PORT LOUIS – Fresh scrutiny of Athletics Kenya, AK, is on, as the pressure builds up on the top brass.
Even as IOC president Dr. Thomas Bach and National Olympics Committee of Kenya president Kipchoge Keino converged in Mauritius demanding a sweeping change at AK, Isaiah Kiplagat said he is ready to hand over power.
The tripartite meeting that had IAAF president Seb Coe calling in from Monaco agreed on a fresh round of investigations by the Government into the corruption allegations and doping cover-ups, against the AK officials.
Bach met with Kipchoge, NOCK secretary General Francis Paul, IOC member Paul Tergat in Port Louis, the Island capital on Wednesday, as Coe he held discussions with the Kenyan Minister of Sports Dr.Hassan Wario in Monaco, and agreed that it would only be proper for Kiplagat and Okeyo to step aside and allow conclusive investigations.
“We agreed that there is need to form investigations on two fronts. Firstly there was the investigations on the Ethics and Anti-corruption commission which should be concluded.
"There is in need of an inquiry committee that will not only look at the doping cover-ups, but also probe those who are introducing the performance enhancing drugs amongst the athletes,” said Tergat.
Okeyo, who is also an IAAF council member is being investigated by the sports governing body over claims that he alongside Kiplagat and Joseph Kinyua, the former treasurer, pocketed about Ksh.70m from the sponsorship deal with their partner Nike.
They have denied the allegations and dismissed the claims as witch-hunt by a disgruntled former employee of the Federation.
'Goons hired by EC member'
“Coe said that IAAF is clear that Okeyo would not be part of the council business until he is cleared by the Ethics Committee. Therefore, they (Kiplagat and Okeyo) should stay out to allow full investigations to be conducted,” added Kipchoge.
Indisposed Kiplagat said he is ready to step aside, adding that the Criminal Investigations Department who interrogated them earlier in the year on the corruption allegations, had closed the case.
The anti-corruption body had listed the AK officials as among officials to be investigated in 2014.
“As soon as I am well I will go and hand over. I am not interested in continuing. I have no interest, I am ready to let go,” he said,claiming that the disruption on Monday was caused by hired goons acting on behalf of an AK Executive Committee member.
Runners aligned to the Professional Athletics Association of Kenya stormed Riadha house on Monday and paralysed operations that culminated in a meeting the following day, that called for the resignations of the president and his vice.
“I was expected to go to the offices then and I was planning to suggest to the board to consider snap elections considering all the corruption and doping cover-up claims and have a clean mandate to prepare for Rio.
Caretaker committee should take over
“I am sure this did not go down well with some members of the EC, who may have arranged the invasion,” he claimed.
The meeting in Mauritius reckoned that their exit would allow for a caretaker committee to run the association until an elective extraordinary general meeting is held next year.
“A caretaker committee will be appointed by the NOC and Government to oversee the operations of AK.Possibly what is needed is a fresh team,” said Kipchoge.
The meeting also decided that there was need to meet Dr Wario or even the President Uhuru Kenyatta, to implore the Government the need to urgently release funds and operationalise the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya by 2016.
“We have to move quick and push the government to release the funds fast,” said Tergat, the two-time Olympic silver medalist..
“ I feel bad that we find ourselves in this Administration mess with people casting doubts on our performances because I know the sacrifices the athletes put in.”