The Competent Authority of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), Mr. Kamal Pathmasiri addressing the media on Thursday emphasized the fact that timely action by the top brass of SLC had enabled to thwart what would have been a major financial fraud had the culprit or culprits succeeded in pulling it off.
Commenting on the issue at the SSC Marquee at a press briefing to enlighten the media on the foiling of the attempted embezzlement of US $ 5.5 million of SLC’s media rights sponsorship funds due from Sony TV, Mr. Pathmasiri said, “We have been very transparent on this. I must say that the chief executive officer and chief operations officer of Sri Lanka Cricket acted very promptly to foil the fraud. Timely action was taken from the moment it came to light last Saturday and no sooner I was informed and after an initial inquiry the person under suspicion was sent on compulsory leave. Thereafter the IGP was informed and the investigations handed over to the CID.”
Responding to questions by the media, the Competent Authority added, “Imagine if the fraud had succeeded what the position would have been. In that light I must say that we acted quickly me, the CEO and COO. We have been very open on this. That’s why we have spoken to you all. We don’t know the culprit exactly. There can be two to three culprits. We are awaiting the Government Analyst’s report and the investigations will shed light on the culprit or culprits.”
Meanwhile, the CEO of SLC, Mr. Ashley de Silva commented that the head of finance of SLC had been sent on compulsory leave after the attempt to embezzle the money had been detected. That was after the Sony Company sought clarification from him on a false email message purporting to be from him. He added that all three signatories in the invoice in question were false. It was detected to be a forged document. “We will definitely get to the bottom of it and punish those involved in it,” he stressed while observing that SLC had convened the press briefing in order to diffuse false information spread by certain gossip columns of interested parties aimed at discrediting SLC.
The Head of the SLC’s IT Section, Mr. Nadeeshan Sooriyarachchi, responding to a question, said, “We have clear evidence that the forged email invoices went from an SLC email server. That is why we have called for an independent cyber crime investigation on the attempted embezzlement.”
To a question whether the culprit could be found out, he said, “We also have evidence that no email was hacked. Definitely there is evidence pointing to the culprit.”
Both the Competent Authority and CEO stressed that it was not appropriate to mention names in view of the ongoing investigations which once completed would shed full light on the attempted fraud.
SLC’s Chief Operations Officer, Mr. Jerome Jayaratne, responding to a question said, “It is clear the culprit had it all boggled because no international company dealing with Sri Lanka Cricket would ever remit funds without being thoroughly convinced that it was nothing but the Sri Lanka Cricket account by name.”
By Srian Obeyesekere
-The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sri Lanka Cricket-