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Pyramid schemes a crime not a business: Siyambalapitiya



Action will be taken under the criminal law against the institutions and individuals who operate pyramid schemes, State Minister of Finance Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said.

State Minister Siyambalapitiya said that pyramid schemes are not a business but a crime.

He expressed these views while speaking to the media after a programme held in Dehiowita.

Commenting further, he said that the Central Bank has prohibited this crime in accordance with the Banking Act No. 30 of 1988 and that action can be taken under the criminal law.

“Accordingly, the Attorney General will be informed and the complaints in this regard will be forwarded to the police and the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and cases will be filed against these fraudulent companies and the persons who led them under the criminal law,” he said.

He said that a large number of people in the society have fallen prey to these smugglers since they only focus on temporary benefits despite the warnings issued by the Central Bank.

LPL winning Kandy team owners, B-Love, alleged of pyramids schemes

Meanwhile, Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe recently said in Parliament that the Lanka Premier League (LPL) tournament was a gambling den.

He said that the sponsor of the B-Love Kandy team that won the LPL championship is a company that promotes cryptocurrency which is prohibited under the laws of Sri Lanka.

The Minister of Justice disclosed about 15 betting websites that played a major role in the LPL tournament, which was held without the Sport Minister’s approval.

It was also revealed that SKYFAIR, which sponsored the titles of the tournament, was an illegal offshore betting website.

“In the LPL tournament, many programmes were held especially to promote the cryptocurrency system. The titles of the T20 franchise were sponsored by an illegal offshore betting site called SKYFAIR.”

“These sites are prohibited according to our laws. This tournament has been used to promote illegal acts. Many sponsors operate illegal betting sites. Fifteen such institutions have been identified. They are; Skyfair.News, 1xBet 1XBook, Crickets In, Kheloyar News, Babu88, SAT sport, Wolf 777, Tiger ESCH, BA Fry Coin and MTFE.”

“All these institutions are engaged in betting business or promoting cryptocurrency transactions. The winning Kandy team has also been sponsored by a cryptocurrency company called ‘Be Love’ which is a banned institution,”

The minister has a responsibility to find out whether these actions taken by Sri Lanka Cricket are illegal. And then… steps should be taken to correct them,” he said.

A Constitutional Responsibility

“The Article 108 of the Anti-Corruption Act has been newly introduced. The MPs passed the law to make giving bribes, tips and accepting them in sports as an offence punishable with seven years imprisonment and a fine of not more than Rs.1 million. This is Act No. 09 of 2023.”

“Article 109 of the Act is also related to this. Under that article, not only the SLC but also any person should explain how they have amassed wealth.”

“The minister should make that explanation. If such an explanation cannot be made, action should be taken after considering this as an offence subject to punishments.”

“The minister has the authority and he should use it. Get these proposals approved by the Cabinet. We will prepare the Bill within two weeks,” Minister Rajapakshe said.


Police officer involved in “Harak Kata’s” escape bid arrested




A police constable has been arrested on suspicion of aiding and abetting notorious underworld figure “Harak Kata’s” recent escape bid at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

The officer, who was taken into custody by the CID, will be handed over to the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) for further probes.

However, the other police constable, who was identified as “Harak Kata’s” aide, is still at large.

On September 10, “Harak Kata”, who was being interrogated by eight CID officers, had reportedly laced the officers’ tea with poison, with the help of the Police Constable in question, during his questioning.

He had subsequently requested to go to the washroom, and was escorted out of the interrogation room with his aide – a police constable, and another sub-inspector attached to the Police Special Task Force (STF), assigned for the suspect’s protection.

Although his handcuffs were removed at that point, the underworld kingpin had then walked out of the washroom acting as if he was still cuffed and had then attempted to snatch the STF officer’s firearm leading to a scuffle.

A group of other officers were quick to arrive at the scene, upon hearing the commotion and detained “Harak Kata” in their custody.

Amidst the altercation, the constable in question had reportedly fled the CID premises and remains in hiding to date.

On 18 September, the mother and brother-in-law of this constable were arrested. The police also obtained a 90-day detention to interrogate them.

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Animal lovers can now insure their pets




Animal lovers are in for some good news with a comprehensive pet insurance scheme to be launched next Wednesday, coinciding with World Animal Day, by the Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation (SLIC).

The insurance cover, “Petsurance”, in the initial stage will focus on pet dogs. It is expected to be extended to other animals if the ‘pet project’ succeeds.

“Petsurance” offers medical insurance coverage for sudden illnesses and sickness, except for congenital and pre-existing conditions. It also provides coverage for accidental injuries.

The total annual premium is Rs. 125,000, while it will cover a maximum of Rs. 550,000 a year.

A SLIC official said this insurance cover would offer pet owners access to medical attention for their pets without the burden of excessive costs. He said the company was aiming to provide a safety net for pet owners, allowing them to provide the best care for their companion animals via the insurance scheme.

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ICC refuses Sports Minister’s request to meet Cricket Coordinating Committee




The International Cricket Council (ICC) has categorically refused to meet a three-member Sports Coordination Committee in Cricket appointed by Sri Lanka’s Sports Minister Roshan Ranasinghe.

The Minister’s latest move is seen as yet another attempt to creep into cricket administration via the committee that has been set up to handle the international affairs of the country’s richest sports body.

The team includes respected former Sri Lanka cricketer Sidath Wettimuny, former Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) President Upali Dharmadasa and Rakitha Rajapakshe, son of Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe.

They expected to “monitor, communicate and coordinate with international and national cricket councils, federations and institutes to safeguard the development, independence and transparency of cricket in Sri Lanka and also to advice the Hon. Minister”.

After setting up the body on Tuesday, the Minister notified the ICC of the latest development and requested a meeting for them with ICC Chair Greg Barclay. The ICC has, however, shot down the request and reiterated the need for SLC to govern its affairs autonomously, without any Government interference.

“The ICC’s point of contact for all issues relating to cricket in Sri Lanka will be Sri Lanka Cricket,” said the letter signed by Geoff Allardice, ICC Chief Executive, addressed to Minister Ranasinghe on Friday.

“So the ICC Chair and/or CEO will not be meeting with your International Sports Coordination Committee in Cricket without the endorsement of Sri Lanka Cricket, and no such endorsement has been given,” he maintained.

“As I stated in my letter to you of 11 April, the ICC expects Sri Lanka Cricket to manage its affairs autonomously and ensure that there is no Government (or other public or quasi-public body) interference in its governance, regulation and/or administration of cricket,” he continues.

Under the ICC’s rules, member boards are required to operate independently of Government interference, with the ultimate goal of protecting the integrity of the game. Like most international sports bodies, ICC demands complete independence of its member associations whilst respecting domestic laws.

The Sports Minister and SLC have been at loggerheads ever since Sri Lanka shifted the Asia Cup to Dubai (whilst retaining hosting rights) last year. He has openly criticised SLC over its handling of funds and the lack of transparency in its administration. SLC has, however, withstood the pressure.

Sri Lanka’s current Sports Law allows the Sports Minister dissolve all registered national sports bodies and put them under interim administration.

Following repeated complaints from SLC over political interference, the ICC appointed a three-member committee headed by Jay Shah, the Secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India. Others on the committee are Usman Khwaja, the Deputy Chair of the ICC, and Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) President Nazmul Hassan.

In May, Khwaja held talks with top Government officials, including President Ranil Wickremasinghe and Sports Minister Roshan Ranasinghe during his two-day fact-finding mission on alleged political interference in cricket administration. He also met with SLC officials and some of former administrators.

In April, the Minister set up a five-member Technical Consultative Committee headed by Sanath Jayasuriya to advise the Minister of Sports, Ministry officials, and the National Sports Council on all matters relating to cricket in Sri Lanka.

After Sri Lanka made a first-round exit at the World Cup a few months after lifting the Asia Cup, the Sports Minister appointed a committee to inquire into alleged incidents that occurred during the ICC T20 World Cup 2022. The committee made a number of recommendations including the suspension of SLC’s registration and a complete audit. The audit, which was recently presented to the Parliament, has highlighted various financial and procedural irregularities and had recommended to institute legal action against those responsible.

Last year, Minister  Ranasinghe also introduced several new regulations placing term limits and age limits, compromising the autonomy and independence of national sports bodies, including SLC.


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