The Sunday Leader

SLC Lights Up Carlton Motor Sports Club

  • R. Premadasa International Cricket Stadium and A night race

    Rs. 200 mn worth floodlights issued from Premadasa Stadium

By Nirmala Kannangara

It is being alleged now that the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) had generously gifted floodlights to the value of over Rs. 200 million to the Carlton Motor Sports Club for the use of the controversial night motor races.

Despite the Rajapaksa family’s claim that they have never misused public property during their time in office, The Sunday Leader last week exposed how the Rajapaksa regime had constructed a palatial bunker in the compound of the President’s House in Fort spending over a billion of rupees of tax-payers money on providing the pleasure for the Rajapaksa offspring.

The Sunday Leader today exposes further details of the alleged misuse of taxpayers’ money by the Rajapaksas for holding night races – the hobby of their siblings and children.

This newspaper is in possession of documents to support this accusation. They clearly show that the Carlton Motor Sports Club had removed nearly 240 floodlights worth over Rs. 200 million from R. Premadasa International Cricket Stadium on November 2, 2012 employing Presidential Security Division (PSD) personnel attached to the Army Commando Regiment.

This ‘gift’ had allegedly been made by the SLC on the request from President of Carlton Motor Sports Club Dinesh Jayawardena.

Jayawardena in a letter dated October 23, 2012 with the Carlton Motor Sports Club letterhead to, Air Commodore (Rtd) Ajith Jayasekera, Chief Executive Officer, Sri Lanka Cricket Board, Colombo 7, asked the SLC to give the floodlights at Sri Lanka Cricket to use for the night races in and around Colombo.

The letter further states, “the Carton Motor Sports Club which is an emerging Motor Sports Club in Sri Lanka wish to promote Sri Lanka as a vibrant motor sports destination, plans to conduct various motor sports events in and out of Colombo in the near future.

“Towards this endeavour, we want the floodlights available with the SLC to be used at the upcoming motor race events. We would be grateful if the floodlights are handed over to Shehan Dean of the Carlton Sports Network.

“We trust this request will receive your approval to make the planned motor race events a resound success.”

 

President of the Carlton Motor Sports Club Dinesh Jayawardena, however, first refuted the allegations levelled against the Carlton Motor Sports Club of taking floodlights from the SLC. “This is a blatant lie. We did not take SLC lights,” Jayawardena said. When this newspaper told him that we are in possession of a letter he had sent to then CEO SLC Ajith Jayasekera requesting for floodlights to use for the night races, and the gate pass that issued the lights to a PSD officer, Jayawardena said that he has to check with the club as he cannot recall whether he requested floodlights from the SLC or whether the club obtained them. Jayawardena, however, said he will come back with all details. But he did not keep his promise until this newspaper went to print.

 

On receipt of this letter, Chief Engineer, SLC Prasanna Jinaratne in a letter dated November 2, 2012 to Manager Works of the R. Premadasa International Cricket Stadium Godfrey Dabare has requested to release the available flood lights to the Carlton Motor Sports Club for the night races. The letter states, “To bring to your notice that the Carlton Motor Sports Club has organised to conduct motor sports events in and out of Colombo, and therefore, they have requested Sri Lanka Cricket to cooperate with them by giving the available floodlights to them for the night races.“Please be good enough to release these items and your earliest attention in this regard is highly appreciated. Copy of the request letter is attached herewith”.Acting promptly, the Stadium had released the necessary stocks to the Carlton Motor Sports Club the same day following instruction given by the Chief Engineer.

The Sunday Leader is in receipt of one of the gate passes of the SLC (serial number A 5187) dated November 2, 2012 by one of its officers to M.M.I..S.  Bandara (NIC No: 810843950V) attached to the Presidential Security Division (PSD) of the Army Commando Regiment. According to this gate pass, 100 floodlights, 50 of lamp fitting, 2000w lights, and 50 of choke type 2000w lights, had been taken away in army vehicle No: 23136.

However, Minister of Sports Dayasiri Jayasekara confirmed to this newspaper that out of the 247 floodlights the SLC had, 242 lights had been given to Carlton Sports Club, and only five lights are there with the SLC at present.Meanwhile, inside sources at the SLC who wished to remain anonymous told The Sunday Leader that Head of the Carlton Motor Sports Club MP Namal Rajapaksa, the son of Kurunegala District MP, Mahinda Rajapaksa, had allegedly telephoned the Premadasa Stadium storekeeper around 2 a.m. instructing him to come to the Stadium immediately and had got these lights removed secretly. It is said that this storekeeper residing in Maharagama had left for the Stadium by about 2 a.m. Although documents are available to prove that 100 floodlights were removed by the Carlton Motor Sports Club, it is alleged that another 145 floodlights too were taken away from the entire stock of 247 lights.

When information about this scam came to light, the new Sports Minister had allegedly appointed a committee to investigate and the report has now been handed over to the Minister and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) SLC, Ashley de Silva, but no action seems to be taken since then Cricket Board Chairman Upali Dharmadasa and Secretary Nishantha Ranatunga must be the ones against whom the actions must be taken.

Nishantha Ranatunga has been accused of being behind this scam since he is part and parcel of all Carlton work, being the CEO of Carlton Sports Network – another business venture of Rajapaksa family established with illegal money which is being investigated now.

The Minister of Sports is accused of trying to cover up the issue without taking any action against Dharmadasa or Ranatunga because of the Minister’s personal friendship with them.

When this newspaper contacted Minister of Sports Dayasiri Jayasekera in this regard, he said the commission report has been given to the SLC CEO to take action against those responsible for the fraud.

“Of the nine findings of the investigation, the commission report does not level allegations against anyone other than against the storekeeper and two more people who were present at the time of the removal of the floodlights from the Premadasa Stadium. These lights have been given away without any approval from the SLC. On the directives of a VVIP son, this storekeeper had to give away these lights. Anyhow, the CEO will hold an inquiry and take action against those responsible,” Jayasekera said.

According to Jayasekera, none of the higher officials at the SLC were aware of this scam until recently. But they had not come forward to lodge any complaint in fear of their lives.

“After the fall of the Rajapaksa regime, these frauds are coming to light but earlier nothing came out. This storekeeper and the security guards are innocent, and they have carried out a VVIP son’s order. They had to obey the instructions knowing very well what will happen if they turned down the instructions,” Jayasekera said.

However, it is surprising that the Minister of Sports is denying the involvement of any of the SLC higher officials in this scam even though The Sunday Leader pointed out that the newspaper is in possession of official documents to prove that the SLC had given their approval to release the floodlights to Carlton Sports Club.

“Any documents we have do not say the SLC has given its approval. This has done on the verbal instruction of the VVIP son, and the storekeeper had no options but to go to the Stadium to release the stock,” the Minister claimed.

When asked how many floodlights had been removed from the Premadasa Stadium, Jayasekera said that according to the inventory, there had been 247 lights and only five remain at present.

According to the Minister, SLC had also given floodlights to  the Dalada Maligawa in 2011.

“The lights given to the Carlton Sports Club had been used for Kandy and Colombo night races during the previous regime,” Jayasekera alleged. Although the Minister claims that higher officials of the SLC are not aware of this alleged ‘gift’, the official seal of the CEO’s office is on the letter sent to the then CEO Ajith Jayasekera. It clearly shows the letter was received by the CEO’s office. There is yet another footnote on this letter written in Sinhalese by an unidentified officer requesting the relevant officials to release the stock of lights immediately.

The SLC sources, however, said that a stock of these floodlights were available for sale at a leading shop in Kandy recently and had gone missing after this issue was exposed.

“Each of this light carries the SLC logo. The stock of the lights that were to be sold in Kandy too carried the SLC logo. It is alleged that pictures of these lights have been taken by an interested party and had given it to the Financial Crime Investigation Bureau (FCID). Upon the complaint, when the FCID made a visit to this shop, the lights had not been on their shelves,” sources alleged.

According to the sources, as per Clause 23 (3) of the Cricket Constitution, the SLC Secretary is duty-bound to protect movable and immovable assets of the institution, and if any theft takes place, he is held accountable. “When the law clearly states as such, it is disheartening that the Sports Minister is ‘relaxing’ and not taking any action.”

When contacted SLC CEO Ashley de Silva to know about what action would be taken against those involved in this fraud, De Silva asked what grounds we are making allegations about a scam implying the information the media has received is incorrect.

However, when The Sunday Leader informed that the newspaper is in possession of all documents to show that the SLC had released floodlights officially not only to the Carlton Motor Sports Club but also to Dalada Maligawa, De Silva said he cannot make any comment as the matter is now under investigation. “The Minister appointed a committee, and we are now in receipt of this committee report. If there had been a fraud, action would be taken,” De Silva said.

All attempts to contact R. Premadasa Stadium Works Manager Godfrey Dabare and Chief Engineer SLC Prasanna Jinaratne for comments failed, as the calls were not transferred to them claiming they were ‘busy’.

 

 

 

2 Comments for “SLC Lights Up Carlton Motor Sports Club”

  1. kudson

    corrupt officials no matter what there political affiliations have to be sacked
    these greedy scoundrels assets have to be seized

    • These greedy people,corrupt people need to be brought to justice, this current government don’t seem to want to do anything about it as they too,are hoping to continue with these curupt practices.

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