In a letter to the Secretary of Ministry of Youth and Sports Anuradha Wijekoon yesterday (April 6), former Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) Secretary Nishantha Ranatunga has accused Sports Ministry of foul play.
Ranatunga and his Colts CC Secretary Brig. Shiran Abeysekera had thus written to the Sports Ministry Secretary with regard to last week’s Sports Ministry gazette (2215/30) which extended the term of current SLC office-bearers from 17 February to 5 April 2021. In the letter dated 5 April, Ranatunga, as the President of the Colts Cricket Club, has written:
“We believe that either the date in the said purported Gazette notification is a mistake, or this is an act of fraud carried out by someone in the (Sports) Ministry. In either event, this disparages the conduct of the official functions of the Ministry, and raises very serious questions, and casts severe doubts as to the proper execution of official acts by the Secretary of the Ministry and the Hon. Minister.”
Colts officials on 20 February had informed the Sports Ministry that the current SLC ex-co’s two-year term had expired on 20 February. To this, Attorney General (AG) Dappula de Livera recommended the Sports Ministry to appoint an independent administrative body to run SLC until its 20 May election. Following that recommendation, the Sports Minister appointed a five-member committee effective from Monday (5).
“However, to our great shock and disbelief, now it came to our cognizance that a purported Gazette notification has been issued dated 17th February 2021 (2215/30) extending the term of the office bearers of the Executive Committee of SLC up to 5th April 2021.
“This Gazette notification has in fact, appeared out of thin air suddenly, as this purported Gazette notification was not there before. We are confident that on or about 17th February 2021 this purported Gazette notification was not there, and even on or about 20th February 2021, when we wrote to the Hon. Minister of Sports for the first time, this purported Gazette notification did not exist,” the Colts letter yesterday pointed out.
Nishantha has also inquired from the Information Officer of the Dept. of Govt. Printing under Article 14A of the Constitution and the Right to Information Act No. 12 of 2016 the following:
(i) when was the said 17 February 2021 2215/30 gazette received by the Govt. Printing Dept., (ii) when was it actually published, (iii) when was it available to the public, (iv) why was it back-dated, and (v) under whose instructions and directions was it published by the Dept.
Following the AG recommendations, SLC had come under the purview of the special five-member administrative body. On April 2, country’s Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa appointed a five member Cricket Management Committee until the elections of Sri Lanka Cricket is held on May 20. Other members of the committee are SLC CEO Ashley de Silva, Sujeewa Mudalige, Uchitha Wickramasinghe and Amal Edirisooriya.