By Yohan Perera and Ajith Siriwardana
The Committee of Public Enterprises (COPE) yesterday asked Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) to suspend operations of its charitable arm, ‘Cricket Aid,’ until the Auditor General (AG) conducts a special audit query into its operations.
SLC officials were called before the committee last afternoon and one of the most shocking discoveries was that SLC’s top officials did not have sufficient knowledge regarding the operations of Cricket Aid and coming under fire for their lack of preparations and giving confusing answers to the questions raised by the Committee Members.
The COPE Chairman Sunil Handunnetti queried whether the SLC amended the Constitution of ‘Cricket Aid’ according to instructions given by the COPE in 2016.
“Cricket Aid had been registered under the Company Act in 2016 as a Guarantee Ltd. Some of SLC Executive Committee Members had registered their names and private addresses as lifetime members of the Cricket Aid Director Board.”
“Since SLC had no power to do that the COPE instructed to amend the Cricket Aid Constitution so there would not be any lifetime members. Also we instructed to add provisions to the Constitution to enable the AG to conduct audits on ‘Cricket Aid.’ Have you done these amendments?” Handunetti questioned.
The officials said that they acted as per instructions of the COPE. They also presented a copy of the amended Company Constitution to the Committee.
However, the AG who was present at the Meeting said there were no provisions in the amended Constitution of Cricket Aid to enable him to carry out audits into ‘Cricket Aid.’
It was revealed that only the provisions regarding lifetime members had been removed from the organisation’s Constitution.
The SLC officials failed to give a logical answer as to why they could not add provisions to the Cricket Aid Constitution to enable the AG to carry out audits.
According to the Constitution, the Treasurer of the SLC should act as the Treasurer of ‘Cricket Aid.”
However, the SLC Treasurer was not aware of this rule until COPE Chairman Handunnetti read out the Company Constitution provision
‘Cricket Aid’ was initiated in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami but was defunct until it was re-registered in 2016.
One of its first initiatives since re-registry was the collection of funds to eradicate Chronic Kidney Disease.
Cricket Aid had been registered under the Company Act in 2016 as a Guarantee Ltd. Some of SLC Executive Committee Members had registered their names and private addresses as lifetime members of the Cricket Aid Director Board