dharmadasa, Mr Mohan De Silva, Mr Asanga Senavirathna, Mr Nishantha Ranatunga, Mr Hirantha Perera and Mr Ajith Pasquel – SLC Office Bearers 2013/15- On Behalf Of SLC Stake Holders.
Minister Dissanayake who when contacted by Colombo Telegraph requested all questions to be emailed to him. However an email and a subsequent reminder sent to him seeking clarification regarding his controversial appointing of Interim Committee Members, Nuski Mohamed and Jayananda Warnaweera, was yet to be answered.
It is noted that some of the others that make up the Sports Minister’s appointed Interim Committee also raises doubts about their appointments. President Sidath Wettimuny, Vice President Kapila Wijegunawardena and Secretary Prakash Schaffter spring to mind.
The appointed President of the Interim Committee Sidath Wettimuny who has never played an active role in the sport that gave him so much, went on to publish a glowing tribute about the Minister Navin’s father the late Gamini Dissanayake in a Sunday Newspaper recently. He was subsequently rewarded with the post of President Interim Committee by Minister Navin Dissanayake shortly thereafter.
President Kapila Wijegunawardena has certainly had the ‘yahapalanaya’ plan blooming in his favour. Despite many questions been raised about his professional exit from his former work place of many years, his very own leadership qualities have also been of a quizzical nature.
Further with just two test matches to his name Minister Dissanayake went on to also appoint Wijegunawardena as the Chairman of Selectors of the national side”.
“The current Secretary of Interim Committee Prakash Schaffter had on the 1st of October 2014 submitted a letter to the Executive Committee of the Tamil Union Cricket and Athletic Club informing them of his inability to continue his duties in the EXCO due to work commitments. However a few months later he did manage to find time to accept the Minister of Sport’s offer as Secretary of the Interim committee where a bigger commitment is required to fulfill that role” said a member of the Tamil Union Cricket and Athletic Club.
It was confirmed that Schaffter had also visited Dubai last week along with Minister Dissanayake, Wettimuny and Nuski Mohamed.
However only the Minister attended the meeting with ICC officials whilst the others had traveled to and fro.
“The seriousness of these happenings taking place at SLC is been closely monitored by the International Cricket Council who made it very clear that they do not wish political interference’s taking place within the body of one of their members. As it stands monies allocated for SLC is now banked in an escrow account as the ICC has made it clear they are not pleased with SLC being run by government appointed Interim Committees” said Dharmadasa a one time President of SLC.
Unconfirmed reports revealed that the Interim Committee has obtained a Rs 600 million overdraft at a phenomenal monthly interest rate of Rs 7 million last week. When Dharmadasa was contacted regarding this he went on to say ” we made it very clear to the Interim Committee when we met them whilst representing the stake holders last week. We informed the Interim Committee that we will not take upon any financial liabilities incurred by them during the period of their appointment. The responsibility of obtaining over drafts from banks such as Bank of Ceylon is entirely the Minister Dissanayake and Interim Committee individual responsibility, as they are not an Executive Committee who has been elected by the stake holders of SLC which falls under the ICC’s governance” concluded Dharmadasa.