The National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka (NOCSL) has misled the International Olympic Committee, its regional member—OCA and its membership by claiming that the Auditor General’s Department (AG) had ‘inordinately’ delayed inspecting its accounts—thereby holding up a crucial office bearers’ election—when it had only submitted these documents to the AG just weeks ago. The NOCSL [...]


Did the NOC mislead the OCA and its membership on audit report?

Sports Minister stands firm on NOC elections

On surface, things look really healthy, but the NOC is currently under radar on many top entities locally and globally

The National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka (NOCSL) has misled the International Olympic Committee, its regional member—OCA and its membership by claiming that the Auditor General’s Department (AG) had ‘inordinately’ delayed inspecting its accounts—thereby holding up a crucial office bearers’ election—when it had only submitted these documents to the AG just weeks ago.

The NOCSL had only sent their financial statements for three years (2013, 2014 and 2015) to Auditor General’s Department (AG’s) in August and September and that, too, without tabling them at an Executive Committee meeting.

The Department confirmed this week that it has completed auditing statements for the 2013 financial year (received only in August this year) and are in the process of doing the 2014 and 2015 audits. The NOC is yet to send in the 2016 financial statements.

This could however land those heading the NOCSL in hot water if they conduct its election of office bearers before the presentation of audited financial accounts as it would contravene the Sports Regulations.

The National Associations of Sports Regulations No. 1 of 2016 makes it mandatory for sports associations to submit a certified copy of the audited financial statements of preceding financial years forty days before the Annual General Meeting.

“Submit a notice at least forty days prior to the Annual General Meeting to its affiliates including the list of the members entitled to be present and to vote at the Annual General Meeting, a certified copy of the Audited Financial Statement, of the preceding financial years along with the list of nominees,” reads Article XVII related to duties, powers and functions of national associations of sports.

The same regulations state that holding an election of office bearers without submitting the audited financial statements disqualifies the President, Secretary, and Treasurer from contesting elections (Article 5(v)).

Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera, who took a progressive approach by amending the stringent Sports Regulations to be in line with the Olympic Charter late last year, however, wants all national sports bodies, including the National Olympic Committee, to honour the regulations.

“There’s no provision in the Sports Regulations to hold elections of office bearers without the audited financial statements,” Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera said, as NOC prepares for their first election in nine-years. “I hope they (NOC) are aware of it.”

“I will not allow any associations to hold elections without finalizing the accounts, simply because they must be there to answer any audit query that may arise,” he stressed. “They are accountable for all the financial transactions during the period in consideration.”

Earlier this year, the Minister suspended the Sri Lanka Badminton Association (SLBA) and banned former top office bearers after they conducted their elections without audited financial statements.

Maxwell de Silva, Secretary General NOCSL, last week wrote to its membership that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) advised them to conduct the long overdue election of office bearers by end 2017, notwithstanding current implications arising due to its conflict with certain clauses of country’s Sports Regulations.

The letter elaborates that the IOC/OCA asked them to conduct the election of office bearers and to call for a Special General Meeting on a later date to pass the audited accounts, a gross violation of the country’s Sports Regulations which makes it mandatory for all sports bodies to circulate their audited accounts before an Annual General Meeting.

NOC President Hemasiri Fernando and Secretary General Maxwell de Silva met the IOC officials during the recent Asian Indoor and Marshall Arts Games in Turkmenistan where they had been given clear instructions to hold the long-overdue election.

“Further, we indicated that our accounts are being audited by the Government Auditor and there is an inordinate delay in completing the audits as such there is a back log since 2012, making it difficult for NOC to have the AGM without producing accounts,” de Silva wrote in his letter.

However, the Minister said that the NOCSL is responsible for the delay, if there’s any, and not the Auditor General Department as the association had not send its accounts for auditing in time.

“The new Sports Regulations are in effect since October 2016 and they had ample time to send their financial statements for auditing. Without starting the process, they have waited for the last minute. So is it fair to blame the auditor when the fault is with them?” minister asked.

Minister said if the NOCSL violates the existing laws and regulations in the country, he will be compelled to look for alternative solutions to put the house in order.

Responding to a query by the Sunday Times, NOC Secretary General said “We want to have the election and the accounts delay was not intentional. We cannot send the 2013 financial statements without getting the 2012 audited first. Anyway I am not responsible for accounts as it comes under the Finance Committee and the Treasurer. Anyway I will inform the IOC/OCA that we cannot have the elections without the audits”.

NOC elections were due in 2013 but were postponed on the excuse that the Sports Regulations introduced by the Ministry of Sports did not create an environment to conduct an impartial election.

Meanwhile a letter signed by 11 of the 18 eligible voting members of the NOC (of the 26 fully fledged members; two are still awaiting ratification at an Executive Committee meetings; four members associations are pending court cases; while two are yet to hold their elections) has demanded elections.

They also called for the minutes of the last General Assembly held in 2012; the annual reports of the activities of the NOCSL since 2010; accounts statements since 2012; the reasons for delay in submitting of accounts to the auditors; the methodologies for selections and appointments of delegates to congresses, conferences, meetings of the IOC, OCA, CGF and SASF and chef-de-missions for games; a draft of the proposed constitution; list of members for election at the general assembly; and to fix date for the election of office bearers.

The NOC will hold a General Assembly on November 9.

Minister also insists any association that has not duly conducted their elections of office bearers will not be allowed to vote at the NOC election.

Out of the 26 NOC members, four members associations are embroiled in court cases which, according to minister, disqualifies them to vote.

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