Sports minister Gamini Lokuge has stopped a questionable insurance tender for the current India-Sri Lanka cricket series which is alleged to have been promoted by two controversial members of the interim committee for self gain, the Daily Mirror learns.
The insurance tender which was awarded to ABC Insurance Company would have, if approved, provided a massive windfall for the two members as the original premium had been increased from 240,000 US dollars to 536,000 US dollars without the consent of the executive committee of the interim committee and the authorisation of the Sports Minister.
Minister Lokuge stopped the shocking tender after another interim committee member provided him with documents to the effect that the premium increase would have given the two members a whopping Rs.40 million as their cut for awarding them (ABC) the tender.
Under the laws vested in him the Sports Minister has the right to stop or cancel any transaction above Rs.5 million if it has not been approved by him.
Four companies, Union Assurance, the Insurance Corporation of Sri Lanka, Janashakthi Insurance and ABC Insurance made bids to cover the three-Test and five-match one-day series.
One company, Union Assurance pulled out but the other three contenders stayed in the fray. Janashakthi Insurance quoted 612,355 US dollars while the Insurance Corporation of Sri Lanka quoted 550.000 US dollars.
Being the best and the lowest ABC Insurance was awarded the tender for their price of 240,000 US dollars. But Janashakthi Insurance is reported to have been disqualified on a flimsy excuse and in a hard-hitting letter they (Janashakthi) had accused the interim committee running Sri Lanka Cricket of treating them unfairly by way of re-insurance that was extended to ABC Insurance.
With only two players remaining, the Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation and ABC Insurance, the tender was awarded to the latter. Subsequently after being awarded the insurance tender ABC Insurance had jacked up their premium from 240,000 US dollars to 536,000 US dollars on the grounds that the security situation in Sri Lanka had escalated when in actual fact the situation had remained the same as it was at the time the tender was awarded to them.
The increase is alleged to have been done with the connivance of the two interim committee members so they could secure their share of the spoils.
The Daily Mirror learns that ABC Insurance is now doing everything within its means to get the approval of Minister Lokuge which is not likely to happen as the ministry was kept in the dark over the deal.