Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Robert Muthomi, Sunday, bowed down to pressure and stepped aside as investigations continue into allegations that he tried to aid the transfer of Kenyan international John Avire.
In a statement signed by him, Muthomi said that his decision to step aside was to protect his own integrity, and that he had utmost faith in the competence of the FKF judicial process.
He also termed the allegations as “malicious”, and hoped to resume his duties as soon as he was cleared.
“In view of the on-going debate and conversations in regards to the allegations made by Sofapaka on my purported involvement in the transfer of player John Avire, I have this morning requested the FKF president to allow me step aside for investigations to commence.
“While I have utmost faith in the independence and competence of the FKF judicial process as earlier stated, I realize that for my own integrity and that of the office of the FKF general secretary, as well as the greater football public a thoroughly credible process has to be undertaken.
“I am also convinced that this is the best course of action both for public confidence on myself and the institution that is FKF. I am cognizant of the fact that my continued execution of the role of General Secretary while this process is ongoing may be seen as an attempt to circumvent or influence the investigation process.
“Nonetheless, I would like to reiterate that I have not resigned from my position as General Secretary and CEO of FKF, and that I believe at the end of the investigation I shall be vindicated and cleared of these malicious accusations. I look forward to resuming my duties in the near future,” the statement read in part.
On Friday, FKF confirmed that they had opened proceedings against the CEO who had earlier on admitted to writing a letter to the Egyptian embassy asking them to process Avire’s visa. This was just eight days after the striker, who is contracted to Sofapaka until December 2020, had been in Egypt as a Harambee Stars player.
The letter is believed to have been leaked by someone within the federation, a matter that has created quiet tension within the FKF secretariat.
More importantly, this matter is said to have angered president Mwendwa, who grew scared of the media backlash that followed and worried about the impact it would have on his re-election campaign, as well as the spotlight it shone on pre-existing allegations that top FKF officials were influencing squad selection at the national team.
Muthomi’s letter came just an hour after Mwendwa had called for a press conference on Monday morning where he was expected to announce the fate of the embattled CEO, who was one of his greatest campaign mercenaries in 2016.
Avire is yet to resume training with Sofapaka, and chairman Elly Kalekwa has accused the FKF of illegally meddling in the transfer of his key players.
“How can the FKF CEO write him a letter claiming that he is going to Egypt as a fan, yet the club is waiting for him to report for preseason training? Avire was at Muthomi’s office last Thursday and they even left together in his car. What was he doing with my player?” Kalekwa posed during an interview with Nation Sport last Wednesday.
Avire received his maiden call up to the national team two months ago, and this was met with widespread uproar from fans, the media and pundits. This is because it came at the expense of Allan Wanga and Jesse Were who had by far recorded more impressive seasons with their respective clubs.
At the Africa Cup of Nations, Avire featured twice for Harambee Stars against Tanzania and Senegal, and is believed to have attracted interest from an unknown Egyptian top tier side following his exploits at the continental tournament.