OFC’s Chung refutes corruption allegations as ‘illegal’ league kicks off and whistleblower named

David Chung

By Paul Nicholson

May 21 – Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) president David Chung has responded to accusations that he rigged his re-election to the Papua New Guinea FA presidency via a statement saying that the election was held according to the statutes. He also refutes allegations that he used FIFA funds to incentivise votes for his candidacy.

The statement, issued by the OFC rather than the PNGFA, said: “The PNGFA and its Electoral Committee believe that the Congress and the subsequent election was held in accordance with PNGFA Statutes. The members who were suspended were subject to a clear and transparent process and were found not to be compliant to their member obligations in accordance with the PNGFA Statutes.

“This was endorsed by FIFA and the High Court in Port Moresby following an application for an injunction by one of the suspended members where the High Court found they have no legal standing.”

See the full statement from the OFC below.

 

The PNG elective congress was held 28 December 2016 after having been postponed from August of that year. Chung’s opponents claim that the motivation for that postponement was that it became clear that a large majority of PNGs local associations were planning to support his rival John Kapi Natto.

Between the postponement of the election and the eventual December 28 Congress, the OFC Ethics Committee suspended seven of the voting associations. This pushed the voting balance in Chung’s favour who won by 1 vote.

The process used to suspend the seven associations was controversial. The deferral of the election led to the introduction of an Electoral Code but which was never officially sanctioned by the PNGFA Congress.

The electoral code was used to eliminate seven of the 12 associations (out of 18) that were supporting Kapi Natto.

The PNGFA Congress according to the PNGFA Statutes Article 25 on Quorum states that Quorum is reached when 50% plus 1 members of the FAs are present. Chung’s rivals say that never happened – see open letter below to the press from Andrew Nirik Matta Acting President of the Lae association which was printed in PNG newspaper the Post Courier.

The allegations of using funds to secure his election seems to relate to a promise made by Chung on the eve of the election. Chung made the public promise of PNG Kina 100,000 (£24,000) to all member associations if he was re-elected – a promise that his rivals argue was a bribe and could only have been paid from FIFA development grants targeted for infrastructure projects.

Meanwhile, football is taking place in PNG, but at the highest level not under the auspices of the PNGFA. The newly formed Football Federation of Papua New Guinea (FFPNG) has launched its PNG National Premier League played in Northern and Southern conferences with six teams in each.

The OFC has quickly stepped in to outlaw this league saying that it is playing illegal. However, to stop it playing would be to effectively kill off elite club football in PNG. The official FIFA recognised federation that Chung is president of is currently not playing a club league though has sanctioned a six team competition that has yet to play a game.

There is one chilling revelation in the OFC statement (which says there are no complaints against Chung before FIFA). Former FIFA development officer Shaun Easthope is named as the whistleblower who reported Chung’s election activities to the FIFA Ethics investigators.

Easthope provided details on the basis of anonymity and on what he felt was a clear breach of regulations. The OFC, which in its statement welcomes any investigation into its activities (and presumably by close association those of the PNGFA), nevertheless chose to attack him as a “disgruntled former consultant of FIFA”.

The elephant in the room ethical question here is how and why did the OFC get the name of the whistleblower and was it before or after the removal of the current FIFA ethics investigators.

There are an increasing number of ‘disgruntled’ football people in PNG and the OFC.

Contact the writer of this story at moc.l1511020829labto1511020829ofdlr1511020829owedi1511020829sni@n1511020829osloh1511020829cin.l1511020829uap1511020829

 

PNGFA statement regarding recent allegations
The PNGFA wishes to respond to a recent article written by Paul Nicholson from Inside World Football titled “OFC chief Chung under fire in PNG as rivals claim he rigged election and form new FA” [sic].

The article lacks balance as Mr Nicholson never offered the opportunity to the PNGFA or Mr David Chung to respond to the allegations made against him in this article.

If he had given the PNGFA the right of reply, the response would have been as follows:

  • The Elective Congress of the PNGFA was held on 28th December 2016.
  • The PNGFA and its Electoral Committee believe that the Congress and the subsequent election was held in accordance with PNGFA Statutes. The members who were suspended were subject to a clear and transparent process and were found not to be compliant to their member obligations in accordance with the PNGFA Statutes (Attachment 1 and Attachment 2).
  • This was endorsed by FIFA (Attachment 3) and the High Court in Port Moresby following an application for an injunction by one of the suspended members where the High Court found they have no legal standing.
  • As of today, no member or official, in particular Kapi Natto, has lodged a formal letter of complaint with FIFA, OFC or PNGFA.  Nor have they lodged any appeal or written complaint with the relevant appeal bodies available to them which includes the PNGFA Appeal Committee, PNGFA Electoral Appeal Committee, FIFA, OFC or the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
  • The Football Federation of Papua New Guinea (FFPNG) remains an unrecognised sporting body which is operating illegally – as per the statement made by OFC General Secretary Mr Tai Nicholas on 5 April 2017 (Attachment 4).
  • In addition, the PNGFA refutes the allegation within this article claiming that Mr Chung is immune to any inquiry or prosecution by FIFA.  In fact it is the opposite, both Mr Chung and the PNGFA welcome any investigation or inquiry in respect to the convocation of Congress, the process undertaken for the suspension of members and any allegations of inappropriate behaviour surrounding the election.
  • In particular, the PNGFA and Mr Chung refute the allegations made by the former FIFA Development Officer for OFC, Shaun Easthope, who has made unsubstantiated claims that Mr Chung used FIFA funds to influence the election. Easthope, when asked by FIFA to substantiate these allegations, could not produce any such evidence and his comments in fact come as a disgruntled former consultant of FIFA

 

PRESS STATEMENT AGAINST JOHN WESLEY GONJUAN

The soccer faction led by John Kapi Natto views statements made by illegally elected Papua New Guinea Football Association Senior Vice President John Wesley Gonjuan as one sided and most of it is not telling the true picture of what had transpired during the PNGFA Congress in Kimbe, last year.

For a start, why are we saying Gonjuan is an illegally elected senior vice president. Obtain a copy of the PNGFA Statutes (Constitution), a copy that has not been amended prior to the Kimbe congress, and read Article 25 of the statutes on Quorum.

It states that quorum is derived from member associations (MAs) affiliated to PNGFA and qualified to participate in any PNGFA meetings. The quorum is fifty percent plus one.

The PNGFA Congress in Kimbe was illegally convened, the elections of the new office bearers are illegal and everything done there was illegal even the elections of Chung and Gonjuan are illegal.

Remember PNGFA Quorum is 50% + 1and this is and was the scenario. Last year, prior to the suspensions of the seven soccer associations, PNGFA had 18 affiliated members. At that pointing time the quorum required would be 50% which would have been 9 plus one equals 10. PNGFA would need 10 associations to be present for the congress to be legal.

But, if it relied on 11 associations that Gonjuan so confidently claims that they had quorum than his mathematics is clearly wrong. At 11 affiliates, the quorum at 50% would have been 5.5 plus 1 equals 6.5. The quorum can’t be 6 as claimed by Gonjuan, it is 6.5 and it has be rounded up or down. In this instance, it will have to be rounded up to 7 because you can’t have six and half human beings sitting in congress. The quorum at Kimbe should have been 7.

So we have an illegally elected executives running the affairs of soccer in Papua New Guinea.

On the suspensions of Mendi, Wabag, Koupa, Manus and Bougainville, PNGFA was very poor in its management and failed to assist these associations to improve the administration and management of their associations if such problems mentioned by Gonjuan for their suspension.

If these associations were suspended why were Mt Hagen, Simbu, Kimbe, Wau and New Britain Palm Oil who have similar problems spared from being suspended? Mt Hagen, Simbu, Kimbe, Wau and NBPOL did not have a properly sanctioned competition yet they were spared.

The presidents of Wau and Kimbe are living in Port Moresby and are not at their associations, running and administering their competition, so why are they not suspended?

The truth is that Mendi, Hekari, Wabag, Koupa, Manus, Lae Football Association (LFA) and Bougainville supported John Kapi Natto so they were axed while Simbu, Kimbe, Wau, Mt Hagen and NBPOL supported Chung and were spared. Is this statement a lie?

LFA’s suspension is a different matter and briefly mentioned by Gonjuan but not the whole truth.

After PNGFA through Oceania Football Confederation suspended LFA President Roy Kamen and his Junior Vice President Stanley Khanna, it demanded that LFA hold fresh elections to vote a new president.

LFA advised PNGFA that it was not enforceable because Kamen and Khanna were only suspended and it was a temporary effect and couldn’t be enforced permanently because the elections of a new president and junior vice would create an impasse when Kamen and Khanna returns after serving their suspensions.

LFA only voted them into office at the end of 2015 for a three year term in office and last year was their first year in office. OFC suspended the duo for two years, just few months in to their three year term in office and they will return from their suspension to serve one year before LFA goes to its Elective Congress at the end of 2018.

LFA made arrangements within its executive committee, elevating its Senior Vice President to Acting President and elevated its Judiciary Chairman to look after JVP position.

But, PNGFA kept on insisting and with the help of small faction of pro- Chung LFA clubs tried unsuccessfully to remove the LFA executive which supported John Kapi Natto and PNGFA resorted to suspending LFA, without any basis when it couldn’t have its way.

LFA and all the associations suspended were never given a fair and just hearing by PNGFA so they could explain their sides of the stories and defend themselves. PNGFA acted dictatorially and never accorded fair justice to the suspended associations.

The seven were provisionally suspended, they are still provisionally suspended because the Congress in Kimbe was illegal and couldn’t enforce the suspensions.

PNGFA was supposed to hold its AGM in August, 2016 but it moved it to February 2017 and further brought it forward to 28th December 2016.

All these were done when the Chung led executives term from August 2012 to August 2016 in office had lapsed and all the decisions and suspensions were made after their term in office had expired.

PNGFA, through its General Secretary, created the break up in soccer in PNG and not John Kapi Natto.

PNGFA must admit and cop the blame for what is happening in soccer in this country.

Andrew Nirik Matta

Acting President- LFA

Lae

Morobe Province