Who’s lying on SLC?
Contradictory statements by Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage prove that the Minister misled the house when he claimed in parliament on May 25 that there was “no problem” financially at Sri Lanka Cricket and denied a “Daily Mirror” article when answering a supplementary question by opposition MP Ravi Karunanayake.Aluthgamage who claimed everything was fine at SLC three weeks ago admitted yesterday that he tabled a cabinet paper last week requesting a grant of Rs. two billion for SLC “as per government regulation”.
“As per government regulation, a cabinet paper was tabled by the Ministry of Sports requesting for a grant of Rs. 2 billion. There were no negative comments or reactions from the cabinet of ministers and as per protocol the same was referred to the treasury for its observations” the Minister stated.
Following are excerpts from the dialogue in parliament on May 25.
MP Ravi Karunanayake : My first supplementary question. Honourable Minister, today’s sports page of the “Daily Mirror” newspaper has a lead story titled “SLC Disaster Fund to settle a catastrophe?”. What does that mean? It says Sri Lanka Cricket Board doesn’t have five cents to pay the salaries of 320 employees working there.
Sports Minister: Honourable MP, it is irrelevant to this question
MP Ravi Karunanayake : It cannot be irrelevant. I have asked about the cricket board in the question.
Sports Minister: There is no financial crisis. We have no responsibility over the newspaper article. There is no salary reduction nor has anything happened to the cricket board employees. There is no problem. We have the ability to pay salaries.
MP Ravi Karunanayake : Are you completely rejecting this article?
Sports Minister: I completely reject the article.
Interestingly the Minister had also taken an unwarranted swipe at the media for highlighting the financial mismanagement at SLC in his media release yesterday saying that the allegations were “creations”.
“Further, it is noted that these negative media reports are being created by individuals who are keen to hold office at SLC. I wish to state that the Government does not and will not regard the malicious attempts of these individuals with their own agendas, to interfere with the game of cricket and tarnish its image” the Minister stated.