Court case reveals Tongan RL’s chaos

A current court case in Tonga shows, according to the judge, that the rugby league governing body in the island nation is in a state of extreme disorganisation.

Lord Chief Justice Paulsen in the Supreme Court of Tonga has branded the Tonga Natiional Rugby League (TNRL) as being “dysfunctional for years” after considering evidence.

Cash has gone missing, accounting systems are chaotic, accounts have not been audited for years, fraudulent elections have been held, the body’s own constitution has been violated and court orders ignored.

Now, the TNRL has been ordered to have its accounts from the last five years audited. Elections for new officers will also be held, and no funds will be allowed to spent on anything unauthorised by the TNRL board.

The details of the court orders are set to be finalised on Friday.

The case was brought by three members of the TNRL’s board of directors, Siliveinusi Taumoepeau, Tavake Fangupo and Taufa Fukofuka.

TNRL president Semisi Sika and chairman Stan Moheloa have been acting as defendants.

The judge revealed a catalogue of mismanagement, which included ignoring pervious orders made by his colleague Mr Justice Cato, had been ignored by the TNRL.

This had exacerbated the chaos at the TNRL, with one of the most serious allegations being that funds intended for player allowances at the 2013 World Cup ended up being misappropriated and used for other purposes.

“Surprisingly, given the serious allegations that have been made against them, the defendants did not give evidence and they did not call any witnesses to give evidence on their behalf,” Lord Chief Justice Paulsen said, according to the New Zealand Kaniva Pacific.

“Most of the plaintiffs’ evidence is effectively unchallenged.”

Final details of the ruling will be confirmed soon.


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