NAIROBI, April 30- The Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) board has cracked the whip on two perceived errant directors with the the suspension of vice-chairman, Phillip Jalang’o and resignation of Secretary Eddie Omondi with immediate effect on Thursday.
The two officials were adversely cited in an audit into last year’s Safaricom Sevens and Bamburi Rugby Super Series scandals where they were implicated in financial impropriety in awarding service contracts and procurement.
“The KRU Board received the forensic audit by PKF Consulting and pursuant to the Board Minutes of 20th October, 2014, the Board has suspended vice-chairman Phillip Jalang’o with immediate effect.
“The suspension, pending a resolution of the Special General Meeting (of) the KRU, is based on results of the PKF forensic audit which has been ongoing since January this year. The report was tabled at the board meeting of 29th April.
“The KRU also announces the resignation of Eddie Omondi as Hon Secretary to the KRU with immediate effect,” a statement from the Union signed by chairman, Richard Omwela read.
Speaking to Capital Sport, Jalang’o termed his suspension unprocedural terming it a manifestation of power play at the helm of the sport.
“The suspension letter does not explain due course for the action and it is just the politics going on at KRU.
“They did not cite which part of the constitution the suspension is based on and it does not even allow fellow board members to take such action against another,” Jalang’o explained.
He produced a copy of the court judgment delivered by High Court Judge, Justice Isaac Lenaola that overturned his suspension by immediate former chairman, Mwangi Muthee in 2013 that read in part, “The decision to suspend him (Jalang’o) was in contravention of Articles 10.8 and 10.2.2 of the Union’s Constitution.
“Was in breach of Article 27 of the Constitution (of Kenya 2010) which guarantee the equality and freedom from discrimination; was in breach of Article 35 (2) of the Constitution which provides for the right of correction or deletion of misleading or untrue of misleading information that affects the person.”
Lenaola further ruled KRU board members had no right to suspend one of their own, they could only recommend sanctions that could only be ratified by a Special General Meeting in the case of the Union.
“The suspension of the Petitioner in his capacity of board member of the Kenya Rugby Union was illegal and void ab initional and in breach of Article 47 of the Constitution; and
“A declaration that the action of the respondents (Muthee and former secretary Jack Okoth) in this cause violated the Petitioner’s constitutional rights under Articles 35 (1) (b) and (2), 47 and 50 (1) of the Constitution of the Republic of Kenya,” the Judge wrote in his ruling dated July 4, 2014.
Jalang’o was subsequently re-elected as vice-chair in the election of April 2014 but in light of the latest development, he disclosed to Capital Sport he would wait for his hearing during the SGM set for June 4 as opposed to challenging his latest suspension in court.
“After the last judgement, the same thing has happened again and when matters are taken politically, the best thing is dealing with them politically since again, no cause has been shown,” he added.
He accused his detractors as officials bent on propagating the image of the sport as an elitist affair opposed to his efforts of taking it in the grassroots.
Last year’s Safaricom 7s were shrouded in controversy when some directors at the Union were accused of embezzling funds and awarding supply contracts to their cronies.
Safaricom were the first to take decisive action on the first day of this month when they severed all contracts with KRU to sponsor the annual premier sevens international invitational event as well as the domestic sevens series with Bamburi widely said to be following suit for the 15s franchise event.
“Over the years, we have closely monitored the events of the Union and heightened our growing concerns with the lack of transparency and accountability of certain members of the Board whose actions have brought the game to disrepute; a situation which jeopardises the Safaricom brand and which makes our continued sponsorship impossible,” a statement by Safaricom CEO, Bob Collymore serving a 30-day notice that lapses Thursday to ditch all KRU events read in part.
Jalang’o and Omondi were not up for election in March when Omwela reclaimed the chair after losing it to Muthee four years ago.