COPE of Parliament to commence SLC Frauds, Corruption from today, Top Officials, ExCo members Summoned

Written by N Krishnamurthy

The committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) of parliament will commence investigating the frauds and corruptions of Sri Lanka Cricket Board (SLC) from today (September 3). The investigation is scheduled to begin at 2 PM.

The COPE secratary has instructed SLC to send almost all its too officials for the investigation.

Cricket Age learns that SLC secretary Mohan De Silva, CEO Ashley De Silva (who is one of the prime suspect), Manager Legal Chaalaka Silva, accountant Kamalika Jayasekara, accountant Mahesh Bopegamage have been particularly summoned for the investigation. In addition, all the Executive Committee (ExCo) members have also been summoned.

The much talked about SLC forensic audit report will be the main source of the investigation. Few weeks ago, Cricket Age had published that the report contains many explosive fraudulent practices like – money transaction to foreign accounts, maintaining a whopping 15 accounts, head coach Chandika Hathurasingha’s agreement, 25 Million donation to a Kandy Temple for so called Cricket university etc.

The forensic audit performed on the financial transactions reveals that the SLC had maintained 15 bank accounts. Four of the 15 accounts were maintained by 2 private banking institutions, while the relevant authorities failed to ascertain when these accounts were opened and for what purpose. Of the 15 accounts, three savings accounts maintained by three private banking institutions and two current accounts are currently dormant.

The audit observations reveal that as per the evidence obtained through the SAGE accounting software at SLC, these bank accounts have been dormant for a period ranging from 2 years and 7 years and six months.

Though a request was made from SLC President Shammi de Silva on March 12th, 2019, to provide information regarding direct transactions of the respective bank accounts, the SLC had failed to submit information regarding 4 bank accounts for the forensic audit.

As per the audit observations, following an analysis of the email system at the institution, SLC authorities had also maintained accounts in foreign banking institutions.

The report includes details of an attempt to transfer to another account the second instalment due to SLC for the broadcasting rights of Sri Lanka’s tour of South Africa, which was a sum of US$ 436,541.

The email sent by the chief financial officer of SLC on July 4th at 9.42 a.m. to Sandeep Patel of SONY, with a copy mailed to the CEO of SLC Ashley de Silva directed the company to transfer the funds to the Bank account of SLC.

However, the email sent by the chief financial officer of SLC 8 days later, that is on July 12th at 9.16 a.m. to Sandeep Patel of SONY, with a copy mailed to the CEO of SLC Ashley de Silva directed the same company to transfer the funds to a Wells Fargo bank account.

The audit report further states that SLC officials had failed to provide the account numbers of the respective bank.

Although the head of finance at SLC Piyal Nandana Dissanayake and CEO of SLC Ashley de Silva rejected claims of an attempt made to transfer these funds to another account, through written statements provided on June 7th 2019 and May 8th 2018, the audit observations reveal otherwise.

The audit observations further reveal that the email correspondences had taken place via the official email addresses of the head of finance and CEO of SLC. This audit observation was confirmed through reports and evidence submitted by the Computer Emergency Readiness Team or the CERT.

This report further states that the head of finance at SLC, Piyal Nandana Dissanayake and its CEO Ashley de Silva had used an application named Mymail. The report from CERT stated that emails are not copied into the operations system when this specific application is used. According to CERT, a person cannot enter the account without verifying their identity or without using a password.

The observations of the audit officials also stated, there is no evidence to support that the CEO of SLC Ashley de Silva and the Chief Financial Officer at SLC Piyal Nandana Dissanayake were not aware of an attempt to transfer these funds to another account.

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N Krishnamurthy