NAIROBI, December 1- Lt. Gen (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei has been confirmed as the interim president of Athletics Kenya following a meeting of the federation’s National Executive Committee on Tuesday.
In a statement, the federation also accepted the decision taken by the IAAF Ethics Commission to suspend three top administrators; outgoing boss, Isaiah Kiplagat, vice-president, David Okeyo and Eastern Branch chairman, Joseph Kinyua to pave way for investigations of graft charges against them.
“The AK Executive Committee have read and understood the contents therein and would like to make the following statement:
“That the three members shall remain suspended for the said period as directed by the IAAF Ethics Commission to allow for investigations,” a statement signed by the Executive Committee declared, committing to cooperate with the investigating officials.
“Given that the AK president has been suspended by IAAF Ethics Commission, the meeting has ratified the earlier decision and confirmed Lt. Gen (Rtd) Jackson Kiprono Tuwei as the President of Athletics Kenya with effect from 1st December 2015.
“The duties of Mr. David Okeyo who was previously in charge of competitions will be assigned to another member of the Executive Committee.
“The suspended members will vacate their offices accordingly and will immediately cease to perform their duties in the offices they were elected and/or appointed as per the directives by IAAF Ethics Commission and in line with the AK constitution,” AK added.
Tuwei, the former Army Commandant, first took over the reigns of the federation on June 1 when Kiplagat asked the Executive to allow him take a three-month sabbatical to concentrate on his ultimately unsuccessful bid to vie for the IAAF vice-president at the General Congress of August in Beijing where Briton Seb Coe, who was seconded by AK, bagged the top seat.
Last Monday, a planned Executive meeting at the federation Riadha House headquarters in Nairobi was stillborn after the premises was besieged for 48 hours by a group of runners allied to the Professional Athletics Association of Kenya (PAAK).
It was rumoured the cancelled Executive gathering would have either seen Kiplagat seek to complete his mandate in 2017 or call for early elections in a move that would have scuttled the plans of some forces within the federation’s top hierarchy against the veteran leader who were not ready to go to the polls.
During tri-partite talks mediated by Principal Secretary, Department of Sports, Dr. Richard Ekai that ended the blockade, Tuwei was the face of the federation as PAAK pressed for the removal of Kiplagat and Okeyo as a condition to free Riadha.
On Monday evening, the IAAF Ethics Committee accelerated the process of ending Kiplagat’s 23-year command of the federation when they announced the suspensions.
“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,” the commission’s statement detailed.