The Sunday Leader

Enjoining Order Against Gymkhana Club AGM

By Nirmala Kannangara

An enjoining order has been obtained to prevent the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Gymkhana Club of Colombo from taking place.

Gymkhana Club Secretary, Prashantha Wimalasena, when contacted by The Sunday Leader, said that he had to get an injunction order to prevent the AGM from being held on Wednesday, July 29, till a full audit is conducted on the membership.

“Since of late we have noticed how new memberships have been given without following the enrolment procedure and executive committee approval. This is a gross violation of the club constitution. If the Executive Committee takes a decision to cancel these unlawful memberships, then it would be an embarrassment for the new members,” Wimalasena said.

The Gymkhana Club is over 150 years old and consists of the Colombo Cricket Club (CCC), Colombo Hockey and Football Club (CH & FC) and the Queen’s Club. According to Wimalasena, the term of office of its Chairman ends after two years and never in the history of Gymkhana Club a Chairman has sought office for more than two years. “The present Chairman, Shammi Silva is now serving his sixth term and is planning to go for another term after committing many irregularities. That was why I as the Secretary to the club decided to take an injunction order against holding the AGM on Wednesday,” Wimalasena added.

Amongst the allegations levelled against the Chairman, is that he was giving memberships to over 50 people bypassing the enrolment procedure and the executive club five committee approvals, giving more than 250 honorary memberships to unsuitable people and mismanaging club funds?

“Some of the properties owned by the club in Colombo 7 have been given on rent in the most controversial manner while some properties have been rented out for a pittance. Who has given authority to the Chairman to take decisions on his own? When I raised this at the last executive committee meeting held on July 14, the Chairman could not answer but a few of his cronies in the committee safeguarded him. In order to find out what is happening with the club funds and to get a proper audit, I had no other option but to get the injunction order from the District Court Colombo,” Wimalasena claimed. According to him, the honorary memberships are given to the erudite in the society in order to obtain special services from them to the club. “Instead of giving these honorary memberships to well-educated and respected people in the society, the Chairman has given this prestigious membership to those who are into ethanol trading, prison officials and people of the similar calibre. He is also planning to give part of the Gymkhana Club land to a property developer to construct a condominium. Wimalasena alleged.

However, refuting allegations levelled against him, Chairman, Shammi Silva said that there is no timeframe for a Chairman to serve the club which is clearly stated in the club constitution. “I have not worked as the Chairman continuously but on different occasions and this is my fifth term. This Secretary who has worked for three years for the club has not come to the club but once in a few months. Since he has failed to report for his work and as the membership is handled by the Secretary, we had no other options but to give the membership to over 50 people whom we have obtained membership fee. Anyhow the executive committee members gave their approval to the membership,” Silva said.

Silva further said that he has never given honorary membership to controversial characters as alleged by the Secretary and stated that this mud- slinging campaign is done to discredit him and to become the Chairman of the Gymkhana Club.

He further said that it was during one of his predecessors time, the decision had been made to build a three storied building in part of the land where the club stands now. “How can he say that it was I who gave the approval? This approval had been given in 2013 under the then Chairman Shiran Anthony. Wimalasena was then Secretary and he too has given his approval to this project and he should take the blame for it rather than accusing me for what I have not done,” Silva added.

1 Comment for “Enjoining Order Against Gymkhana Club AGM”

  1. Wimalasena is trying his best to become the Chairman.

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