AK CEO ‘steps aside’ as WADA moves in

AK CEO 'steps aside' as WADA moves in
Athletics Kenya CEO Isaac Mwangi. PHOTO: Mike Okinyi

Athletics Kenya CEO, Isaac Mwangi has bowed to pressure and stepped aside from office on a ‘21-working day leave’ with the federation confirming Tuesday that the Anti Doping Committee of Kenya (ADAK) will lead the investigations into bribery claims levelled against him by two banned female athletes.

AK president, Lt. Gen (rtd) Jackson Tuwei announced they had accepted Mwangi’s request following an emergency National Executive Committee meeting with officials from the ADAK, Regional Anti-Doping Agency and National Olympics Committee among others at the federation Riadha House headquarters.

He added the IAAF Ethics Commission had written to them inquiring on what measures were being taken to address the sensational allegations made against the CEO by the two runners with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) also keen on the matter.

“Mr. Isaac Mwangi, who is the CEO here and the allegations directed to him, has given his letter of request to take leave. He has given his request for annual leave pending investigations and the annual leave started yesterday (Monday) for 21 days, 21 working days.

“That has been accepted, that has been given and that is from his own volition,” Tuwei told a hurriedly convened press conference in Nairobi.

Tuwei added the IAAF’s Ethics Committee had received complaints filed by sprinters Joy Sakari Nakumincha and Francesca Koki Manunga who accused Mwangi of asking them to pay 2.5 million shilling each in bribes to reduce their four year bans.

“We have agreed that the investigations will be carried out by ADAK that is going to form a committee to investigate these allegations that have been made.  They are going to start from Monday, 22nd (February) for two weeks.

“They will of course invite anybody else they wish to give evidence and they will now let us know from now onwards,” the AK boss declared.

“WADA will of course require more detailed information of these allegations from those concerned so that we can determine whether this is a matter for us to investigate of the IAAF Ethics Committee as part of its own inquiries.

“WADA also wrote to ADAK and asked them to brief them on what they are doing to take care of this investigation. This morning (Tuesday) we met and discussed at length on who should do what to co-ordinate this matter. We don’t want a situation where AK says this and ADAK says that,” the retired army boss explained.

Those in the morning meeting at the Riadha House headquarters were the new ADAK CEO, two officials from NOCK, members of the AK Medical Commission and top AK leaders.

Sakari and Koki failed tests at the at the Beijing IAAF World Championships last August and received four year bans each for testing positive for the banned diuretic furosemide.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Sakari and Koki alleged Mwangi asked them for $24,000 (Sh2.5m) each to reduce their suspensions after they failed doping tests at the worlds in Beijing. Sakari and Manunga didn’t pay and are serving four-year bans for

According to Tuwei who took over when Isaiah Kiplagat and two other key officials were suspended for 180 days by the IAAF Ethics Commission last November, WADA wrote to ADAK to ask them what they were doing over the explosive claims, the first of the kind by Kenyan athletes.

ADAK sent a statement on Saturday saying they were investigating the matter.

The ethics commission of the IAAF is already investigating Kiplagat, IAAF Council Member and vice president David Okeyo, and former treasurer Joseph Kinyua, were suspended pending the investigation.

They are accused of “subversion of the anti-doping control process in Kenya” among other allegations of wrongdoing.

The Kenyan lawyer leading the investigation for the IAAF, Sharad Rao, said as many as six banned athletes have privately claimed to the IAAF commission that AK officials sought to extort bribes from them for lesser sanctions.

The IAAF has passed on the allegations made by Sakari and Manunga to its ethics commission, it said.

Mwangi scoffed off the claims as ‘a joke’ and an effort aimed at tarnishing the name of senior officials by disgruntled athletes who had been found guilty of doping violations.

Additional reporting by Charity Muturi

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