Auckland’s Home of Football project ran $10m over budget before Fifa sent auditors in

OFC president David Chung shakes hands with Auckland football players ahead of the OFC President’s Cup match in November 2014.

An Auckland football project at the centre of a Fifa investigation was delivered two years late and more than $10 million over budget – and it’s still only half complete.

Fifa’s Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) president David Chung quit last week after an audit into OFC’s Home of Football project, being built in the Auckland suburb of St Johns, triggered an investigation into “potential wrongdoings”.

The Serious Fraud Office has been made aware of the audit but would not comment further.

Work has stalled on stage two of the Home of Football, five years after the project started first started.

The project, paid for by Fifa, was to be built in two stages. The first has been completed and includes two artificial football turfs, changing room facilities and flood lights.

READ MORE: Fifa boss resigns after audit into Auckland football project reveals ‘potential wrongdoings’

The second stage, which has not been built, was to include a multi-million dollar building with meeting rooms, offices for up to 100 people, a fitness centre, cafe, seating for 2000 people and an indoor sports facility.

OFC, which includes New Zealand and other football-playing nations in the Pacific, is seeking a 30-year lease on the site at Ngahue Reserve on College Rd, conditional on Auckland Council and Ōrākei Local Board approval, which had not yet been granted.

Ōrākei Local Board deputy chairman Kit Parkinson said the project, built on an old landfill, had not cost ratepayers a cent.

Auckland Council ordered a stop to work in December after OFC failed to gain consent, Parkinson said.

Parkinson said other than some foundation work, nothing had been done on stage two.

“There’s basically nothing there.”

The centre was intended to be a public facility 70 per cent of the time and available for OFC to use 30 per cent of the time.

Auckland councillor Desley Simpson, who was Ōrākei Local Board chairwoman during early negotiations with OFC, said in 2013 stage one of the project was estimated to cost $5.3m.

Simpson said Auckland Council figures supplied to her said OFC’s 2016 financial report had costs to date of $12.8m for stage one and $3.1m for stage two, giving a total of $15.9m.

The report was not available on OFC’s website.

The project was due to be completed in 2016, OFC said.

In light of the audit, commissioned by Fifa and conducted by PWC, OFC had appointed an external lawyer to lead an investigation into “potential wrongdoings and to take legal action”, if required, it said.

In the project’s early stages Fifa had agreed to fund up to $13.3m with $6.7m coming from OFC.

Chung was the president of OFC since the project started.

Simpson said OFC had been difficult to deal with and its relationship with Auckland Council had been “tense”.

The local board only agreed to the development unless it got exactly what it wanted, which was a community asset, she said.

However, OFC tried to change the terms of use after the project was underway. In particular it wanted more use of the field, which overlapped into community use time, she said.

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NEC Approves New Energy Policy

PC Online

THE National Executive Council (NEC) has approved the National Energy Policy.

With the motto of “Harnessing Energy for Life” and covering all aspects of the energy sector, the main objective of the policy is to deliver electricity services for economic growth and rural development.

Minister for Communication and Information Technology and Energy Sam Basil said electricity in the country has only reached 13 per cent and successive governments have ignored the importance of an energy policy which drives the development and utilisation of our renewable natural energy sources.

“Energy policy which fully utilises our renewable energy resources to provide the energy needs of our people and the economy is well overdue. Indeed it has taken more than 40 years since independence for such a policy to be adopted for our country.

“The new policy provides for development and utilisation of these sources of energy, including hydro, solar, wind, biomass, biogas, ocean, coal, geothermal and downstream petroleum products to generate power.

“Specific sub-sector policies will be developed to ensure that each source of energy is given appropriate government attention in realising its potential in meeting the energy needs of our country and even exporting some of our energy overseas,” Mr Basil said.

He said this policy sets the roadmap for reforms in the energy sector including the electricity services industry, setting in place new institutional and regulatory arrangements, to harness the full economic potential of our natural energy resources.

“The new policy also establishes a licensing system for supply of electricity by undertakers in generation, transmission, distribution and retailing of power to the consumers. Review of legislation is necessary to ensure there is no conflict of laws in the implementation of it.

“Legislation is required to ensure that power supply through main power grids and off-grid systems are operated under appropriate laws on level playing fields and in accordance with international standards,” Mr Basil said.

Further reforms through the new policy will result in the transmission, distribution and retailing of power supply markets open for competition.

A new tariff system will be introduced for power supply generated from renewable energy sources. Appropriate tariff and possibly other incentives for each renewable energy source is vital for encouraging the development of each renewable energy source.

Dr Malau appointed as ESP administrator

The National Executive Council made the decision

Dr Malau took over from the acting Administrator Richard Kombo.

Dr Malau’s credentials include being PNG’s Health Secretary from 2007 to 2011, working with the World Health Organization in Fiji, Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at Divine Word University and his role in helping to strengthen health systems in Timor Leste.

Dr Malau prior to his appointment said he was motivated to support a leader like East Sepik Governor Governor Allan Bird in his aspirations to make a difference for the people of the East Sepik Province and be an example to the rest of PNG.

He said he is capable of taking up the provincial administrator’s position despite a background in health due to his credentials with Harvard University.

Malau added that Harvard public health taught him the values of humanity: Fairness, justice, equality, and using evidence for decision making in public health practice.

Dr Malau said this opportunity of being a provincial administrator therefore, excited him to go beyond the health focus and manage other factors that enable all our people to be happy, healthy and wise.

PNGFA President steps down

President of Papua New Guinea Football Association, David Chung, has resigned from his position effective immediately.
In a media conference today, PNGFA Senior Vice President John Wesley Gonjuan confirmed that David Chung has resign as President of PNGFA when he resign as President of OFC and Senior Vice President of FIFA.

David Chung
Gonjuan offers his gratitude and thankyou to the outgoing PNGFA President for developing number of projects including National Soccer League, Education Centre, Under 19 youth development project under the Besta Sponsorship, instrumental in pushing for two slots for OFC in the FIFA Youth Championships (U17 & U20 men), initiated with the current FIFA Executive to increase-in funding to FIFA member association and bringing the U-20 Women’s World Cup to Papua New Guinea.
Gonjuan also stated that the PNGFA is the legitimate member association of OFC and FIFA, therefore continues to function as the national governing body of football in Papua New Guinea.“To ensure good governance and accountability at all levels, the Executive Committee of PNGFA will adhere to the status of Papua New Guinea Football Association and comply with the process in electing a new President of PNGFA.”“In the meantime, its business as usual at PNG Football Association, we will continue on with the planned activities for the year which includes, National Soccer League, National Youth tournaments during the school holidays, Besta FA Cup Regional & Finals, Women’s Regional Tournament, Referees & Coaching development programs, PNGFA Football Development Programs and Education Centre Program.” says Gonjuan. PNGFA hereby encourage our member associations who have strayed from PNG Football Association to come forward and communicate with the Secretariat to rectify their situations and comply with the PNG Football Association Statutes requirements


In a media conference today, PNGFA Senior Vice President John Wesley Gonjuan confirmed that David Chung has resign as President of PNGFA when he resign as President of OFC and Senior Vice President of FIFA.

David Chung
Gonjuan offers his gratitude and thankyou to the outgoing PNGFA President for developing number of projects including National Soccer League, Education Centre, Under 19 youth development project under the Besta Sponsorship, instrumental in pushing for two slots for OFC in the FIFA Youth Championships (U17 & U20 men), initiated with the current FIFA Executive to increase-in funding to FIFA member association and bringing the U-20 Women’s World Cup to Papua New Guinea.
Gonjuan also stated that the PNGFA is the legitimate member association of OFC and FIFA, therefore continues to function as the national governing body of football in Papua New Guinea.“To ensure good governance and accountability at all levels, the Executive Committee of PNGFA will adhere to the status of Papua New Guinea Football Association and comply with the process in electing a new President of PNGFA.”“In the meantime, its business as usual at PNG Football Association, we will continue on with the planned activities for the year which includes, National Soccer League, National Youth tournaments during the school holidays, Besta FA Cup Regional & Finals, Women’s Regional Tournament, Referees & Coaching development programs, PNGFA Football Development Programs and Education Centre Program.” says Gonjuan. PNGFA hereby encourage our member associations who have strayed from PNG Football Association to come forward and communicate with the Secretariat to rectify their situations and comply with the PNG Football Association Statutes requirements

David Chung
Gonjuan offers his gratitude and thankyou to the outgoing PNGFA President for developing number of projects including National Soccer League, Education Centre, Under 19 youth development project under the Besta Sponsorship, instrumental in pushing for two slots for OFC in the FIFA Youth Championships (U17 & U20 men), initiated with the current FIFA Executive to increase-in funding to FIFA member association and bringing the U-20 Women’s World Cup to Papua New Guinea.
Gonjuan also stated that the PNGFA is the legitimate member association of OFC and FIFA, therefore continues to function as the national governing body of football in Papua New Guinea.“To ensure good governance and accountability at all levels, the Executive Committee of PNGFA will adhere to the status of Papua New Guinea Football Association and comply with the process in electing a new President of PNGFA.”“In the meantime, its business as usual at PNG Football Association, we will continue on with the planned activities for the year which includes, National Soccer League, National Youth tournaments during the school holidays, Besta FA Cup Regional & Finals, Women’s Regional Tournament, Referees & Coaching development programs, PNGFA Football Development Programs and Education Centre Program.” says Gonjuan. PNGFA hereby encourage our member associations who have strayed from PNG Football Association to come forward and communicate with the Secretariat to rectify their situations and comply with the PNG Football Association Statutes requirements

“To ensure good governance and accountability at all levels, the Executive Committee of PNGFA will adhere to the status of Papua New Guinea Football Association and comply with the process in electing a new President of PNGFA.”“In the meantime, its business as usual at PNG Football Association, we will continue on with the planned activities for the year which includes, National Soccer League, National Youth tournaments during the school holidays, Besta FA Cup Regional & Finals, Women’s Regional Tournament, Referees & Coaching development programs, PNGFA Football Development Programs and Education Centre Program.” says Gonjuan. PNGFA hereby encourage our member associations who have strayed from PNG Football Association to come forward and communicate with the Secretariat to rectify their situations and comply with the PNG Football Association Statutes requirements

Team Wellington in ruthless form smashing Lae City Dwellers

FIFA Vice President David Chung Quits After Audit Raises Questions

The head of the smallest of FIFA’s six global confederations suddenly resigned on Friday, surrendering his seat on FIFA’s ruling council and becoming the latest senior soccer executive to depart the sport amid accusations of corruption.

David Chung, right, resigned Friday as the president of one of FIFA’s six confederations after an audit raised questions about a multimillion-dollar construction project.CreditRichard Heathcote/Getty Images

The executive, David Chung, was the president of the Oceania Football Confederation, whose 14 members wield little power competitively or politically in FIFA. But Chung, of Papua New Guinea, had outsize influence as the most senior of FIFA’s eight vice presidents.

Chung cited personal reasons for his decision, but the announcement came as he found himself under mounting pressure to step down after an audit into a multimillion-dollar project to build a new headquarters for the O.F.C.

Chung’s exit, only days before the O.F.C.’s annual meeting and two months before the World Cup opens in Russia, raised unwelcome questions for FIFA about the probity of the leaders who run the world’s most popular sport. Chung had led the 14-member regional body, made up of New Zealand and a handful of Pacific nations, since 2010, when his predecessor was caught in a vote-selling sting by undercover reporters. In 2015, a broad investigation led by the United States Department of Justice revealed corruption was deeply embedded at the highest levels of world soccer.

O.F.C. members were planning to suspend Chung for a “gross dereliction of duty or an act of improper conduct” at Sunday’s annual meeting, according to documents and emails reviewed by The New York Times. That followed details in a forensic audit conducted on behalf of FIFA by accountants from PwC, and also reviewed by The Times, which raised the possibility of fraud and bribery in the construction project.

Chung did not respond to a request for comment. But he denied the allegations related to the construction project in a letter to a member of the O.F.C.’s board without providing details, saying he would only discuss the matter with his lawyer to protect his innocence.

FIFA issued a two-sentence statement acknowledging Chung’s resignation and quickly removed his biography from its website, before later confirming that the investigation had highlighted “potential irregularities in the construction process of the OFC Home of Football.”

FIFA said it has suspended its financial support to the confederation because of the issues raised by the review. FIFA typically pays $10 million a year to each of its six confederations.

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Chung’s departure leaves the Asian Football Confederation as the only regional body to retain the same president as it did in May 2015, when the United States unveiled details of a sprawling scheme of corruption going back more than two decades. That case led to charges against the leaders of the two confederations based in the Americas. Internal investigations later yielded multiyear bans for the former leaders of FIFA and European soccer’s governing body, UEFA. Africa’s longtime president was toppled in an election last year.

The ousters of his peers left the Malaysian-born Chung as the most senior of FIFA’s vice presidents, a designation that carried with it a $300,000 annual salary and the position of first replacement for FIFA’s president, Gianni Infantino.

Chung also was an enthusiastic early supporter of the joint North American bid to stage the World Cup in 2026, pledging his confederation’s collective support as far back as April 2017.

The audit of the O.F.C. started a year after Infantino’s election in 2016, after FIFA found discrepancies with the headquarters project for which FIFA, then headed by Sepp Blatter, had provided a $10 million loan. O.F.C.’s longtime secretary general, Tai Nicholas, suddenly quit in December, also citing personal reasons.

The audit found that Chung and Nicholas, without issuing a tender, had hired a company with no experience of the work required for the design of the project, which involved building offices, two soccer fields and other facilities in Auckland, New Zealand.

Investigators then found a series of close relationships between companies advising the O.F.C. on the project and picked to complete the project. All the companies were set up shortly before being awarded contracts, “with no track record of experience, and subcontracted their works to other companies,” an executive summary of the PwC report stated. It found that a separate company set up by Chung might have had links to one hired to work on the project.The accountants suggested FIFA go to court to find out more. “Due the limitations in assessing the financial records of the external parties it is recommended to commence civil proceedings in New Zealand in order to get access to these records, substantiate or refute the concerns with regards to bribery and corruption this review has raised, and ultimately attempt to recover any potential losses from the third parties,” the report, code-named Project Gunemba, concluded.Details of the investigation’s findings were sent to members of the O.F.C. executive board, leading the president of Tahiti’s soccer federation, Thierry Ariiotima, to email Chung last week to explain that he expected FIFA would “suspend you very shortly.”

“Based on the documents that I received which are compromising, I invite you to take the right decision in order to protect O.F.C.,” Ariiotima wrote. “As a friend, and FTF president, I sincerely believe dear president that the best decision would be for you to resign immediately.”

The president of New Zealand’s federation, Deryck Shaw, separately wrote to O.F.C. colleagues, telling them “there is very strong evidence to suggest there has been systemic corruption at the highest level within the OFC.” Shaw said he understood the PwC report also had been sent to New Zealand’s Serious Fraud Office.

FIFA declined to say if its ethics body was investigating Chung. That department remains one of the busiest at FIFA; when Infantino removed its two top officials last year, the officials claimed the move would affect “hundreds” of continuing cases.

Hunters to overcome loss of Star power

The news came quite suddenly last weekend – one of the stars of the Intrust Super Cup was playing his final game after deciding to swap his boot bag for a library card.

PNG Hunters fullback Stargroth Amean had approached his coach Michael Marum earlier in the week to tell him had made a decision about his future and – to the lament of fans of the Intrust Super Cup competition and beyond – this was away from the football field.

Amean (who was reportedly named after a Spanish film star by his movie-loving mother) had always wanted to be a doctor and felt the time was right to convert his part-time studies in science into a full-time dedication in order to help him achieve his dream.

While obviously disappointed to be losing such a valued member of his squad, all Marum could do was wish him well.

Besides; this is far from the first time Marum’s been forced to farewell a talent he’s played an integral part in shaping, and it won’t be the last.

In some ways, the success of the PNG Hunters and their football program can at times work against them, as it teaches young men to believe in themselves and pushes them to work hard to strive toward their goals.

Michael Marum and members of the PNG Hunters team with the 2017 minor premiers shield.
Michael Marum and members of the PNG Hunters team with the 2017 minor premiers shield.

As Marum is continuing to discover, instilling discipline can help his players eventually further their footballing careers by signing with overseas clubs, like the brothers Wellington and Stanton Albert, now at the Widnes Vikings; or they can find fulfilling employment outside of football completely.

“I knew he was doing part-time studies since last year and during preseason … but he didn’t mention (anything about stepping down) til just on Tuesday night when he came into my office and informed me of his decision,” Marum said of how Amean broke the news to him.

The inaugural coach of the Hunters since they entered the competition in 2014, Marum has previously seen rampaging winger Garry Lo head to England in his quest to play Super League, overseen the signing of Justin Olam with the Melbourne Storm (now playing for the Sunshine Coast); while former captain and the club’s all-time leading point scorer Noel Zeming decided to leave the Hunters to pursue a career in teaching.

Garry Lo playing for the Hunters in 2014.
Garry Lo playing for the Hunters in 2014.

Despite having to deal with the departures of key personnel after investing considerable efforts into promoting their wellbeing and development, the PNG Kumuls coach was proud of the expectations placed on his charges.

“We have set high standards at our club and in order to be successful, and (players) have to abide by (them),” Marum said.

He also acknowledged that players who meet these standards would soon discover their own ability to achieve, meaning they could be lost to other endeavours.

“Yes definitely; they gain a lot of confidence from what we try to enforce to them in order to become successful,” he said.

“Hopefully a lot of them go out and apply what they have learnt from the team.”

While there is nothing preventing the Hunters from trying to lure an established talent from other clubs in the competition to fill the void left by a player like Amean, the club is committed to providing pathways – football or otherwise – for Papua New Guineans, despite the challenges.

“It’s very tough when you invest a lot of time into players that you think will do well for you and then lose them to study and work,” Marum admitted.

“Bringing in players from our local Digicel Cup clubs is what we are doing (as this forms) a pathway for our PNG boys to expose their talents outside of the country.

“But they come from a lower level of competition and we are working hard on how we can close the gap in between.”

Stargroth Amean always seemed to know when a camera was around.
Stargroth Amean always seemed to know when a camera was around.

A fan favourite, the retirement of Hunter #27 (who played 64 games and scored 37 tries) will be a difficult one to manage as he was a key pillar in their premiership success last year.

“We will certainly miss his presence on the field, but we have to move on and work with who we have and put trust in him that he can do the same,” Marum said of his side’s focus going forward.

As well as his obvious skills with the ball; the loss off of Amean’s leadership and experience will leave another huge void to fill.

Marum said the team would also miss his presence off the field, with the former Viper known for his upbeat personality and his absolute love of the camera.

“He loves pictures,” Marum said.

“The boys will miss seeing him taking selfies whenever we (are) anywhere near cameras.”

The PNG Hunters travel to Bishop Park this Saturday to face the Norths Devils at 5.30pm.

Auditor General arrested for fraud

Director of the National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate, Mathew Damaru confirmed that Nauga was arrested with charges of abuse of office, conspiracy to defraud, and misappropriation of 247,500 thousand kina.

The charges emanated from an allegation that two audit contracts were awarded to Frank Benabo and associates, to conduct an audit inspection on Aitapei District’s DSIP books in 20-12 at the cost of 123, 750 kina.

The other contract was awarded to Mendi District DSIP in 20-12 at the same cost as the previous contract but for a lesser period of time.

Investigations revealed that Nauga convened a meeting to approve thetenders without a tender’s brief and proper evaluation reports from the secretariat in line with standard procedures.

Based on the findings Nauga was invited to the National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate on Tuesday where he was interviewed than charged and taken to the Boroko police cells.

He is set to appear in court this week.

Trump conveys sympathy to earthquake devastated Papua New Guinea

President of the United States, Donald Trump has conveyed his sympathy to Papua New Guinea following the recent devastating earthquake that hit the Highlands of the Pacific Island nation.

trump-affair

Trump wrote a letter to the office of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill expressing his sympathy on the devastating disaster in the Highlands of PNG. According to Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s office, the letter written and signed by Mr Trump was delivered last week. Mr Trump is looking forward to attend the APEC meeting in PNG in November this year and expressed his sadness on those areas affected by the earthquake.

Boost for Hunters and Falcons as rivalry resumes

Cult hero Stargroth Amean has won back the starting fullback role for the PNG Hunters, while captain Dane Hogan will return for Sunshine Coast Falcons, ahead of Sunday’s grand final rematch.

For full Round 3 Intrust Super Cup team lists CLICK HERE.

Their presence will bolster a much-anticipated XXXX Rivalry Round match-up between two sides kept apart by just two points at the culmination of last year’s thrilling Intrust Super Cup decider.

Both teams are coming off indifferent form, with PNG suffering a 26-14 loss to the Northern Pride in their last start after a win against Ipswich in round one, while Sunshine Coast beat Wynnum Manly 23-22after a loss to Burleigh the week before.

Amean is one of the best stories in the colourful landscape of PNG rugby league, a medical science student with dreams of becoming a doctor, and a survivor who has bounced back from several serious injuries.

He takes back the custodian duties from Alex Wera, who has moved to centre, while Bendon Goturo comes on to the wing and Nixon Putt slides in closer to the ruck at second row.

Sunshine Coast skipper Hogan returns after injuring his hamstring in the lead-up to last week’s game.

His return forces Louis Geraghty to the bench, while Harrison Muller comes in at lock, with Jacob Hind back to the interchange. Connor Donehue has been named on the bench as extra cover in jersey 19.

Elsewhere, there are some big names missing across the league, with eyes peeled to see if they become late inclusion on the weekend.

Todd Carney is due to miss a second straight game for the Northern Pride, while Ben Hannant’s brief debut in the Intrust Super Cup before injury sees him replaced by Christopher Law at Burleigh.

Easts has omitted Young Tonumaipe’a, Billy Walters and Brandon Smith, all of whom have been named on an extended bench for the Melbourne Storm, along with backrower Brett Greinke.

One interesting inclusion for the Tigers in jersey 18 is former Broncos and Knights up-and-comer Harry Pondekas, who last year played universities league with Australian Catholic University.

Joe Bond has been named in the five-eighth role usually occupied by Walters, while Kea Pere has been named in place of Tonumaipe’a.

Redcliffe has responded to two losses on the trot by apparently shaking up its front row.

Sam Anderson and Nathan Watts are named as the starting props, with Hugh Pratt at hooker, meaning Toby Rudolf and James Taylor slide to the bench and last week’s rake Jake Turpin is out.

The Dolphins face a Wynnum Manly side which has undergone few changes, with Patrick Carrigan replacing Alex Barr in the second row and Adam Tuimavave-Garrard coming on to the bench.

Mackay welcomes back influential five-eighth Nicho Hynes, with Mitchell Dunn reverting to the bench, while Kellen Jenner replaces Shane Wright in the forwards.

The Cutters oppse a CQ Capras team smarting after a 36-16 loss to Norths.

The Capras have shifted Zeik Foster from half to fullback, with Maipele Morseau out, Aaron Teroi coming in as the starting half, Bill Cullen at prop and James Hill in at lock.

At Davies Park, West End, Japanese and Torres Strait Islander-heritage player Gehamat Shibasaki will make his Cup debut for Norths in the centres, as the Devils take on the Souths Logan Magpies.

The Broncos Under 20 stand-out is joined in the Norths team by round one hero Alex Bishop who returns at hooker.

Souths Logan has just one change, with Sam Lavea named at prop and Rhys Melville reverting to the bench.