We continue highlighting the corruption and malfeasance at FIFA, hoping to reach out to relevant authorities to fast-track the agenda of impeaching President Gianni Infantino, who has now gone overboard in entrenching the worst possible tactics into securing his position, and undermining good governance; ironically the very platform that he was elected on.
Veron Mosengo-Omba, a Congolese refugee in Europe and the physical manifestation of the FIFA President Gianni Infantino’s personal nepotism and corruption, has once more clumsily shouldered his way into another African & Caribbean election stand-off, this time by weighing in his feather-light, misguided opinion on Kenya.
Unlike most other African countries, Kenya is an oddity because after years of sports wrangles and successive FIFA suspensions during the tumultuous noughties, this East African country, in a moment of rare mental clarity, came together and agreed on National legislation that would entrench the resolution of any and all sports related disputes into a home-grown mechanism, along the lines of the Court of Arbitration for Sports.
The aforementioned body for all Sports related disputes is called the SPORTS DISPUTES TRIBUNAL, a creature of Kenya’s expansive Sports Act 2013.
The Kenyan Sports Act 2013 set a grace period between its promulgation in 2010 and coming into force in 2013, for all recognized sports bodies (including the Kenyan Football Association – FKF) to have complied with its provisions, and therefore recognized under the Act.
The carrot and stick to this was that only the Sports Federations that were recognized under the Sports Act 2013 would be eligible for Government funding, which is carried out through another body created by the same Act, called the Sports Fund.
Kenyans and the World saw Football Kenya Federation (FKF) receive a grant from the Sports Fund of $2.5 million for its uninspired and lackadaisical performance at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2019 IN Egypt last European summer.
The enforcer for the Kenyan Sports Act 2013 is a technocrat by the title The Sports Registrar, who appears to attempt to both juggle and balance the realities of Kenyan Sports Federations, with the stringent requirements of the Act and allowed many of them to have provisional registration and recognition under the Act.
One such Federation is FKF, which despite being 7 years behind schedule in complying fully with the provisions of the Sports Act, continues to enjoy massive financial support for its National teams across the board.
To illustrate the level of entitlement within FKF, a google search on Kenyan news media, you would find anecdotes of comments made by FKF President Nick Mwendwa, for example accusing the immediate former top Kenya Government technocrat on Sports, a PS in the Sports Ministry by the name Kirimi Kaberia, of stifling the football aspirations of Kenyan National teams by slowing down the release of funds from the Sports Fund to FKF.
The Brouhaha arose after it emerged that FKF had presented fake and hugely inflated proforma invoices, supposedly from an Egyptian Hotel for accommodation and meals related to the National team during the AFCON.
The obviously manipulated invoices, in an exposé by some of the most credible Kenyan news media outlets, and which were later confirmed by the Egyptian hotel in question, showed that Mwendwa and FKF had sought to steal $40,000 from the Kenyan exchequer, and therefore its citizens.
It was outright theft because CAF normally takes care of all accommodation and meals for the entire entourage of National teams from the day they set foot in the host country until their departure.
This small example also explains why FIFA goes out of its way to ensure that there permanently exists a certain disconnect between African and Caribbean Football Federations and their Governments by occasionally screaming “Government interference!!” in order to ensure that the National criminal laws and penal code are NEVER enforced on football officials, while, on the other hand, keeping Government close enough to ensure that National teams continue to receive Government funding.
In the Kenyan case, the brazen case of fake invoices presented to Government by FKF should ordinarily have become a subject of a FIFA Ethics investigation, with Government input of evidence and statements, and which would ultimately have led to a FIFA sanction of the FKF officials involved.
But FIFA and especially its President Gianni Infantino loves familiarity, the tried and tested African and Caribbean FA Presidents who have already sworn fealty to him, as opposed to the possibility of new FA Presidents who may have split loyalties.
So Infantino has loosed his lapdog Mosengo-Omba on the African and Caribbean countries, who in turn has brought his brand of anarchy with him in the execution of his very simplistic mandate, which is to maintain the status quo of FA Presidents loyal to Infantino, by any means necessary!
Just last week, Mosengo-Omba installed a Normalization Committee in Trinidad & Tobago FA (TTFA), just two weeks after disbanding the duly elected FA, who had themselves just been elected to office a mere 5 months ago, in November 2019.
Apparently Infantino, who was accustomed to having a former TTFA President in office, the overly deferential David John-Williams (simply known as DJW), was shocked and dismayed when, despite his vocal support for DJW, he was trounced at the polls by the no-nonsense William Wallace.
Everyone in the World of football is scratching their heads, wondering why FIFA would disband a duly elected executive after only 5 months in office, only to replace it with a hand-picked set of Normalization committee members.
The TTFA fiasco is just but a pointer to the desperation by Infantino which is further compounded by recent events where global giant Confederations UEFA and CONMEBOL have banded together as a means of ensuring their continued financial viability and survival, following moves made by Infantino to literally cannibalize their competitions by unilaterally expanding existing FIFA competitions or conjuring up brand new ones, that would have bumped existing UEFA and CONMEBOL competitions out of the FIFA Calendar.
Mosengo – Omba, a former University classmate of Gianni Infantino where both studied Law, is a highly distrusted figure within FIFA, with career football technocrats preferring to steer clear of him, most fearing that he could trigger their sacking by the highly volatile Infantino.
Both Infantino and Moseng-Omba apparently skipped (during their University days) the philosophy class that taught the “consent of the governed” which refers to the idea that a government’s legitimacy and moral right to use state power is only justified and lawful when consented to by the people or society over which that political power is exercised.
This theory of consent is historically contrasted to the divine right of kings (which Infantino erroneously sees himself as wielding at FIFA).
UEFA, CONMEBOL and to a large extent AFC rightly feel that Infantino is using the power of suffrage at FIFA to disenfranchise them and their financial wellbeing by leveraging the many votes from Africa and the Caribbean (countries that have absolutely no interest in developing their football, rather willing to vote for any Infantino lunacy, in order to be granted carte blanche to steal FIFA funds without risk of accountability) in the FIFA congress.
After trying to reason with Infantino for some time, UEFA, CONMEBOL and AFC realized that trying to negotiate with Infantino while he wielded absolute power at the FIFA congress, would be akin to attempting to negotiate with a jacked-up suicide bomber, and they have now chosen to tread upon the “road less travelled”…
If both Infantino and Mosengo-Omba had attended business class, they would probably also have learnt of the “poison pill”, a type of defense tactic utilized by a target company to prevent or discourage attempts of a hostile takeover by an acquirer. Infantino, if he continues with this route will be taking FIFA through a period of a possible existential crisis.
In order to maintain some level of leverage in the FIFA Congress, Infantino and Mosengo-Omba therefore approach each successive African and Caribbean football election with rabid desperation and single-mindedness, which on most cases involves the desecration of the FIFA statutes or a show of their utter contempt for the laws of their mainly African and Caribbean countries.
The Kenya FA (FKF) election which was initially slated for late 2019 well illustrate this unwieldy scenario. The election would have marked the end of the 1st term tenure for the 41 year old Kenyan FA President, Nick Mwendwa.
However, like every other FA President in Africa and the Caribbean who has sought to lay a trap for his/her potential challengers, this troubled young soul waited until the last minute to pass legislation which essentially locked out his opponents from the FA elections, in the most crude and unsophisticated manner.
Mwendwa’s opponents rushed the matter to the Kenyan SDT where they won a famous victory, and Mwendwa was ordered to level the playing ground.
For example, the SDT ruled that the electoral code adopted by FKF was discriminatory and meant to lock out specific people from the running. The SDT also found that the composition of electoral board was not in-keeping with FIFA statutes as several members (most notably its President) were serving in the same capacity for the 2nd time.
Worse, one person chosen by FKF to be a member of the electoral board just also happened to be a Vice-President of the same SDT, to which any disputes would end up for resolution.
Both FIFA and FKF agreed with the ruling and immediately went about the business of leveling the playing field, and postponed elections to the 1st quarter of 2020.
All along, FIFA was on-board with the ruling of the SDT and even sent its representative Sarah Solemale to Nairobi in December 2019 for an update and to meet the various critical parties to the dispute, including the Sports Ministry and the SDT and agreed on a work-plan.
Towards the end of February, and in what can only be described as slap-stick comedy by FKF, they filed a case at SDT wherein they applied that the Sports Registrar be compelled to accept the returns from their then forthcoming grassroots elections, even before complying with all provisions of the Sports Act 2013.
They believed that the Sports Registrar was blocking them from conducting a fraudulent election, and which they believed was their inalienable right.
Secondly they wanted the SDT to rule that they had levelled the playing field for all those who wanted to participate in the elections.
This case (remember, filed by FKF) drew very many interested parties who enjoined themselves in the matter.
While the SDT allowed them to proceed to elections without fully complying with the Sports Act 2013 (most likely because compliance should never be tied to elections and should be a continuous process during the term of office), the Tribunal found that FKF had not adhered to its earlier ruling on levelling the playing ground for all contestants.
In-keeping with FIFA statutes, SDT therefore decided that the tenure of the current office was over and invited FIFA to install a Normalization committee, as it does in virtually every other African and Caribbean FA.
It was in reaction to this ruling that Veron Mosengo-Omba wrote his utterly contemptuous and dismissive letter to FKF, calling into question the jurisdiction of the SDT and wondering how FKF ended up placing itself under the jurisdiction of the SDT yet it was not carved out in the letter of the FKF Statutes!
Here is a thought, was Mosengo-Omba intimating to FKF that to allow itself to be bound by Kenyan Law, it would make it (FKF) vulnerable to Kenyan justice system and penal code in matters like the forged $40,000 invoice or more ominously the loss of $1.35 million in the staged fictitious purchase of a decommissioned OB Van?
The loss of $1.35 million by FKF was sanctioned and approved by this self-same Mosengo-omba much in the same way that he sanctioned the $2.5 million spend on the so-called Trinidad & Tobago FA’s “Home of Football” project during the time of DJW, and where over $2.1million remains unaccounted for.
Apparently questions into the project and lost funds by the new office of William Wallace led to their immediate disbandment and replacement with a pliable Normalization committee.
FKF would certainly be vulnerable to queries about their (mis)use of both Government and FIFA funds.
Should FKF and its officials be held to account for the massive loss of money meant for the development of the game locally, even if it means that it would incur the wrath of FIFA?
Does the fact the Mosengo-omba has proposed a meeting with all Kenyan football stakeholders really imply that he and by extension, Gianni Infantino, care for Kenyan football?
Well for sure, the inferences we can draw from the evidence presented by Infantino and Mosengo-Omba, they really do not give a damn about Kenya.
To be continued: (Part 2) Why Mosengo-Omba sees FKF vulnerability