Thailanga has not been cleared says Dharmadasa

The current President of the Sri Lanka Cricket Board (SLC) Upali Dharmadasa says MP Thilanga Sumathipala has not been cleared of the allegations raised against him.

In a statement issued through the cricket board media unit, Dharmadasa says if  Sumathipala is elected as the President of the cricket board at the upcoming board elections he cannot represent Sri Lanka at the ICC.

Dharmadasa said that Alan Isaac, President of the ICC on being informed of Sumathipala’s nomination to contest for the cricket board presidency, had informed the current board that during the years 2003 to 2005 investigations carried out by the ICC Anti Corruption Surveillance Unit and the ICC Ethics Officer found that there was evidence that Sumathipala was in breach of the ICC Code of Ethics primarily through his relationship with the Sporting Star bookmaking business in Sri Lanka.

Although Sumathipala had denied that he was in breach of the ICC Code of Ethics previous statements given by him under oath appeared to contradict the denial, Dharmadasa quoted the ICC letter as saying.

In order to give Sumathipala a full hearing Goolam Vahanvati, renowned Indian Judge and Member of the ICC’s Code of Conduct Commission was appointed to inquire into this matter.

Before that hearing could be convened, Sri Lanka Cricket removed Sumathipala as its nominee director to the ICC Board. Under those circumstances, Sumathipala claimed that, since he was no longer a director, it was no longer appropriate that the hearing into his alleged breaches of the Code of Ethics should continue. Accordingly, no hearing was ever convened in this respect and no formal decision issued.

Instead, in June 2005, the ICC Board resolved that if Sumathipala was ever nominated by SLC as its representative on the Board again, he would not be entitled to take up that position until the hearing process took place and a decision was finally made as to whether or not he had committed a breach of the Code of Ethics.

Although Sumathipala is not currently prohibited from standing in the SLC elections by the ICC, the ICC Board resolution is still valid and if Sumathipala is nominated by SLC as its representative to the Board of Directors of the ICC such nomination cannot take effect until the inquiry into the alleged breaches of the Code of Ethics of the ICC by Sumathipala is concluded. Therefore Sumathipala, if elected, cannot represent Sri Lanka at the ICC, Dharmadasa said.

Dharmadasa said that the ICC has also informed SLC that where appropriate, the Ethics Officer of the ICC can ‘conduct an investigation, hold a hearing and also recommend sanctions (including but not limited to a recommendation to remove a director under Article 4.11(f) of the ICC Memorandum and Articles) to the ICC Executive Board for its ultimate determination.’.

“The seriousness of this issue is that the election of a person, whose conduct and ethical standards are in question by the ICC would have a very negative effect on the image of Sri Lanka, its people, the governance of the game of cricket and the SLC,” Dharmadasa added. (Colombo Gazette)