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DateLine Sunday, 6 April 2008

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Government Gazette

Inquiry into incidents at AGM of athletic body

ATHLETICS: The feud between two factions of the Amateur Athletics Association (AAA) of Sri Lanka came to a head at its annual general meeting held at its headquarters’ last week, which nearly erupted in violence.

The Minister of Sports and Public Recreation, Gamini Lokuge, hearing of this ugly incident has ordered the Ministry Secretary, S. Liyanagama, to conduct an inquiry on this matter and give him a report as soon as possible.

The Secretary to the Ministry of Sports, S. Liyanagama, told the ‘Sunday Observer’ that B. G. Dahanayake, Director General of the Department of Sports Development, which comes under the purview of the Ministry of Sports, is the best person to conduct the inquiry.

“He is away in Badulla and is due back on either Monday or Tuesday. On his arrival in Colombo, Dahanayake, will arrange a date to conduct the inquiry after consulting both parties concerned and hand over his report. The Minister will then take what action is deemed necessary: said Liyanagama.

Various allegations and counter allegations were made by persons concerned.

Former AAA President, Sunil Jayaweera, who was re-elected as one of the six Vice-Presidents, told the ‘Sunday Observer’ that he received 103 votes last year (2007) and was one of the persons who backed Major General Palitha Fernando (rtd) to be re-elected uncontested to the post of President this year.

“However, Major General Fernando had got in touch with several persons and wanted them not to vote for me.

However, I was returned as a Vice-President with only 53 votes. There were over 200 persons present when only 116 were eligible to vote. I was not a popular figure in the AAA as I used to question them regarding various financial transactions at Committee meetings.

Army personnel too were present in civvies. Twelve District Associations had not held their annual general meetings, while the Masters Association had not submitted their auditred accounts, but voting right was granted. So did the Colombo District AA, though Minister Lokuge, first said that they were not eligible to vote and later gave them permission. There were more than 20 audit queries of the AAA accounts”, said Jayaweera.

The Secretary, of the AAA, Prema Pinnawala, told the ‘Sunday Observer’ that they have not yet been informed about the inquiry.

He said: There are personality clashes between Major General Palitha Fernando and Sunil Jayaweera. The latter seems to be a person who cannot accept defeat. There were certain outsiders who looked like University students, but they were outside the premises.

Major General Palitha Fernando denies all allegations made and said that the inquiry will prove it.

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