Mr. Rohan Fernando's response : 'Rakapaksha's plot to secure NOC top seat

Mr. Rohan Fernando has responded to our news 'Rakapaksha's plot to secure NOC top seat' which was published on 13th October 2017. 

 

The full text of his response as follows

Dear Editor,

I am responding to two news items which appeared on your website, one "Rakapaksha's plot to secure NOC top seat" and the other on the statement made by Maxwell de Silva Secretary General, insinuating me as the person responsible for the delayed submission of accounts. 

Firstly I totally reject the statements attributed to me in both news items as fabricated with a malicious intent to cover up unprecedented corruption, misrule and mismanagement at the NOC Sri Lanka.

1. The item on Rajapaksha's plot, is a news report planted in sheer desperation by a person fearful of loosing his post after 16 years in office and denying rightful election of office bearers on the pretext of interference by the Minister of Sports. In fairness the Minister of Sports has complied with all sports regulations to be compatible with the Olympic charter.

The meeting was held on 10th October at the Golf Club as it was a convenient place to meet and the enthusiasm expressed by all 16 attendees out of the 24 National Sports Federations were for inclusion of the resolutions submitted to the NOC as provided for by the existing constitution with notice to the IOC.

There were no politics or office bearer positions discussed at this meeting nor were persons sent by any politicians to influence the NSF's leave alone Rajapaksha's. All present at the meeting were to represent their respective sports federations. They were either Presidents or Secretaries representing, Athletics, Basketball, Rowing, Yachting, Canoeing,  Boxing, Fencing, Golf, Equestrian, Shooting sports etc. 

Myself and my wife who's names are mentioned in your article are not active politicians or card carrying member of any political party. In fact the Farther of my wife is a senior minister of the present cabinet extending maximum support and assistance to HE the President and the Prime Minister.  The business discussed at this meeting were the contents in the resolutions calling for 

(a) Annual accounts of the NOC since 2012.  Four years of accounts have been denied to the Sports federations to understand the financial health and accountability of the organization.

(b) Submission of the annual activity reports to the federations on the numerous foreign trips undertaken at substantial costs to the NOC

(c) Demanding a copy of the new constitution drafted without the involvement of any sports federations as required by the IOC in its instructions to the SG as far back as 2016. 

(e) Fixing a date for the elections

2. On the question of accountability on finances of the NOC, I as the Chairman of the Finance Committee has brought to the notice of the President and the members the irregular activities of the SG in drawing funds without following standard procedures in place. Large sums of monies were used from NOC funds during the 2016 Rio Olympics and there were allegations in the mass traditional media of using funds sent from IOC for personal use and causing losses to the NOC as a result. My request for transparency through an internal audit was disregarded and continued to flout the regulations which are mandatory under the Sri Lanka accounting standards and practiced at the NOC until the 2012 financial year. According to the constitution of the NOC the Hony Treasurer is the person tasked with financial reports and submitting the monthly, quarterly and annual accounts to the Executive Committee for ratification. The finance committee is only tasked with vetting the accounts and accounting details for forwarding to the Ex-Co and it has no authorizing or sign-off powers. This was the practice diligently followed by the NOC prior to 2013 when it was functioning with good governance based on well documented and adopted standard operating procedures (SOP)

The IOC too conducted a separate audit in 2016, on the funds sent by them and the audit report is incriminating.

The instructions of the Finance committee were disregarded and it was not allowed to function as per the terms of engagement. In fact the Finance committee were able to meet only four times since 2013 after the meetings of the Executive Committee and  the Office bearers were halted unilaterally. There is a reasonable doubt that the NOC is posting substantial annual losses since the 2013 financial year, depleting the healthy cash reserves it had in 2012 amounting to approximately Rupees 40 million. This the stakeholders suspect is due to the above stated reasons.

The accounts for the last four years require ratification by the Executive Committee before submitting to the Auditor General and it is a puzzle as to how the SG is claiming to have submitted the accounts for the audit without this important statutory requirement. It is also suspicious to be advised by an e-mail communication by the SG the delay for auditing the accounts being blamed on the Auditor General perhaps to once again use the IOC cover for withholding the long overdue elections of office bearers to the NOC. 

Supporting documents backed by communications to the above revelations are available for scrutiny and submission at a future enquiry, internal audit or a forensic audit.  

I would appreciate you giving the same prominence and space in both the English and Sinhala sections of your web news media as my right to reply as discussed with your CEO. 

I also thank your CEO for the very cordial assistance provided to my complaint and would further appreciate your checking with me for any malicious news reports before publishing on receipt. 

Thank you

Your Sincerely

Rohan Fernando

 

Editor's note
Our response to Mr. Rohan Fenando's reply will be published separately.

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Rakapaksha's plot to secure NOC top seat

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