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January 16, 2019

IAAF hands Okeyo life ban, fines him Sh15m for funds mismanagement

Former Athletics Kenya vice president David Okeyo. /FILE
Former Athletics Kenya vice president David Okeyo. /FILE

IAAF Council member and former Athletics Kenya vice president David Okeyo has been banned from athletic activities for life and a Sh15m fine levied upon him for financial malpractices at Riadha House.

Okeyo alongside his co-accused, former AK treasurer Joseph Kinyua and Isaiah Kiplagat, immediate former AK President (now deceased) were charged for diversion of substantial funds for their direct or indirect personal benefit in breach of the IAAF Code of Ethics.

Barry Dean, a forensic accountant who was investigating the allegations indicated that the three benefited from an approximately Sh130m in the misconduct.

The funds in question were received by Athletics Kenya from one of their major sponsors, Nike.

Asserting that the monies could have been used to develop athletics in Kenya, the IAAF Ethics Board panel (Catherine O’Regan, Kevan Gosper and Annabel Pennefather) directed Okeyo to pay the sum to AK’s accounts within 90 days. On the other hand, Kinyua, who was not bound by the provisions of the 2003 Code was consequently acquitted.

"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," the panel noted.

"The pattern of conduct warrants serious sanctions to establish the firm principle that federation officials must act scrupulously and transparently in managing the finances of their federations in order to protect the name and reputation of the sport of athletics."

Investigations, as noted in the decision, indicate that a sum of Sh123m was remitted to AK by Nike in 16 payments between December 2004 and December 2012.

The ruling document indicates that Okeyo directly or indirectly benefited in nine payments and the honorarium payments for the years 2004, 2006 and 2007, breaching his obligations in terms of the 2003 Code.

The first fictitious withdrawal was Sh6.5m on November 18, 2004 just two days after Nike had deposited Sh6.4m to AK’s accounts.

The last of the 16 payments involving Okeyo was in January 18, 2012 where Okeyo withdrew a sum of Sh10m which the corresponding payment voucher stated that the payee was ‘C.Officer’ and note adds that the amount was paid in out to Kiplagat, Okeyo and Kinyua as provided by Nike.

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