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AK dismisses doping bribe claims

Joyce Zakari when competing at the 2015 Beijing World Championships.PHOTO/courtesy.

Joyce Zakari when competing at the 2015 Beijing World Championships.PHOTO/courtesy.

NAIROBI, February 11 – Athletics Kenya (AK) has dismissed reports by the Associated Press that the Federation’s CEO, Isaac Mwangi, asked for bribes from convicted drug cheats Joyce Zakari and Fransisca Koki to help their case.

In a statement, the federation termed the allegations as malicious and aimed at hurting the character of individuals as well as those of the national association.

“Our attention is drawn to the article published by the Associated Press where two Kenyan athletes are allegedly claiming that they had been asked for a bribe amounting USD 48,000 (Sh4.8m).

“The allegations are serious, malicious and aimed at maligning the character of individuals as well as those of the Federation. Athletics Kenya has demonstrated by recent happenings that it takes matters of doping seriously,” the statement read.

AK stated it will be seeking the relevant legal channels to ensure the matter is dealt with expeditiously.

“It has now become fashionable for people to malign officers and the federation without any justifiable cause. Athletes and individuals making malicious claims must take responsibility of their actions.”

The two sprinters who tested positive for banned substance Furosemide during the 2015 Beijing World Championships, claimed the CEO asked them for Sh2.5m (USD 24,577.10) each in order for their case to be terminated.

However, AK disclosed that it was impossible for any individual to manipulate the process since the hearings was conducted by the Federation’s Medical and Anti-doping Commission and not an individual in accordance with the IAAF Anti-doping rules.

“During the hearings the athletes confessed to having taken the banned substance and did not at anytime complain of having been approached by any officer of the federation and as the hearings were conducted in accordance with the rules, the process by itself is beyond any individual manipulation and the claims are not only false but also unbelievable.”

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“Under the rules the athletes were entitled to appeal but they did not. They have instead opted to take an easier route of maligning individuals and the Federation by making false allegations with the aim of causing damage to them,” AK added.

Mwangi, who later told Agence France Presse (AFP) he had spoken to both Koki and Zakari, denied the claims.

“It is not true that I asked for money from them,” Mwangi insisted.

Both Koki and Zakari were each given a four-year ban after being found guilty of using a prohibited substance, Furosemide, in Beijing in August 2015.

Koki, a 400m hurdler, also told AFP she and Zakari were asked for cash in October, a month before their suspension.

“We thought it was unfair for an official to ask for money from us, especially when we were in such a kind of a desperate situation after we had been kept in suspense for a long time before the four-year suspension was imposed on us. We are crying for our case to be heard, because we believe many other athletes have been faced with the same dilemma,” Koki said.

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