Friday, December 31, 2010

CEO under scrutiny

 Papua New Guinea Sports Foundation chief executive officer Iamo Launa has come under fire from staffers within her own organisation for what they claim are numerous breaches of mismanagement and misappropriation of funds, The National reports.

The log of evidence collected and documented by her subordinates is hefty.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a well-placed source at the PNGSF head office in Port Moresby claimed the list of questionable practices was sizable and warranted investigation.

These are serious allegations and if they were not backed by documented evidence then one would think that the CEO would have taken immediate legal recourse to defend her reputation.

But that has not happened.

Initially when the “file of complaints” was circulated to the PNGSF board chairman Graham Osborne and Sports Minister Philemon Embel, as well as various other institutions, including the media earlier in the month, Launa, was called in by Osborne to explain – which she did.

Osborne came out publically this week backing the PNGSF CEO and stating that he still has faith and confidence in her to lead the government body.

He is currently reviewing the file and Launa’s acquittals and will decide if further action needs to be taken.

Osborne said the allegations originated from within the PNGSF office from individuals who were unhappy with Launa’s leadership.

He claimed that these persons had themselves been subject to investigation for various improprieties and, as such, had suspicious motives.

Regardless of the issue of motive, the fact remains that Launa must answer for actions pertaining to the use of funds and, in some cases, taking liberties with her position.

The instigators have also questioned Osborne’s authority in the matter claiming his stewardship of the board is in effect null in deliberating on the issue.

They said because the board’s term expired seven months ago, his acting position did not preclude him to decide Launa’s fate as would be the case if he were the fully fledged chairman.

The point though seems moot as Osborne is all but certain to retain the chairmanship once the national executive council meets next month to make a raft of decisions, which have hitherto been delayed.

The question now is if Osborne finds no reason to take further action, after reviewing the file and is satisfied with the acquittals, should the matter be pursued?

It should not, because Osborne is the chairman whose job it is to handle that area of executive management.

Attention should then focus on just how the PNGSF, a lesser known institution than its more popular partner the PNG Sports Federation, is being run by the current executive, namely Iamo Launa.

Being liked by your subordinates, however, is not a prerequisite for the top management position.

But having a good rapport with those under you and, more importantly, having their respect goes a long way in achieving not only the bigger goals of the institution but indeed the everyday running of the PNGSF office.

Several sources within and outside the foundation claim that Launa “is hard to get along with” and portrays a demeanor that is not easily liked.

Furthermore, her leadership skills have been criticised by some observers who claim that she simply does not have the acumen to run a national body.

However, there could also be a cultural aspect at play here with the unease from certain pockets of the PNGSF workforce emanating from the fact that she is, a woman in charge.

When Launa was appointed to the position in 2008 she had beaten out two other male candidates with the backing of the then Sports Minister Dame Carol Kidu.

Although her ascension raised a few eyebrows at the time she was more or less given the benefit of the doubt.

Will she be given a pass this time or should she earn it?


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