Suspended Athletics Kenya (AK) officials have until January 12 to respond to graft and subversion charges against them.
Former AK president Isaiah Kiplagat, vice president David Okeyo and former treasurer Joseph Kinyua, who have been suspended for six months for alleged involvement in corruption, have to respond in writing before formal proceedings can start.
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Ethics Commission on November 30 suspended the trio for their alleged involvement in corruption and cover up in anti-doping control in Kenya.
Sharad Rao, who has been appointed to investigate the cases, said he has also written to all parties involved including Nike, Qatar Athletics federation and Athletics Kenya among other sources to explain their involvement.
Rao said if the information and process is expedited in time, he should file his final report with the IAAF within three months of the stipulated suspension.
Kiplagat, Okeyo and Kinyua are alleged to have syphoned off funds amounting over Sh70 million from sponsorship deal between Athletics Kenya and multinational sportswear giant Nike stretching back to the 2010.
RECEIVED TWO VEHICLES
Kiplagat and AK are also alleged to have received two motor vehicles from Qatar Athletics Federation so as to vote in favour of Doha in hosting the 2019 World Championships. The city eventually won the bid.
“I have asked them to explain in writing before we can formally start the proceedings,” said Rao. “We want Nike and Qatar to provide all the details involving all their transactions with Athletics Kenya and the officials.”
Rao said that even though doping is rampant in the country, he will only have to investigate on whether the officials were paid to cover up some athletes and not necessarily the kingpins behind the vice.
“Investigating whether the officials were paid to hide doping cases is different from finding out who are involved in the vice,” said Rao, who is a former Director of Public Prosecutions in Kenya and the current Chairman of the Judges and Magistrates Vetting Board.
Rao said the reports from IAAF and Kenyan police will also help him in the investigations since officers from Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) have already been interrogated the officials concerning Nike deals among other corruption allegations.
However, having served in Kenyan sports circles since 1960, Rao vowed to go further and release any information that will help in dealing with doping situation in the country. “I should use my position to engage the National Olympic Committee of Kenya, the government and AK so that image is not damaged further by doping,” said Rao.
While suspending the officials, the IAAF Ethics Commission indicated that a prima fancie case has been established against them.
Michael Beloff, the Commission’s chairman, said that the move was taken to safeguard the interests and integrity of the sport.