NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 30 – Suspended Athletics Kenya (AK) vice-president David Okeyo, has been banned for life from the sport and ordered to pay Sh15mn (USD150,000) by the IAAF Ethics Board after being found guilty of diverting federation funds for personal gain.
At the same time, the three-person IAAF Ethics Board that heard and determined their case following investigations led by Sharad Rao acquitted suspended AK Treasurer, Joseph Kinyua stating he was not covered under the 2003 Code of Ethics that prosecuted Okeyo.
Another separate case involving AK CEO, Isaac Mwangi, who was forced to step aside from his role following allegations he solicited monies from athletes who tested positive for banned substances in a view of clearing or reducing their bans is still in progress according to the 74-page Ethics Board judgment.
Charges against the late AK President, Isaiah Kiplagat, were dropped after he passed away in August 2016 in a sequence of cases that rocked the administration of the most-successful sporting federation in Kenya and sparked the inglorious end to the 22-year tenure at the helm of the federation by the former with his trusted lieutenants, Okeyo and Kinyua going down with him.
Speaking to SportPesa News soon after the bombshell verdict became public, Okeyo said; “My lawyers will appeal the decision.”
He has been given the right to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland, within 21 days of the date of the decision (August 30).
“I have always maintained my innocence and today’s verdict vindicates me. I was hounded out of AK in 2013 after serving the organisation diligently in turning around their finances and then subjected through this process.
“I have forgiven those who accused me and it is my wish to put that matter to rest,” Kinyua remarked after the ruling.
Okeyo has been ordered to pay world governing body IAAF a cost award of Sh10mn (USD100,000) and AK Sh5mn (USD50,000) within 90 days by the panel of Board Catherine M.E O’Regan (chairperson) Kevan Gosper and Annabel Pennefather.
He was charged alongside Kinyua and Kiplagat with diverting funds from American sports apparel manufacturer, Nike to their pockets, a charge that the long-serving official who was had been elected to the supreme IAAF decision-making organ, the Council, before he was suspended denied.
“Mr Okeyo should be expelled from his office as a member of the IAAF Council and banned for life from taking or holding any office in the sport or taking part in any Athletics-related activity. The Panel imposes this ban with effect from the date of this decision.
“The Panel notes that Mr Okeyo has been found to have committed breaches of the Code on ten occasions over a long period of time
“Moreover, the effect of his conduct was to deprive Athletics Kenya of income from its sponsor that could have been better directed to support the development of the sport of athletics in Kenya,” the Board ruling read in part.
“In the view of the Panel the pattern of conduct warrants serious sanction to establish the firm principle that federation officials must act scrupulously and transparently in managing the finances of their federations in order to protect the name and reputation of the sport of athletics,” it added on Okeyo who prior to the 2015 elections, served as the head of the IAAF Cross Country Commission.
-Code of ethics
On Kinyua, the Board said it could not convict him since unlike his co-accused, he has never held office at the world body having served as AK treasurer to a decade.
“Although Mr Kinyua has been found to have engaged in similar conduct, because he was not bound by the 2003 Code of Ethics he cannot be found to have been in breach of that Code,” the judgement read.
Having been first suspended in November 2016, the Board extended the sanctions in May last year before the case that was scheduled to be heard in Cape Town, South Africa was switched to Nairobi where the accused had their day in January.
Mwangi was suspended from his role in February 2016 when two female sprinters, Francesca Koki and Joy Zakari Nakumincha accused him of demanding a USD20,000 (KSh2m) in bribes to reduce their suspension after they tested positive for banned substances at Beijing 2015.
Since then, two more athletes, have come forward to accuse the CEO of soliciting bribes with Mwangi’s defence denying all counts levelled against him.
Statements that had not been included in the record beforehand, that were circulated yesterday in relation to two witnesses: Agatha Jeruto and Matthew Kisorio.
“The party who is affected by the statements objected to their inclusion. Decision reserved until Thursday morning (1 February 2018).
“I’m minded to admit the statements on the basis that any party who considered that they would need further time or would need to lead further evidence as a result of those statements would be entitled to do so,” O’Regan wrote in the judgement in relation to the case against Mwangi.
-Courtesy of SportPesa-