Bitter Truth: Financial and tender irregularities, broadcasting rights and sports development

Bitter Truth: Financial and tender irregularities, broadcasting rights and sports development

Written by Bella Dalima

08 Dec, 2014 | 6:58 am

On November 23, The Bitter Truth questioned whether there were vengeful motivations behind the sudden transfer, issued to the Chief Accountant of the Department of Sports Development.

In a letter addressed to the President, the Sri Lanka Accountant Service Association claimed that the complaint lodged by the Chief Accountant, with documented evidence, regarding financial irregularities on the part of the Director General of Sports, Ranjani Jayakody, prompted this transfer.

The Association also requested the President to remove the Minister of Sports from his position, as he had acted with bias towards the Director General of Sports, in all matters of impropriety at the Ministry of Sports.

In a statement issued later, the Sri Lanka Accountant Service Association accused the Minister of Sports and the Director General of being involved in various rackets.

The statement also cites the improper provision of orders with a value in excess of five million rupees to the Carlton Sports Network.

These documents provided to the Sports Development Department, also note that the Carlton Sports Network is owed in excess of five million rupees, for the satellite and live broadcasts of several events including the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Football Tournament, the 39th National Games, the 2013 National Badminton Championships in Nawalapitiya, the 8th Asian Bodybuilding Championships and the Sri Lanka International Badminton Challenge Tournament.

However, Director General of Sports Ranjani Jayakody noted that since there was no information at hand regarding these matters, she could not make a statement at this time.

Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage noted that prior to granting broadcasting rights to the Carlton Sports Network, quotations were called from state TV channels, and the prices compared.

He added that since a cabinet paper has been put forward on providing broadcasting rights to Sports TV channels, there was no need to call for tenders.

Criticising the move, the Socialist Youth Union says that immediate steps must be taken to halt irregularities in the granting of broadcasting rights for sports events.

EXTRACT

[quote]The present government stated that there were no obstacles to providing broadcasting rights for sports tournaments to private channels, and granted cabinet approval taking away the sports broadcasting rights of state television channels. However, it is clear, that the ulterior motive was to provide these rights to the Carlton Sports Network, a private sports channel that is directly connected to…………….. Accordingly, broadcasting rights for sporting events were continuously provided to the CSN channel and the Minister of Sports too has directly and indirectly justified this action. He argued that a sports channel was necessary since private channels receive money to broadcast tournaments. This made it exceedingly clear that CSN was acting to broadcast tournaments for free. However, at present the Sports Ministry and the country, are having to pay for these irregularities, which took place in the absence of a proper tender procedure.[/quote]

In its statement, the Socialist Youth Union questions as to whether this does not represent another instance at which action has been taken in the interest of the ruling cartel, as is the case with other sectors and resources in the country.

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