Three top Kenyan athletics officials suspended in graft probe
01 December 2015, 07:52
Nairobi - Athletics Kenya president, Isaiah Kiplagat, vice-president David Okeyo and former treasurer, Joseph Kinyua, were suspended by the IAAF Ethics Commission on Monday for 180 days to pave way to investigations of corruption charges against them.
The charges relate to pilfering 500,000 U.S. dollars paid to the federation by kit sponsors Nike, accepting bribes to cover-up positive doping tests, and for former IAAF Council Member, Kiplagat, accepting two vehicles from the Qatar Athletics Federation to vote for the Gulf State to host the 2019 IAAF World Championships in Athletics.
"... Cases warranting investigation, against Kiplagat, Okeyo and Kinyua in relation to potential subversion of the anti-doping control process in Keny, and potential improper diversion from Athletics Kenya of funds received from Nike," said a statement released in Nairobi, which is signed by IAAF Ethics Commission Legal Secretary, Tom Mountford, from London.
"A prima facie case has also been found in respect of Kiplagat in relation to receipt, personally or by AK, of an apparent gift of two motor vehicles from the Qatar Association of Athletics Federation in the period 2014-2015," it added.
The Ethics Commission appointed veteran lawyer and current Chairman of the Judges and Magistrates Vetting Board, Sharad Rao, to lead the investigations into the three top officials.
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Monday's stunning development signals the end of Kiplagat's 23-year reign at the helm of Kenya's most successful sporting import while stalling the ascension of Okeyo to the IAAF Council.
Kinyua was the Team Leader for Kenya at the August Beijing IAAF World Championships where Kenya topped the medal charts with 16 medals, seven of them gold, and will relinquish his post as the head of the regional AK Eastern Branch.
Speaking to Xinhua, Kiplagat said he welcomed the investigations, adding that he was forestalled from officially handing over office by indisposition.
"I'm in hospital after suffering an accident at home and could not come to hand over. I'm done with leading the federation and I have no fears about any investigations," Kiplagat said.
"In fact, I have always welcomed them," the leader who lost his bid to win the IAAF Vice-Presidency at the elections held in Beijing in August added. "I will make an announcement on the matter soon."
In April, the three officials were interviewed over the same allegations by the local Criminal Investigations Department, and released without formal charge.
Last week, protestors allied to the Professional Athletes Association of Kenya (PAAK) laid a two-day siege on the federation's Riadha House headquarters in Nairobi that was ended when Kiplagat and Okeyo were asked to step aside from office by the country's Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Arts, Richard Ekai.
A meeting between PAAK, federation and ministry officials led by Sports Cabinet Secretary, Hassan Wario, to enforce the resolutions was planned for this week, but the Ethics Commission has trumped that with Monday's declaration.
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