The Minister of Sports Roshan Ranasinghe claimed that the recent stay order issued by the Court of Appeal (CA) suspending the Interim Committee appointed to Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) depicts the downfall of the country’s Judiciary.
Making a special statement in the Parliament yesterday (8), Minister Ranasinghe said that a conflict of interest prevail in the country’s judicial system which has resulted in the deterioration of SLC and alleged that Room Number 301 of the CA has been a stronghold of the corrupt administrators of SLC whose conduct was recently approved by a stay order.
Speaking further, the Minister questioned the conduct of the President of the CA, Justice Nissanka Bandula Karunaratne who headed the bench which issued the particular stay order, citing his (Karunaratne) relationship with one of the closest aides of SLC Chairman Shammi Silva named Asela Rekawa who is an attorney-at-law by profession.
“When Justice Karunaratne assumed duties as the CA President, he himself took over all the cases related to SLC even though he previously heard only criminal cases. Therefore, we have a suspicion that Justice Karunaratne acted so in order to take over the cases related to SLC,” he alleged.
He added that Rekawa who is working closely with SLC and Silva was the son of Justice Karunaratne’s sister-in-law (his wife’s sister) and that therefore, he (Karunaratne) would have a conflict of interest on the administration of SLC when issuing this order.
The Minister also alleged that SLC has reportedly spent an amount totaling Rs. 34,600,000 as fees for lawyers alone during the past period, as per the audit reports. “According to the Auditor General’s report, they have spent Rs. 34,600,000 as fees for lawyers alone. There are children without shoes, yet, they spend this amount of money just to cover up their fraudulent activities,” he further alleged.
Minister Ranasinghe, who also commented regarding the matter that the President was not informed regarding the appointment of the Interim Committee for SLC, emphasised that if the relevant Act empowers him to make decisions regarding the matter alone, he can take over the responsibility.
The stay order which led to this controversy was delivered by Justice Karunaratne and Justice Vikum Kaluarachchi on Wednesday (7) after considering a writ petition filed by the Chairman of the SLC Silva. Accordingly, the Court has issued three stay orders in total pertaining to the matter: the first to prevent the gazette issued by the Sports Minister appointing the interim committee for the SLC, the second to prevent the interim committee members Chaired by former World Cup winning Captain Arjuna Ranatunga from acting in their respective positions, and the third to prevent the respondents including the Sports Minister from interfering in the activities of the petitioner and the other officials of the Cricket Board.
Ranasinghe on Monday (6) appointed a seven-member interim committee for SLC, Chaired by Ranatunga. He formed the interim committee for SLC under the authority granted to him by the Sports Law, No. 25 of 1973, to be in effect from Monday while the previous Board was also suspended, the Sports Ministry had announced.
The interim committee consists of the following members: retired Supreme Court (SC) Judge, Justice S.I. Imam, retired SC Judge, Justice Rohini Marasinghe, retired High Court Judge Irangani Perera, Ranatunga, Upali Dharmadasa, attorney Rakitha Rajapakshe and Hisham Jamaldeen.
However, it was later reported that President Ranil Wickremesinghe had not been notified about the decision to appoint such an interim committee or regarding the composition of its members. The President had only come to know of the appointment of such an interim committee for the SLC through the media reports, according to internal sources.
According to Ranasinghe, President Ranil Wickremesinghe had asked him to reverse the decision regarding the appointment of the said interim committee, which Ranasinghe has declined to do.
Courtesy: The Morning