Nock boss Kipchoge grilled as IOC calls for dialogue

Steeplechase star, Ezekiel Kemboi receives Long Distance Athlete of the Year trophy from Nock chairman ...
Steeplechase star, Ezekiel Kemboi receives Long Distance Athlete of the Year trophy from Nock chairman Dr. Kipchoge Keino during the 2015 AK annual awards gala held at Safari Park hotel in Nairobi, Kenya on December 10, 2015. Photo/Stafford Ondego/

National Olympics Committee of Kenya (Nock) chairman, Dr. Kipchoge Keino was whisked away for questioning by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations officers even as the International Olympics Committee called on dialogue with the Government to forestall a Tokyo 2020 Games ban.

The Nock boss did not even witness the final send-off of Athletics Kenya (AK) boss, Isaiah Kiplagat, who was buried on Friday evening in his Kapseret farm in Eldoret when DCI men came for him as soon as the public burial service was over.

“I talked to them yesterday (Thursday) in Eldoret and I’m sorry I can’t talk to you now because I have to go back to town for another interview. I was questioned for five hours the first time,” Keino, the revered IOC honorary life member and first Olympics Laureate told Citizen Digital before boarding an unmarked vehicle.

His interrogation over the Rio 2016 fiasco continued even after the Olympics body called the Government to stop what it termed as ‘unfortunate events’ against the Nock top brass after Sports Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Hassan Wario, disbanded the body.

It is still unclear at this stage on which basis, if any, these actions have been taken against your NOC.  However, they obviously constitute undue interference of government authorities in the powers and responsibilities of your NOC, which is a non-government, autonomous and legally independent entity whose primary existence and jurisdiction (and right to call itself a “National Olympic Committee”) are derived from its recognition by the IOC, in accordance with the Olympic Charter,” the IOC letter addressed to Dr. Keino and the Nock leadership and signed by Pere Miro, the Deputy Director General and Anoca boss, Lassana Pelenfo read in part.

“We sincerely hope that the present situation will be rectified without delay, failing which the IOC would, unfortunately, be forced to consider protective measures vis-à-vis your NOC and the Olympic Movement in your country, as provided in these circumstances in the Olympic Charter, in particular Rule 27.9, which states:

“Apart from the measures and sanctions provided in the case of infringement of the Olympic Charter, the IOC Executive Board may take any appropriate decisions for the protection of the Olympic Movement in the country of an NOC, including suspension of or withdrawal of recognition from such NOC if the constitution, law or other regulations in force in the country concerned, or any act by any governmental or other body causes the activity of the NOC or the making or expression of its will to be hampered.

“The IOC Executive Board shall offer such NOC an opportunity to be heard before any such decision is taken.”

“We kindly request that you forward a copy of this letter to the relevant government authorities and that you keep us informed of any (hopefully positive) developments in the coming days,” the letter warned.

IOC offered to mediate talks between the Government and Nock to come with an amicable solution.

“We also encourage the government authorities and your NOC to engage in a serene and constructive dialogue, with mutual respect, to clarify any misunderstanding which might have led to this regrettable situation, and establish fruitful cooperation for the future, which is no doubt necessary for the development of sport and the athletes in your country,” the Olympics body advised.

Thus far, Nock vice-chairman, Pius Ochieng, secretary general, Francis Kinyili Paul and treasurer, Fridah Shiroya have been brought before court and released on bail on charges ranging from theft, abuse of office and negligence over the shambolic management of Team Kenya at the Rio Olympics.

Another and Chef-de-Mission, Stephen arap Soi, was denied bail and asked to present himself to court next Thursday after skipping the mention of his case twice in the past week.

“In addition, we understand that specific investigations are being conducted on a number of officers and members of your NOC. At this stage, it must be recalled that the presumption of innocence must prevail, as always in these circumstances and in accordance with the

In view of the above and as a first step, we urge the government authorities of Kenya to take immediate action to rectify the situation and fully respect the jurisdiction of your NOC, as recognised by the IOC, in order for your NOC to resume its work and activities with full access to its properties,” IOC said in relation to the cases brought against Nock management.

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