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Kiplagat, Okeyo told to quit as AK siege ends

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AK president, Isaiah Kiplagat, who was asked to step down to end the Riadha House siege. PHOTO/File

AK president, Isaiah Kiplagat, who was asked to step down to end the Riadha House siege. PHOTO/File

NAIROBI, November 24- Athletics Kenya (AK) president, Isaiah Kiplagat and Vice-president, David Okeyo, have to step aside to pave way for full investigations into corruption allegations against them.

The same treatment will be accorded to any other top federation official accused of graft before they can resume duty.

That was the highlight of a seven-point agreement reached on Tuesday evening that formally ended the two-day blockade of the federation’s Riadha House headquarters by a group of runners allied to Professional Athletes Association of Kenya (PAAK) that paralysed operations.

During the formal announcement of the end of the Riadha House siege, Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Arts (MOSCA), Dr. Richard Ekai, asked Kiplagat and Okeyo to relinquish their positions with immediate effect.

“We the representatives of officials of AK, PAAK and the MOSCA, following a joint meeting at the Nyayo National Stadium to resolve administrative issues with the management of AK do resolve as follows:

“That we immediately embark on the process of reviewing the current AK constitution to make it in line with the Constitution of Kenya, 2010 and the Sports Act of 2013. That PAAK submits a memorandum of their grievances on the management of AK and present it to MOSCA on or before Monday 30th November 2015.

“The MOSCA under the chairmanship of Cabinet Secretary will convene a joint meeting of stakeholders involving PAAK, AK and the Ministry in resolving the issues raised in the memorandum next week. That the athletes shall be served with dignity and decorum when they visit the offices of AK.

“That there will be no discrimination and or victimisation of any athletes. That alleged issues of corruption and or misappropriation of funds by AK officials be thoroughly investigated. That any officials mentioned in or investigated for corruption to step aside to allow for further full and conclusive investigations to be done,” the joint-communiqué to end the lockdown read in full.

Ekai was representing the ministry with Vice-president, Lt. Gen (Rtd) Jack Tuwei and PAAK chairman and star marathoner, Wilson Kipsang holding brief for their organisations.

-Already out-

PAAK chairman, Wilson Kipsang, AK Vice-president, Lt. Gen (Rtd) Jack Tuwei, MOSCA PS, Dr. Richard Ekai and Wesley Korir have a word after the siege was declared over on Tuesday, November 24, 2015. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya.

PAAK chairman, Wilson Kipsang, AK Vice-president, Lt. Gen (Rtd) Jack Tuwei, MOSCA PS, Dr. Richard Ekai and Wesley Korir have a word after the siege was declared over on Tuesday, November 24, 2015. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya.

Speaking to Capital Sport Kiplagat said, “I was already out. Let’s wait for recommendations and see what happens. Only elected officials can ask one to step aside.”

The two veteran bosses are accused of siphoning Sh70m from the federation coffers relating to a ‘bonus’ from American apparel firm, Nike, as incentive to renew their kitting contract with the Kenya team.

Kiplagat and Okeyo alongside former treasurer, Joseph Kinyua, were quizzed by Criminal Investigation Department officers over the matter in April where they recorded statements pending further action into the case from the Director of Public Prosecution.

A fortnight ago, the IAAF Ethics Commission revealed Okeyo, who is seconded to sit at the world body Governing Council; the top decision making organ of IAAF, is also under investigations for the same claims.

IAAF president, Lord Seb Coe, suspended the elevation of 200 people into various committees of the governing body and the Council pending vetting of all members to ensure no one tainted gets to serve the under-fire organisation.

On Monday morning, a group that grew to over 50 stormed Riadha House and forced staff out before taking charge of the gates and locking officials and employees out.

About 20 kept an overnight vigil before Kipsang and Cherangany MP and 2012 Boston Marathon champion, Wesley Korir, arrived from Eldoret to set in motion the process that ended the takeover.

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