Launa faces probe

Main Stories, Sports

The National – Friday, June 17, 2011

PNG Sports Foundation commissioners have called on Sports Minister Philemon Embel to immediately intervene to address the on-going allegations of mismanagement and misappropriation of sports public funds.
According to a letter dated June 15, obtained by The National, four commissioners (named) want the PNGSF board to deliberate over allegations against the foundation’s management, in particular its chief executive officer Iamo Launa.
The letter reads: “After the discussion, it was decided that the board cannot wait for the conclusion of any other inquiry that may or may not be occurring and for the chairman to present the paper work for the meeting including the board members to present any relevant papers.”
The letter further stated that  this had become a priority for the board because the allegations go to the heart of the CEO’s responsibilities which include procedures on financial management and the immediate future of the Sports Foundation and sports in the country.
The letter stated that the matter was serious and needed to be resolved to allow PNGSF to move on.
“Whether true or not the allegation must be dealt with to give every fairness to the ability of the board to work with the CEO and the Sports community.”
The National was reliably informed late yesterday that the PNGSF had K55,000 deposited into its account from an unnamed source, which is believed to be the outstanding levy fee for athletes who attended the Arafura Games last month.
Attempts to confirm the source of the funds were unsuccessful.
A board meeting which was supposed to be held yesterday was called off because chairman Graham Osborne and deputy Nellie McLay did were not present. Some of the major issues to be discussed at the board level include allegations of misappropriation by PNG Sports management and Launa; the use of public funds at the Arafura Games; and the preparations for the 2015 Pacific Games in Port Moresby.
The PNGSF as the lead agency is required to take a prominent role apart from other nominated bodies such as the local organising committee for the 2015 Games and the PNG Sports Federation and Olympic Committee.
Embel was disappointed with the whole issue but declined weigh into the matter.
According to reliable sources, Embel has expressed deep concern over the use of public funds, and is likely to push for the removal of Launa from the top sports position in the country.
Launa, for her part, has yet to make a public statement explaining her recent conduct with regards to the handling funds which were meant to assist athletes at last month’s Arafura Games in Darwin.