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Kenyan MPs finally approve anti-doping law

By Alphonce Shiundu | April 20th 2016

MPs yesterday rejected last-minute changes to the Anti-Doping Bill, 2016 before they finally approved it for assent.

The amendments sought to enhance fines and jail-terms for sports cheats, and for coaches and doctors.

The MPs retained a Sh3 million minimum fine for doctors and health professionals who are either caught with banned substances or prescribe banned drugs to the athletes.

Labour and Social Welfare Committee Chairman David Were (Matungu) whose committee scrutinised the Bill said the twin goals of protecting athletes and setting up mechanisms to nail cheats have been taken care of by the Bill.

"The principal object of this Bill is to protect the fundamental right of athletes to participate in sports activities that are free from doping; and to put in place co-ordinated and effective mechanisms to detect, deter and prevent the use of prohibited substances or prohibited methods in competitive and recreational sport with the aim of ensuring fairness and equity in sporting activities and promoting the health of athletes globally," the committee said in a report tabled yesterday.

Enacting the Bill is a key requirement by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) for Kenya's participation in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics that kicks off on August 5.

In the House, MPs rejected a proposal to drop the minimum Sh3 million fine for doctors and health professionals who prescribe banned substances.

"If you say a maximum of Sh5 million, the judge can give zero fine. This one should be rejected. It is a bad one," said George Oner (Rangwe).

The MPs also rejected the five-fold increase for rogue coaches and instructors, which according to the Bill would have been slapped with a maximum fine of Sh100,000 but which the committee wanted increased to Sh500,000.

The other rejection was an enhancement of the fines for athletes to Sh5 million from Sh3 million.

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