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Temporary relief for Nick Mwendwa as court frees him on Sh4m bail

NATIONAL
By Paul Ogemba | November 15th 2021
FKF President Nick Mwendwa at a Milimani court on Monday, November 15, 2021, when he was arraigned at the court under a miscellaneous application over alleged involvement of mismanagement of funds at the federation. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

Ousted Football Kenya Federation boss Nick Mwendwa got a temporary reprieve after a court released him on bail pending the determination of an application to detain him for two weeks.

Milimani senior principal magistrate Wandia Nyamu granted Mwendwa a cash bail of Sh4 million or the alternative of Sh7 million bond with two sureties of the same amount with conditions that he does not access his former office, contact FKF employees or attend any football match.

“He is to strictly comply with the conditions which also stop him from addressing the media concerning the dispute,” ruled Nyamu.

The embattled former FKF president’s freedom could however be short-lived depending on what the magistrate will rule tomorrow on the application by the Director of Criminal Investigation to detain him.

Prosecution counsel Everline Onunga asked the court to detain Mwendwa for 14 days to allow them conclude investigations into the suspected fraudulent acquisition of public property.

According to the prosecution, Mwendwa is being investigated for allegedly transferring Sh8.5 million from the FKF account to his personal accounts and authorising the fictitious withdrawal of Sh29.5 million from the federation’s account.

“He was the FKF president and was in control of public funds advanced to the federation by the government and other donors... it is important that the court allows his detention for 14 days to allow detectives complete investigations,” said Onunga.

She relied on an affidavit by investigating officer Moses Mnangat who swore that they commenced investigations after receiving a report from the Registrar of Sports alleging fraudulent transactions at FKF. 

According to the investigator, they were informed that there were money transfers from the federation’s accounts while government grants advanced to the federation between 2017 and 2021 could not be accounted for.

He added that since Mwendwa has vowed to continue serving as FKF president despite Sports CS Amina Mohammed disbanding the federation, they are apprehensive that he will access his office and destroy evidence linking him to the alleged scandal.

Mwendwa’s fall from grace began on Thursday last week when the Sports CS disbanded FKF and appointed a caretaker committee headed by retired Judge Aaron Ringera to lead the federation for six months. He was arrested on Friday and spent the weekend in custody before being brought to court.

His lawyers led by Prof Tom Ojienda and Eric Mutua opposed the application to detain him for another 14 days.

He accused the CS of lying to Kenyans that the ex-FKF boss was being probed for Sh513 million loss at the federation when only Sh40 million was presented to court as the money allegedly lost.

Prof Ojienda asked the magistrate to consider the wellbeing of football in the country, arguing that detaining Mwendwa is likely to lead to FIFA sanctions and lockout the country from major competitions.

“It is in the public interest that the country does not attract the ban from FIFA because if this happens, there will be no football in Kenya,” said Ojienda.

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