Vunipola hits back after former interim CEO claims voting was unconstitutional

    Tonga Rugby Union interim chair Feʻao Vunipola has gone public on his side of the latest dispute that engulf the TRU after former CEO Fuka Kitekeiʻaho talked to Kaniva  News.

    Vunipola said he had intended to keep his side of the story until the dispute went to arbitration, but had decided to talk openly about the issue.

    Kitekeiʻaho and his supporters launched an arbitration application claiming Vunipola’s election as the TRU’s interim acting president was unconstitutional.

    They alleged that representatives from the outer islands who helped elect Vunipola  should not have been allowed to vote because they had not held district rugby competitions in the past four years.

    Their votes were therefore unconstitutional, they claimed.

    Vunipola claimed Kitekeiʻaho still held ill feelings after the TRU refused to confirm him as CEO after he had held the post as an interim appointment for two years.

    He told Kaniva  News he had been advised by his lawyer that Kitekeiʻaho’s complaint was unconstitutional because it should have been brought under the rules of the Tongatapu Rugby Sub-Union Clubs.

    Vunipola said the complaint by Kitekeiʻaho and his supporters was invalid because the complainants were not members of the union, but only representatives.

    He said a member was referred to the vahefonua or the district unions in Tongatapu, ʻEua, Haʻapai and Vavaʻu as stipulated by the constitutions clauses 11 and 15 and not the rugby clubs.

    The complainants were representatives of rugby clubs which came under the Tongatapu Rugby Sub-unions, Vunipola said.

    Clause 11 of the Tonga Rugby Union Incorporated says:

    Members of the union

    • The Members of the Union shall consist of the:-
    • Officers of the Union;
    • Directors of the Board of Directors, representing the Rugby Sub-Unions; and
    • Rugby Sub-Unions.

    Vunipola said the constitution required complaints of this nature to be submitted through the executive committee and the president of the Rugby Sub-Unions to reduce the costs and time spent on unnecessary complaints made by sub-rugby unions.

    He said there was no section in the constitution that said members attending an AGM would be stripped of their rights if they breached the clause 15 which deals with the powers and duties of rugby sub-unions and clause 17 which deals with Members of the Union as Rugby Sub-Unions.

    There was no provision in the constitution’s clause 17 that said the members of the TRU attending an AGM should be stripped of their entitlement to vote if they did not hold rugby competitions within their districts.

    He said Kitekei’aho’s complaint should have been raised at the annual general meeting and left to the meeting to decide whether or not to disqualify votes.

    The TRU went into receivership last year and an arrangement was made to make regular payments of US$1000/TP$2199/NZ$1477 to Carinat Sport Market to cover a TP$300,000/NZ$201,000 debt.

    Kitekei’aho claimed when Vunipola became chair of the TRU he stopped the payments. However, Vunipola said he wanted to keep making the monthly payment to Carinat,  but the TRU had no money to make the payments.

    Vunipola told Radio New Zealand International yesterday the TRU was trying to find a solution to its financial crisis. He told RNZI the TRU could not pay its staff and trying to work with the government to find a way to honour its debts.

    He said financial support from rugby’s world body had been withheld for the past year.

    Vunipola said he wanted to apologise to Kitekeiʻaho and his family “but it’s time to move on because our rugby has been suffering from poor governance for so long.”

    He said that as the interim chair of the TRU he was “working on a voluntary basis to support and help Tonga Rugby to achieve its former glory.”

    The main points

    • Tonga Rugby Union interim chair Feʻao Vunipola has gone public with his side of the latest dispute to engulf the TRU after former CEO Fuka Kitekei’aho talked to Kaniva News.
    • Kitekiʻaho and his supporters have launched an arbitration application claiming Vunipola’s election as the TRU’s interim acting president was unconstitutional.
    • Vunipola told Kaniva News he had been advised by his lawyer that Kitekeiʻahoʻs complaint was unconstitutional because it should have been brought under the rules of the Tongatapu Rugby Sub-Union Clubs.
    • Vunipola said that as the interim chair of the TRU he was “working on a voluntary basis to support and help Tonga Rugby to achieve its former glory.”

    Read more:

    TRU chaos looms as it faces arbitration over claims that AGM was unconstitutional

    1 COMMENT

    1. Mafuta ʻa Vunipola hili ia hono pehē ʻe he CEO fakataimi ki muʻá naʻe taʻe fakakonisitūtone ʻa e filí.

      Kuo fakahā ʻe he Sea Fakataimi ʻo e ʻIunioni ʻAkapulu ʻa Tongá (ʻIʻAT) ʻa ʻene tafaʻakí ʻi ha fekehekeheʻaki ne toki hokó ni ʻo maʻungatāmaki ai e ʻIʻAT hili ia ha talanoa ʻa e CEO leʻoleʻo ki muʻá Fuka Kitekeiʻaho ki he Ongoongo ʻa e Kanivá.

      Pehē ʻe Vunipola ne ʻai pe ke longo pē mo ʻene tafaʻakí kae ʻoua kuo fakahoko ʻa e fakamāú ka kuó ne pehē ke lea ā ia he kaveingá ni.
      Kuo fakahū atu ʻe Kitekeiʻaho mo hono kau poupoú ha kole ke fakahoko ha fakamaau pe ʻapituleisini he naʻe taʻefakakonisitūtone ʻa hono fili ʻo Feʻao ke ne hoko ko e palesiteni leʻoleʻó.
      Tukuakiʻi ʻe he lāunga ko ʻení naʻe ʻikai totonu ke kau mai ʻa e kau fakafofonga mei tahí ʻi ha fakataha fakataʻu ne fili ai ʻa Feʻao he taʻu kuo ʻosí koeʻuhi he ne teʻeki ai ke nau fakalele ha feʻauhi fakavahe ʻi he taʻu ʻe fā kuohilí.

      Ko ia ai ko ʻenau voutí ne taʻe fakakonisitūtone.

      ʻOku tukuakiʻi ʻe Vunipola ngali ʻoku kei mamahi pe ʻa Kitekeiʻaho hili ia hano ʻikai tali ʻe he poaté ke ne maʻu ʻa e lakanga CEO talu ia ʻi ha taʻu ʻe ua ʻene pukepuke mai ʻa e lakanga CEO leʻoleʻó.

      Pehē ʻe Feʻao ki he Ongoongo ʻa e Kanivá ko e faleʻi ko ē ʻene loeá kau ki he lāunga ʻa Kitekeiʻahó ʻoku taʻe fakakonisitūtone koeʻuhī he naʻe tonu ke fakahū mai ia ʻi ha tuʻutuʻuni ʻa e Vahe Tongatapú.

      Toe pehē foki ʻe Vunipola ko e lāunga ʻa Kitekeiʻahó mo hono kau poupoú ʻoku taʻeʻaonga koʻeuhī he ko e kau lāungá ʻoku ʻikai ko ha kau mēmipa ʻo e ʻiunioní ka ko e kau fakafofonga pe kinautolu.

      Naʻe pehē ʻe Vunipola:

      1) Koe launga ko eni oku ‘ikai fakakonisitutone he na’e totonu ke fakafou mai he Vahe Tongatapu ke fakamahino ‘oku Nau ‘ihe malumalu ‘oe Vahe Tongatapu pe Tongatapu Rugby Sub-Union.

      ‘Ihe kupu 31 ‘o e Konisitutone, koe launga pehe ni ke fai ‘ehe Kau Memipa; ‘aia koe Memipa ‘oku ‘ikai ‘uhinga ki he ngaahi kalapú ka koe Ngaahi Vahe Fonuá ‘o hange ko e Vahe Tongatapu,Vava’u,Ha’apai mo ‘Eua fakataha mo e toenga e ngaahi mēmipa ‘oku ha kakato he Kupu 11 moe 15 ‘o e konisitūtone.

      Ko e lāunga leva ko ení, ‘oku ‘ikai ko ha lāunga ia mei ha mēmipa ka koe kau fakafofonga pe eni e ngaahi kalapu ‘oku nau ‘i he malumalu ‘o e Vahe Tongatapu pea kanoni’aki ‘a e mahino na’e ‘ikai fakapaasi meihe Komiti Pule ‘oe Vahe Tongatapu ‘a ee ‘oku ‘i Loto ai ‘ae Vahe Kolofo’ou,Vahe Kolomotu’a,Vahe Hihifo,Vahe Loto mo Vahe Hahake.

      Ko e lāunga foki na’e fai, ko e Kau fakafofonga kotoa e ngaahi kalapu he malumalu ‘o Tongatapu. Kuo holomui e ni’ihi he kau lāungá he ‘enau toki mahino’i na’e kehe e me’a na’e fakamatala ange ‘e Fuká moe taumu’a totonu ‘ene lāunga.

      Mahino pe koe ‘uhinga ‘oku fiema’u ai ke fakafou mai e ngaahi lāunga pehe ni he komiti Pule mo e Palesiteni ‘o e ngaahi Vahe Fonuá pe Sub-Union ke fakasi’isi’i e fakamole pa’anga moe taimi ‘i ha mamahi pe ha kalapu ia ha me’a pea kole leva ia ke fai ha fakatonutonu fakalao ‘o hangē ko e lāunga ko eni ‘oku teke mai ‘e Fuká, ko e lau ia ʻa Feʻaó.

      Ko e lāunga ko ʻeni ‘o fekau’aki mo e ‘ikai fakalele ha fe’auhi ‘akapulu ‘a ia ‘oku ha he kupu 17 ‘o e konisitūtoné naʻe pehē ʻe Feʻaó ʻoku ‘ikai hā ‘i he kupu ko iá kapau ‘e ‘ikai fai ha ngaue ki ai ‘a e Ngaahi Iunioni ‘Akapulu īkí, pea ‘e to’o leva ha ngaahi monū’ia pe koe mafai ke to’o e ngofua ke paloti ‘ihe Fakataha ‘ae Iunioni.

      Pea uá,’oku ‘ikai tu’utu’uni ‘ehe Konisitutone kuo pau ke to’o ha mafai paloti ha Memipa Kapau ‘oku Nau maumau’i ‘ae Kupu 15 & 17.

      Pehē Feʻaó na’e totonu ke ‘ave ‘ae lāungá ni ki he Fakataha Lahi ke toki tu’utu’uni ke to’o ‘a e ngaahi monu’iá pe mo e mafai ke paloti ‘i he fakataha lahí.

      He koe mafai ke to’o ha mafai ke paloti ‘oku fakahoko ia ‘e he Fakataha Lahi kapau ‘oku ‘ikai talangofua ha taha kihe Kupu 15 pe 17 pe ‘e he Komiti Talangofua, kapau kuo faka’ilo ha memipa pe ha taha ngaue ki hono maumau’i Mamafa ‘ae Ngaahi Tu’utu’uni kihe ‘Ulungaanga.

      ‘Oku ‘ikai ko ha tuhu holo eni,koe feinga eni ha founga ‘e lava ai hano tā e fu’u mo’ua ni he tahaní te tau tuputuplefonua pe pea pulia atu.

      Na’a ku faka’amu ke lava e totongi $1000 ‘Amelika he māhina ki he Carinat ka ko e ‘aii ke totongi ‘aki e hā kuo maha pakupaku e lepá he’enau ngaue, ko Feʻao ia.

      Ko e sponsor ena na’e ma’u maii meia Finau Maka kuo toe fiema’u ia ke totongi fakafoki ange.

      Kole fakamole mole atu aipe heni Kia koe Fuka mo hono famili but it’s time to move on because our rugby had been/is suffering from poor governance for so long.

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