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Okeyo banned for life, fined Sh15m for corruption

International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has banned long-serving Athletics Kenya (AK) official David Okeyo has from the sport for life.

Okeyo has further been ordered to pay $50,000 (Sh5.03 million) to AK and $100,000 (Sh10 million) to IAAF within 90 days as of yesterday’s announcement.

The panel of the IAAF Ethics Board Catherine M.E .O’Regan (chairperson) Kevan Gosper and Annabel Pennefather made the ruling after three years of investigations and evidence gathering that has transcended the four continents with meetings and witness statements in the country and abroad The announcement draws the curtains on career of one of Kenya’s most-decorated sportsmen and administrators.

“Mr Okeyo should be expelled from his office as a member of the IAAF Council and banned for life from taking or holding any office in the sport or taking part in any Athletics-related activity. The Panel imposes this ban with effect from the date of this decision,” the Board ruling read in part.

It added: “The Panel notes that Mr Okeyo has been found to have committed breaches of the Code on 10 occasions over a long period of time. Moreover, the effect of his conduct was to deprive Athletics Kenya of income from its sponsor that could have been better directed to support the development of the sport of athletics in Kenya.”

Okeyo, a former football and long jumper has been behind the most successful sports organisation in the country, serving the Nairobi branch of the defunct Kenya Ametuer Athletics Association (KAAA), flagging Kecoso and served as the head of the IAAF Cross-Country Commission alongside the African Athletic Commission. In an immediate reaction, Okeyo said he had instructed his lawyers to launch an appeal.

“We are appealing the decision. No further comment. That is all I can say,” he said. However, the ethics board at the same time vindicated former treasurer Joseph Kinyua, who alongside Okeyo and the late AK president Isaiah Kiplagat were being investigated for alleged diversion of AK funds for personal use.

Charges against Kiplagat were dropped after he passed away in 2016 after a long battle with cancer. Another case involving former CEO Issac Mwangi, accused of allegedly soliciting funds from athletes to interfere with their doping sentences, is still ongoing and will be resolved at a later date. Kinyua, told People Sport yesterday that he was happy the ruling vindicated him.

“I have always maintained that I was innocent. I am happy that I will not have anything hindering my access and contribution to the development of athletics in the country. I am going to be accepted to the athletics fraternity without any hindrance and that is what I have always wished for,” said Kinyua. 

The three top athletics officials were accused for diverting funds from American sports apparel manufacturer, Nike to their pockets, a charge that the long-serving official who had been elected to the supreme IAAF decision-making organ, the Council, before he was suspended denied. 

On Kinyua, the board said it could not convict him since unlike his co-accused, he has never held office at the world body, having served as AK treasurer for a decade.

“Although Kinyua has been found to have engaged in similar conduct, because he was not bound by the 2003 Code of Ethics, he cannot be found to have been in breach of that Code,” the judgment read.

Having been first suspended in November 2015, the board extended the sanctions in May last year before the case that was scheduled to be heard in Cape Town, South Africa was switched to Nairobi where the accused had their day in January.

Mwangi was suspended from his role in February 2016 when two sprinters, Francesca Koki and Joy Zakari Nakumincha accused him of demanding a USD20,000 (Sh2 million) in bribes to reduce their suspension after they tested positive for banned substances at Beijing 2015.

Since then, two more athletes, have come forward to accuse the CEO of soliciting bribes with Mwangi’s defence denying all counts levelled against him.

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