Report on 4 suspended top AK officials forwarded to IAAF

The report on charges levelled against four suspended senior Athletics Kenya (AK) officials was finally forwarded to the IAAF Ethics Board on Tuesday by the investigator appointed to lead the probe, Sharad Rao.

The four- the late President, Isaiah Kiplagat, Vice-president David Okeyo, former Treasurer Joseph Kinyua and CEO Isaac Kamande Mwangi- will know their fate by early next week according to Rao who was speaking to Citizen Digital.

Kiplagat, Okeyo and Kinyua were charged jointly and suspended from all athletics activities in on November 30, 2015 before Mwangi was later banned indefinitely from the sport in February last year and the Ethics Board appointed Rao to lead all investigations.

“I sent to the report to the IAAF including my recommendations. I cannot release what the report is or recommendations are but I all the three who were suspended initially and Kamande who was suspended subsequently will be hearing from the IAAF on what to do next,” the respected lawyer Rao declared.

“The report is confidential and will be released by the IAAF. My mandate was only to conduct the inquiry and report back to them. How they treat the report after that is up to them but I think they would publish it,” he added.

Kiplagat who passed away mid last year, Okeyo and Kinyua were initially suspended for 180 days before the IAAF Ethics Board extended the sanction for the same period on May 31, 2016 to facilitate Rao to finish the investigations.

Following the suspensions, Kiplagat relinquished his seat as the President of the federation to the incumbent, Lt. Gen (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei while Okeyo was also ousted from his position as an IAAF Council Member, the supreme decision making organ in the world governing body as well as the second in command at the local governing body.

At the time, Kinyua had left the AK Executive Committee but was also stood down as the chairman of the AK Eastern Branch.

They were jointly charged with subverting the anti-doping process and embezzling federation money from the proceeds of its contract with American sports retail giant, Nike.

Kiplagat was separately accused of accepting two motor vehicles from the Qataris to vote for their 2019 IAAF World Championships in Athletics bid when he was an IAAF Council Member.

Mwangi was suspended by the Ethics Board after a story was published where two female sprinters in Team Kenya to the 2015 IAAF Beijing World Championships- Joy Sakari Nakumincha and Fransesca Koki Manunga- accused him of soliciting bribes to reduce their four year doping bans.

The pair alleged in an article published on February 10, 2016 by the Associated Press that they attended a meeting with Mwangi where he asked for Ksh2.5 million each in return for influencing the penalties that they would receive for their positive results.

-Report exhaustive-

Athletics Kenya CEO Isaac Mwangi in a past interview. PHOTO: Courtesy
Athletics Kenya CEO Isaac Mwangi in a past interview. PHOTO: Courtesy

Rao assured that his report was exhaustive and had taken both the accused and witness accounts.

“The challenge was to get the witnesses coming forward because the accused are people that come from the same area or same community as them and the athletes are spread out across the country, they are not in Nairobi alone and it was not easy to get them.

“I did the best as I could under the circumstance to get to the extent of the report,” Rao emphasised.

Kiplagat crossed the finish line of his illustrious life on August 24, 2016 aged 72 having led AK uninterrupted from 1992 to November 2015 following a long battle with colon cancer having not cleared his name against the charges levelled against him.

A month earlier on July 8, 2016, the Ethics Board declined his appeal jointly with Kinyua and Okeyo.

“The potential for damage to the sport if persons under investigation for such serious matters could resume their offices or return to an active role in athletics administration is in the Panel’s judgement clear,” the Ethics Board said in a statement from Monaco at the time.

On April 8, 2016, the Ethics Board also rejected Mwangi’s appeal against his dismissal from the post he had served for just under three years.

In a report read by the Board chair, Michael J Beloff QC, shows that Mwangi could not provide an alibi for the said day, the two athletes have been convicted of anti-doping rule violations, but that does not mean that they are necessarily lying and Mwangi would not have been able to influence the outcome of the athletes’ cases is not fully convincing.

“I cannot pre-empt the verdict of the Ethics Board and for now, I’m only waiting for the announcement before deciding on the way forward,” Kinyua told Citizen Digital.

Okeyo expressed similar sentiments while Mwangi was unreachable for comment.

Rao’s investigations into Major (Rtd) Michael Rotich who was also suspended by the Ethics Board on August 13, 2016 are not complete.

Rotich was the manager of the Kenyan athletics team at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and was suspended from all offices or positions in either Athletics Kenya or the IAAF in the interests of the integrity of the sport.

He was expelled from the Rio 2016 Olympics after he was caught in an undercover video allegedly soliciting for 10,000 pounds (KSh1.32m) in brides to inform a bogus British running team on when Doping Control Officials would come to camp to conduct tests.

-Charity Wanja contributed to this report