NAIROBI, November 30- The IAAF Ethics Commission has provisionally suspended Athletics Kenya (AK) president, Isaiah Kiplagat, vice-president, David Okeyo and former treasurer; Joseph Kinyua from holding office for 180 days to facilitate investigations into corruption allegations.
The three are under investigation on allegations of siphoning USD700,000 (Sh71,504,650) paid to the federation by kit sponsors Nike, soliciting bribes to cover-up positive doping tests.
Kiplagat is further accused of receiving two vehicles from the Qatari Athletics Federations to vote for the Gulf State to host the 2019 IAAF World Championships.
The independent investigative arm of the world governing body appointed Sharad Rao to lead the probe and invited anyone with evidence against the trio to submit them by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday’s stunning development signals the end of Kiplagat’s uninterrupted 23 year-old reign at the helm of the most successful federation with the country with the former IAAF Council Member adamant he was already on his way out before the latest twist.
It also places Okeyo’s ascension to the IAAF Commission; the top making organ of the world body where he was seconded by continental governing body, CAA, in doubt with Kinyua having left national office after losing his Treasurer seat at the 2012 AK polls.
Ethics Commission chairman, Michael Beloff QC sanctioned the move to suspend the three officials under powers conferred by the IAAF Council last Thursday “in the interests of the integrity of the sport.”
“Each individual is provisionally suspended from any office or position in either Athletics Kenya or the IAAF which each presently holds and is precluded from assuming any new office or position in either organization for a period of 180 days starting on 30 November 2015, pending investigation of complaints made against them and evidence and information which has been received by the IAAF Ethics Commission,” the statement signed by Ethics Commission Legal Secretary; Tom Mountford; announced.
“Cases warranting investigation, against Mr Kiplagat, Mr Okeyo and Mr Kinyua in relation to (1) potential subversion of the anti-doping control process in Kenya and (2) potential improper diversion from Athletics Kenya of funds received from Nike.
“A prima facie case has also been found to exist in respect of Mr Kiplagat in relation to receipt, personally or by Athletics Kenya, of an apparent gift of two motor vehicles from the Qatar Association of Athletics Federation in the period 2014-2015,” it detailed.
“The Ethics Commission stresses that the imposition of Orders for Provisional Suspension in this case in no way prejudges the outcome of the investigation which will now be carried out by the Commission’s appointed investigator, Mr Sharad Rao.
“Mr Kiplagat, Mr Okeyo and Mr Kinyua remain presumed innocent until the outcome of the investigation and the determination of any disciplinary charges which may follow from that investigation,” the statement outlined further.
Kinyua will relinquish his position as the AK Eastern Branch chairman until he is formally cleared or charged with the claims.
Rao, is the current Chairman of the Judges and Magistrates Vetting Board, established under the Constitution of Kenya.
He is also a member of the Court of Arbitration for Sport and of the Code of Conduct Commission of the International Cricket Council.
Last week, a 48-hour siege of AK RIadha House headquarters in Nairobi ended when talks between the protestors allied to Professional Athletics Association of Kenya (PAAK), federation and Ministry of Sports, Arts and Culture officials agreed Kiplagat and Okeyo must step aside to facilitate investigations.
A meeting chaired by Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Hassan Wario who retained his docket in last week’s reshuffle by President Uhuru Kenyatta to follow-up and enforce the agreement between the three parties was scheduled for this week.
It remains to be seen whether the Ethics Commission decision will have any bearing on the planned gathering with other issues that saw PAAK members blockade Riadha House pending.
Among them was a change of the AK Constitution to conform it with the Sports Act of 2013; tackling the doping menace and recognition of PAAK as an affiliate of the federation.