Another fraud by natl. shooting sports chief – part 2
Previously, we revealed how president of the National Shooting Sports Federation of Sri Lanka Shirantha Peiris had abused his office when he was its deputy president. There had been irregularities in the purchase of ammunition and weapons and the sale of same to local shooters and shooting associations. Former secretary of the Federation retired Col. Dushan Wijewickrema exposed the fraud. As we reported, Shirantha has defrauded more than Rs. four million from the Federation.
He had done all the purchases and sales without any transparency or without following the tender procedures. As per a pro-forma invoice, he has purchased eight weapons, pocketing a huge sum in the process. They were imported from an Australian company for 5,625 Australian dollars, or Rs. 696,134.25, paid through Commercial Bank. According to the invoice figures, each weapon cost Rs. 87,017. Shirantha has written to the Federation’s treasurer, asking that the Australian supplier be paid the money. However, he sold the weapon at Rs. 870,875.95 each. With the addition of the five pc tax, the selling price of a weapon should be Rs. 91,367.85. His profit is Rs. 779,508.10 per weapon.
Two of the weapons had been used previously, and their prices had been reduced. The profit from the six other weapons is Rs. 4,677,048.60, and from the two used weapons, his profit is at least Rs. 01 million, Dushan points out.
The supplier could not be contacted via the telephone numbers mentioned in the invoice.  Shirantha has failed to show his responsibility by explaining as to whether the supplier was a weapons producer or a distributor.
According to Dushan, the company producing Beretta weapons should have been the supplier, had the due tender procedure been followed. However, his Shirantha’s fraud boomeranged on him, with the cancellation of his licenses as an international judge and adjudicator.
Since the Federation is bound to do so, Dushan informed the defence ministry, whose additional secretary N.G. Panditharatne wrote to the director general of the sports development department asking him to carry out an inquiry and report back to him. Accordingly, the inquiry began on 26 December last year. The incumbent chairman of the Federation attempted to mislead the investigation by claiming that a related case was pending before courts, Dushan says. According to him, the fraud investigation unit of the Federation was still making investigations and is yet to file a court case. The Colombo Fraud Bureau has confirmed that in writing.
It is questionable as to why the sports ministry delayed taking action against Shirantha. More on that later. On one hand, the Federation’s apathy with regard to this financial fraud and the challenge to national security is suspicious. However, everything has been exposed now. The investigation is on the correct path, and it is expected the Federation would take to the correct path in the future.
Ashika Brahmana
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