Samoa Rugby Union names New CEO

Manu Samoa vice captain Seilala Mapusua said in his complaint letter to the media and chairman Tuila'epa Maleilegaoi of the Samoa Rugby Union that "issues raised should not be taken lightly and in order for the Manu Samoa and SRU to be taken seriously on the world stage, these must be addressed and change is needed with immediate effect." [photo: FV]

Manu Samoa captain Mahonri Schwalger and his loyal troops complained loudly. The Samoa Rugby Union lent and widened its ears as it listened carefully.  The players had a lot to say. The union had plenty at stake.

Schwalger led his team in their criticism of the union’s departing CEO, Su’a Peter Schuster and other officials that accompanied the Manu Samoa to the 2011 World Cup campaign in Auckland late last year.  They used the media including Samoa News to air their grievances against Su’a, team manager, Tuala Mathew Vaea and the Samoa Rugby Unions’ vice chairman, Lefau Harry Schuster and others. 

The skipper and many Manu Samoa veterans like King George Stowers, Daniel Leo, Maurie Fa’asavalu accused them of many things. They said the officials misappropriated money intended to pay the players after each World Cup match, gave away practice uniforms to family members and friends that were geared for the players, held parties with friends at hotels where the team had stayed thus interrupting team preparations and concentrations, and they were not available when the team needed them.

Schawlger and the Manu Samoa players sent out letters to the media with copies addressed to Samoa’s prime minister, Tuilaepa, who is also the chairman of the Samoa Rugby Union soon after the end of the World Cup tournament last year in October.

The chairman immediately went into action mode and ordered an audit report of the Manu Samoa budget. Then Tuila’epa announced that all top positions would be advertised.

Meanwhile, Su’a, Lefau and Tuala staged a media campaign in their efforts to clear their names. They appeared on TV, were heard on the radio and interviewed in newspapers telling Samoans around the globe that they were innocent of the accusations.

The audit report released early this year of many funds that were raised in Samoa, American Samoa, New Zealand and elsewhere prior to the World Cup competition did not reveal any money being used inappropriately.

Then team manager, Tuala made a public apology for any wrong that he had committed during his time with the Manu Samoa. His village of Le’auva’a where his matai title comes from imposed a customary penalty on Tuala for tarnishing the name of the village. He has left his position with the team to continue as an official of Samoa’s Rugby High Development Office.

Early this year, the Samoa Rugby Union panel interviewed eight applicants that included three females for the CEO position. Th panelists settled on one. ,He is Fred Amoa, a Samoan lawyer who lives and practices law in Auckland New Zealand.

Su’a told this correspondent in an overseas telephone interview on Thursday that he did not re apply for his old job.

“It’s time for me to step aside and apply my knowledge and rugby experience somewhere else. I’m still young and still want to contribute to the development of rugby in Samoa. God has given me this talent and I will use it to further the careers of the many young players that have the potential to advance to the international level.”

As for the accusations directed at him by Manu Samoa captain, Schawlger and other senior members of the Samoa team, Su’a denied all and added that the reports were “unnecessary and uncalled for.”

Su’a said he would leave the CEO position when his successor arrives from New Zealand and takes over the management of the Manu Samoa affairs.

A full report on the Su’a interview will be published on Saturday’s Samoa News To’asavili.

The new CEO has deep ties to the Manu Samoa team and American Samoa. His niece, Ana Stacia who is also an attorney, is married to Samoa’s #8, King George Stowers. Fred is the younger brother of local doctor, Jerome Amoa.

Amoa is an attorney, a law graduate of Auckland University. He also holds a Master’s degree in International Law from Malta.After he was admitted in the New Zealand and Samoa Bars Associations, he worked for the Samoa Attorney General’s office for four years (1989-1992). Amoa then left the country to work for the Forum Fisheries Agency’s legal office in Honiara, Solomon Islands. 

From there, Amoa headed to the Republic of Nauru where he became the head of the department of Justice and Border Control. He is currently working as a legal consultant in Auckland.

Amoa attended Chanel College in Moamoa, Samoa and was an excellent rugby and soccer player in his days. He continued his education after leaving Chanel College at St. Bede’s in New Zealand’s second largest city, Christchurch situated in the South Island.

Dr. Jerome Amoa who also attended Chanel College described his brother Fred, as a “no nonsense man.”


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