Namal’s law firm drafts cricket agreement

Sri Lanka Cricket has paid Rs. 3.36 million as legal fees to the legal consultancy firm owned by MP Namal Rajapaksa for preparing the agreement to award the telecasting rights for the next six years to India’s Taj Television, BBC Sandeshaya reports. CEO Ashley de Silva and advertising chief Vajira Dissanayake had recommended on February 17 to the executive committee of SLC that Gowers International (NR Associates) should be paid the sum. It is unclear whether SLC had called for tenders for awarding the telecasting rights. Top officials of SLC are yet to respond to a BBC Sandeshaya email on May 05 inquiring as to whether NR Associates had been given the task of preparing the relevant agreement as it was owned by the president’s son. The email to Nishantha Ranatunga, Ashley de Silva and Ranjith Fernando has asked as to whether they had looked for legal consultancy firms that could have drafted the agreement at a lower price, at a time when SLC is faced with a financial crisis. BBC Sandeshaya’s attempts to contact MP Namal Rajapaksa had failed. Anti corruption activists, lawyers Krishantha Weliamuna and Chandrapala Kumarage have said it was difficult to comment, as it was the normal procedure to charge a certain percentage of the value of the contract for which an agreement had been prepared. CEO de Silva has said he could not say anything about confidential dealings of SLC. Indian media has reported that Taj Television had paid more than 60 million USD to SLC for telecasting rights until 2020. The only responsible authority who had responded to BBC Sandeshaya was sports minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage, who said if there is a complaint that an irregularity had taken place in the payment of the legal fee by SLC would be investigated.
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