Sapias hits back

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PNG Rugby Football Union (PNGRFU) president Richard Sapias has labelled yesterday’s comments by the former vice-president Peter Tsiamalili Jr as an “indirect attack” on him and his current executive under the guise of concern for PNG rugby. 
Sapias was responding to comments about the direction that the PNGRFU were taking this year in relation to national development programmes and international competitions.
He said in a statement that a number of serious issues had been uncovered about Tsiamalili Jr under his former role with as the chief executive officer and consultant of the PNGRFU.
“Some of the issues include a possible situation of conflict between a sporting goods supply company and the PNGRFU, and questionable payments of K50,000 subject to an audit report, from government grants received in his former term,” he said.
Sapias said Tsiamalili Jr and all incoming executives had been given an equal opportunity to participate in their respective roles.
However, it was Tsiamalili, himself, who had distanced himself from the executive.
“National development of the code and the IRB are not a concern of Tsiamalili Jr after his resignation.
“He should focus on building the code in his area to the same level as other member unions within the NGI region and country,” Sapias said.
He added that his recent dealings with member unions and feedback from a recent retreat had been “cut back” on the previous administration, of which Tsiamalili was an integral part.He reiterated that much ground had to be made up since his appointment in restoring PNGRFU’s reputation with the IRB, as a credible and accountable entity.
“I will not be baited into discussions on the running of PNGRFU, by him particularly, given his previous track record,” Sapias said.
In regard to Tsiamalili’s comments on the isolation of outside centres from development, Sapias said he was committed to bringing accountability into PNGRFU and all prior dealings were being fully investigated, with a view to prosecution if warranted.
When contacted yesterday, Tsiamalili said: “All I did was raise a few points in the true name of rugby, but I guess all I can do now is call Richard (Sapias) up and talk this over.”
He said the K50,000 he received from PNGRFU was for commission for outsourcing funding for the union.
“I was not part of the governing body or PNGRFU when I helped outsource funding for rugby development,” Tsiamalili said.
PNGRFU could not source funds for their programmes so I assisted,” Tsiamalili Jr said.
He added that what transpired from the points he raised was not a personal attack and it was not good for the game now.