The Mwangi riddle after panel clears suspended AK CEO


Athletics Kenya CEO Isaac Mwangi in a past interview. PHOTO: Courtesy
Athletics Kenya CEO Isaac Mwangi in a past interview. PHOTO: Courtesy

Isaac Mwangi welcomed being cleared of bribery charges levelled against him by two female athletes by a panel appointed by the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) on Monday but the fate of the suspended Athletics Kenya Chief Executive Officer is far from being resolved.

Speaking to Citizen Digital, Mwangi termed the panel’s decision contained in a report that will be made public by Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Arts and Culture, Dr. Hassan Wario at a later date as vindication of his innocence.

He is eagerly awaiting to be re-instated to his position at AK Riadha House headquarters and as the CEO of the Local Organising Committe (LOC) of Nairobi 2017 IAAF World Youth Championships.

However, Sharad Rao who was appointed by the IAAF Ethics Board to investigate the same claims against Mwangi and ADAK boss, Japhter Rugut maintained the official who stepped down voluntarily from his position at AK on February 22, a week before he was suspended by the world body from the sport for 180 days, was not yet in the clear.

“I would expect them (AK) to allow me to return and finish my contract and then it will be renewed later. Those are details we need to discuss with AK. There is a lot of power brokerage going on and maybe this is what influenced them to have the CEO fixed to protect their turf and that is why they don’t want a professional running AK.

“I’m delighted my name has been cleared because it had dented my reputation,” a jovial Mwangi  told.

Speaking on the matter, Rugut acknowledged the report by the ADAK panel had found no sufficient evidence to charge Mwangi with claims made in an interview with the Associated Press by Joyce Sakari and Francesa Koki.

The two sprinters alleged the CEO asked them for $24,000 (Sh2.5m) each to reduce their suspensions after they failed doping tests at the Beijing World Championships last year and after failing to pay up, they were each slapped with four year bans.

 

 

“I don’t think the report cleared Mwangi as such. It just says that it did not find sufficient evidence and he can still be investigated further by other relevant arms of Government such as CID (Directorate of Criminal Investigations).

“It does not mean that Isaac Mwangi has been left to go scot-free. The report to the best of my knowledge recommends that the investigation can be carried further,” Rugut stressed.

On his part, Rao insisted findings of the ADAK panel report will not be relevant if presented to the world governing body if they are not given to him first for assessment.

Rao who is also due to release reports into other top suspended AK officials –President Isaiah Kiplagat, Vice-President David Okeyo and former Treasurer, Joseph Kinyua- maintains Mwangi still has a case to answer.

 

“They are fully aware that I had been asked to investigate. They had established this panel before the IAAF appointed me and the least I expect them to do is to forward me what they have done and I will give due consideration to but it will not be accepted by the IAAF unless under my recommendation,” the veteran lawyer and Chairman of the Kenya Judges and Magistrates Vetting Board stressed.

Rugut nonetheless explained their probe was independent from that of the Ethics Board and was conducted in the interests of ADAK being the local body involved in all matters related to anti-doping.

“We were not instructed by the IAAF, we did not know Rao was doing it until we saw it in the newspapers,” he emphasised.

 

“I knew the way we handled these cases, nothing of that nature would have happened. I obviously want to pursue this matter at the next level because I have my rights,” Mwangi stated confirming he would seek legal redress against his accusers.

-Abolished position-

Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario and Athletics Kenya president Jackson Tuwei join award-winning athletes for a photo shoot during the 2015 AK annual awards gala held at Safari Park hotel in Nairobi, Kenya on December 10, 2015. Photo/Stafford Ondego/Sportpicha.com
Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario and Athletics Kenya president Jackson Tuwei join award-winning athletes for a photo shoot during the 2015 AK annual awards gala held at Safari Park hotel in Nairobi, Kenya on December 10, 2015. Photo/Stafford Ondego/Sportpicha.com

The CEO who was hired on an initial three-year contract is also awaiting the outcome of whether a recommendation made last week to abolish his position by a task-force appointed by the federation to review its Constitution will be adopted.

“Those were the suggestions of the team that was looking at the Constitution. It has not gone through, it has not been registered and we cannot say that is the case until it goes through all the processes. It is being drafted and we can only say it has gone through when it is registered,” acting AK President, Lt. Gen (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei remarked.

 

“If you look at my history in sports management and AK, we have prosecuted these cases professionally and nothing of this nature could have happened. You obviously know I have my rights so I would obviously want to pursue this matter at the next level.

“What I don’t know is whether that (abolition of the CEO post) is whether that was immediate or it will go to the next elections. I saw some new positions being created of the Secretary General and Assistant Secretary General that we don’t have now. I don’t know whether it was starting immediately, I’ll have to get the details,” he underscored on the issue.

Following his suspension, Mwangi was also replaced as the CEO of the Local Organising Committee of the 2017 IAAF World Youth Championships on March 23 and former Kenya Rugby Union chairman, Mwangi Muthee, appointed in his place by the Government.

On April 8 the IAAF Ethics Board rejected an appeal he had filed challenging his dismissal from AK.

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Story By Mutwiri Mutuota
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