Athletics coach Claudio Berardelli has been cleared over charges of administering a banned performance-enhancing drug to former Boston and Chicago marathon champion Rita Jeptoo.
Berardelli was acquitted alongside local coach Daniel Cheribo Kiplangat and a medic, Dr Stephen Kiplangat Tanui by Nairobi’s Milimani Law Courts senior principal magistrate Kennedy Cheruiyot on Thursday.
The three had denied that they conspired to destroy the profession of Jeptoo, who is serving a four-year ban, for testing positive for banned substance Erythropoietin (EPO).
In his ruling, Cheruiyot said, “The prosecution failed to avail evidence to show how Berardelli, Kiplangat and Dr Tanui conspired to administer the prohibited drug EPO on Jeptoo.
“After analysing all the evidence from the 12 witnesses called by the prosecution I do not even find any iota of evidence to link Berardelli, Kiplangat and Dr Tanui with Jeptoo’s predicament,” ruled Mr Cheruiyot.
The magistrate freed Berardelli and Kiplangat but ruled that Dr Tanui will have a case to answer for operating a Chemist in Kapsabet Town without a license. He will defend himself on November 10, 2017.
Out of all the 12 witnesses called by State Prosecutor Everlyn Maika , none pointed an accusing finger at the trio.
However, some of the witnesses said that Dr Tanui lacked a license to operate the medical store.
Berardelli, 36, was charged along with Stephen Kiplagat Tanui, a pharmacist in Kapsabet town, and Daniel Cheribo Kiplangat for conspiring to injure the athlete’s profession by administering EPO.
The offence allegedly happened on diverse dates between August and September 2014 in Kapsabet Town, Nandi County.
Dr Tanui had been accused of operating a pharmacy without a license.
The magistrate directed Berardelli and Kiplangat to pay a cash bail of Sh200,000.
Mr Cheruiyot also directed that their travel documents, which had been deposited in court, be released to them.