Authors: Robin Toskin and Charles Odero
AfricaPress-Kenya: FIFA’s Chief Member Associations Officer, Veron Mosengo-Omba, who has been in the recent past accused of his role in Football Kenya Federation (FKF) crisis, is no stranger to controversy.
The FIFA chief first came to the limelight last year as having approved the acquisition of undelivered Outside Broadcasting van that FKF paid the now insolvent WTS Media Group Limited Sh125million from the FIFA Forward Fund.
Football Kenya Federation (FKF) presidential aspirant Lordvic Aduda also last year claimed that Veron Mosengo-Omba, as the Member Associations Head for Africa and the Caribbean, oversaw the technical evaluation and subsequent approval of the van months before the UK-based company collapsed with creditors’ money, FKF being one of them.
In 2016, immediately Nick Mwendwa was elected president, FKF embarked on an ambitious project to buy an OB van for production of football content.
FKF had hoped to use the van to generate content and extra money to supplement its programmes and save local clubs the cost of production in CAF assignments.
Despite FKF splashing Sh125million as down payment, WTS Broadcast are yet to deliver the van.
Standard Sports has on several occasions over the last two years written to FIFA and Veron Mosengo-Omba over the fate of the OB van.
Fifa’s standard response has been that “FIFA received the report from the FKF and its lawyers regarding the non-delivery of the broadcast vans and equipment. FIFA has asked follow-up questions based on the report and we are engaging with the FKF in order to assess the options that are available.”
“The FKF has also provided responses to locals stakeholders such as the Sports, Culture, and Tourism Parliamentary Committee. FIFA will continue to monitor this matter, and further updates will be provided in due course.”
Protagonists in the protracted Football Kenya Federation elections, which have twice been nullified by the independent Sports Disputes Tribunal, point at an invisible hand from FIFA.
Despite the FKF violating the FIFA Standard Elections Code, as found by Kenya’s Sports Tribunal, on December 3, 2019 and March 17, 2020, Mosengo-Omba has been reluctant to throw the book at the local FA.
For instance, while the FIFA Standard Elections Code says in Article 4 (2) that “The members of the (Electoral) Committee are not allowed to serve for two consecutive terms” FKF did appoint one Prof Edwin Wamukoya, who served in the 2016 elections board that brought the incumbent Nick Mwendwa to power.
Curiously, Mosengo-Omba as FIFA’s Chief Member Associations Office, failed to invoke Section G of the Fifa Electoral Code that says: “Failure by the association to apply the principles of this code shall be considered a serious violation of Article 13 of the FIFA Statutes and shall lead to consequences described in Article 14 of the FIFA statutes or the disciplinary measures provided for under Article 55 of the FIFA Statutes,” states paragraph (1) of the section (G) of the FIFA Standard Electoral Code.”
Mosengo-Omba rejected proposals by the Sports Tribunal that FIFA imposes a Normalisation Committee instead called for a meeting of stakeholders he described as “for the sake of peace.”
The Swiss-Congolese national has since gone back on his call for the meeting, instead urged FKF to go ahead with the elections based on the FA’s controversial elections code – a move that has raised eye-brows.
Now the very Mosengo-Omba has been adversely mentioned in an investigative story by Trinidad and Tobago Guardian regarding his role in millions of US dollars in FIFA Forward Funding stashed in Panama banks meant for the Trinidad & Tobago Football Association.
A financial trail of secret Panama deals, a hidden Panamanian bank account and a hefty CONCACAF loan no one had an inkling about are just some of the things unearthed during a year-and-a-half-long Guardian Media investigation into the affairs of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) under the tenure of former president David John-Williams between 2015 and 2019.
Fourteen years after Trinidad and Tobago qualified for the FIFA World Cup for the first time, the TTFA is on course to face sanctions from international governing body FIFA for challenging the Normalisation Committee sent in to reorganise local football.
And while much of the focus surrounds actions taken by former president Wallace, a Guardian Media investigation has found that it was the action of another former president that pushed T&T football to the brink.
Guardian Media unraveled a complex web of suspicious financial transactions done in the name of the Home of Football during its investigation.
According to Guardian Media, Mosengo-Omba granted permission to former Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president David John-Williams to purchase structural material for the Home of football project that has now brought negative financial impact to Trinidad and Tobago football development.
After writing to FIFA’s member association director Mosengo-Omba in July 2017, asking for permission for the TTFA, and not a contractor, to purchase structural material for the Home of Football project, John-Williams was permitted to do so.
This approach, John-Williams claimed, would have saved the TTFA and selected contractors money.
“The association is in the fortunate position to have the necessary in-house expertise to collaborate with project managers and make educated decisions on the construction activity,” John-Williams wrote in a letter to Mosengo-Omba months after.
According to former TTFA executive Look Loy and others, the then board had major concerns about this move.
Given John-Williams’ background as a contractor, there was a possible conflict of interest, the board felt then. And with the then-president failing to provide them with information about the project, they weren’t sure who the main contractor for the project was.
Those answers remained unanswered during the entirety of the project, according to members of the then board.
According to our findings though, there is reason to believe that the contractor for the project was none other than John-Williams himself.
Guardian Media has discovered that the former TTFA president oversaw business transactions with a Panamanian company called ECOTEC.