NAIROBI, December 1- Kenya’s sports ministry said Tuesday it will require all government payments to athletes be made via an electronic system in a bid to stop theft by sports officials.
The announcement comes a day after three top athletics officials from the national federation Athletics Kenya (AK) were suspended over suspicions they had siphoned off sponsorship money from Nike and subverted anti-doping controls.
In the latest hammer-blow to global track and field, the IAAF ethics commission on Monday announced the provisional suspension of the Kenyan athletics federation president and two other top officials in the “interests of the integrity of the sport”.
The new payment system; IFMIS — introduced into other Kenya government departments earlier this year — means salaries and payments are easily tracked.
Richard Ekai, the ministry’s principal secretary, its most senior civil servant, said payments in hard cash would be a thing of the past.
Athletes have previously claimed they never received government allowances while performing in competitions for Kenya abroad, but with cash payments, such claims were almost impossible to verify.
“Once all data has been profiled, the complaints of players not being paid their allowances on time will be a thing of the past,” Ekai told AFP.
Kenya’s football team nearly missed its World Cup qualifier return leg in Cape Verde last month after players said Football Kenya Federation (FKF) had failed to pay allowances and refund expenses for overseas based players.
Last week, the government had to intervene to end a protest by athletes who had barricaded AK headquarters demanding the resignation of some officials implicated in alleged corruption and subverting anti-doping policies.