Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation Arjuna Ranatunga requested the Speaker to appoint a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to probe alleged corruption charges against the Sri Lanka Cricket Board (SLCB).
Speaking in the Parliament yesterday (31) the minister said that the present condition of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has worsened as Sri Lanka has gone down in ICC rankings from a time where we were always among the top three.
The former captain who led Sri Lanka to be World Cup champions in 1996 said former leaders and sports minister of the country had good plans and intentions in developing cricket from the time Sri Lanka qualified as a Test-playing nation in 1981.
“But the downfall of SLC began after the 1996 world as good people left cricket and gambling businesses raised their heads in cricket,” Ranatunga said.
Further, he said that even the former president of SLCB Thilanga Sumathipala accepted in the parliament that his father and brother are involved in the gambling business.
“But the sports law in this country clearly says an individual cannot hold any position in a sports institute if he/she is directly or indirectly involved in the gambling business,” Ranatunge pointed out.
The former all-rounder said that sports ministers like S.B. Dissanayake, Jeewan Kumaranatunga and Lakshman Kiriella appointed interim committees to save cricket from the gambling business and as a result of that Sri Lanka won the 20-20 world cup in 2014.
“The dysfunctional state of SLC is clear as in the past four years the team has had seven captains and four coaches,” he added.
Former sports minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage brought a rule saying that only a qualified accountant can be appointed as the treasurer of a sports institute, this was specially brought forward as SLCB receives income in millions.
“But the next minister changed this rule, so now even an accounts clerk can be the treasurer,” he added.
Further, the minister said that SLCB had defrauded the money paid by the Sony network to the SLCB for the broadcasting rights for the recent England and South Africa tour by Sri Lanka.
He said for the England tour Sony had paid USD 5.5 million (Rs. 890 million) to SLCB but the Financial Operation Manager of the SLCB had instructed Sony through his official address to deposit the money to a personal account in Hong-Kong which belongs to Chinese sole trader business but the money was withdrawn the same day and the account was closed.
Later SLCB said that their server was hacked when questions raised about what happened to the money, but Microsoft confirmed that the server was not hacked by any means.
The same issue happened in the South Africa tour where an amount equal to Rs. 32 million was asked to be deposited in an account in the United States.