AK bosses, Kiplagat, Okeyo, Kinyua fail bid to overturn suspension

Suspended Athletics Kenya President, Isaiah Kiplagat
Former AK President, Isaiah Kiplagat at a past function at Riadha House federation headquarters in Nairobi.

Athletics Kenya (AK) President; Isaiah Kiplagat, Vice-President, David Okeyo and former Treasurer, Joseph Kinyua have failed in their bid to overturn the extended suspension from the sport after the IAAF Ethics Board rejected their appeal on Friday.

In declining their appeals, the Ethics Board noted in a statement from Monaco that; “The potential for damage to the sport if persons under investigation for such serious matters could resume their offices or return to an active role in athletics administration is in the Panel’s judgement clear.”

The three remain suspended for a further 180 days effective May 20 after the Ethics Board ruled to increase the period from the initial ban in November last year with the federation bosses complaining about the length of investigations and media prejudice with Kiplagat saying his health had adversely been affected in the process.

In their 13 page ruling, the Ethics Board noted among other grounds of dismissing the appeals that lifting the suspension of the ailing Kiplagat would not subject the long-serving AK chief to further damage to his reputation.

“The Panel considered whether since Mr Kiplagat has neither intention nor it may be, because of his poor health, capacity, to resume any office or take up another office afresh, a continued suspension, even if otherwise justified, would serve no purpose.

“For the same reason, however, its extension would cause only limited prejudice, and its lifting would only relieve him of such prejudice if accompanied by a recognition that there was no case against him, which the Panel cannot give. Moreover Mr. Kiplagat is still under investigation and potentially (a word the Panel would stress) vulnerable to charges in future,” the statement signed by Board chairman; Michael J Beloff QC read.

The Board acknowledged and expressed regret with the delayed investigations being conducted by Sharad Rao into charges of subverting the anti-doping process, embezzlement of federation money facing the three and in the case of Kiplagat, accepting gifts from Qatar to vote in their favour as hosts of the 2019 IAAF World Championships.

“The Panel would wish to stress three points. First, it hopes that the Investigator will take note of the need to conclude his investigation as soon as can properly be achieved bearing in mind the various stresses that suspension creates for the three individuals,” it urged.

The Board further expressed its full support to Rao’s probe stating; “The three Appellants each say that they have not been contacted by the Investigator since submitting their responses to the allegations in January 2016.

“How the investigator conducts his investigation is not a matter with which the Panel can interfere (see Rule 13(7)-(9)) but the Panel presumes that the Investigator has decided – which would be entirely reasonable – to ascertain what, if any, support there is for the prima facie case before putting any provisional conclusion, together with any evidence to support it, to Mr Kinyua, Mr Kiplagat and Mr Okeyo.”

Kiplagat led AK uninterrupted from 1992 to November last year save for a period of three months mid last year he took a sabbatical to vie for one of the IAAF Vice-Presidents’ seat he lost out to Cameroonian Confederation of African Athletics boss, Hamad Kalkaba Malboum.

He served as an IAAF Council Member from 1999 until last summer’s election.

Okeyo was elected AK Secretary General in 1996 and held to the post until the 2012 federation elections when he was voted the first vice-president while Kinyua served as Treasurer from 1996 to 2012 when he lost his seat to incumbent David Miano.

A fourth official, AK chief executive Isaac Mwangi, was also suspended by the IAAF and is under investigation in a separate case after two Kenyan athletes said in an interview with The Associated Press that he asked them each for a $24,000 (Ksh2.5m) bribe to reduce their doping bans.

An appeal by Mwangi against his suspension was dismissed by the IAAF in April.

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Story By Mutwiri Mutuota
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