AK in deeper hole: Officials fail to explain connection between federation and marketing company

By Omulo Okoth: Sunday, December 14th 2014 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Football
National Athletic Team Captain David Rudisha(right) and Pamela Jelimo(left) and other team leaders after President Kibaki hand over National flag to them at State House on Wednesday 27/06/12 as the lead team to Olympics.PHOTO: BONIFACE OKENDO

Two days after reports appeared in the British press about alleged cases of doping by Kenyan, Russian and British athletes, Kenyan athletics is again caught in a suspicious international syndicate, which officials could not explain.

The Daily Telegraph reported that 25 Kenyan athletes may have failed dope test, only second to Russia’s 58 in the world. Athletics Kenya (AK) officials are yet to comment on this report.

AK officials also yesterday declined to comment on their relationship with Pamodzi Sports Marketing, a company owned by Papa Massata Diack, who is among three high-raking International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) officials who stepped down three days ago in the wake of the scandalous doping report.

The head of Russian Athletics Federation, Valentin Balkhnichev, stepped down as IAAF treasurer. Dr Gabriel Dolle, who was head of IAAF Medical Commission, also resigned.

Papa Massata Diack, the CEO of Pamodzi Sports Marketing, and son of IAAF President, Lamine Diack, also quit as a marketing consultant for the world athletics ruling body, in which he was in charge of emerging markets – India, China, the Gulf and Africa.

According to documents in our possession, Pamodzi wired $199,930 (approx. Sh15 million) to AK Kenya Commercial Bank’s Moi Avenue branch dollar account in September 2010. The whole amount was withdrawn the following day by a senior AK official.

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We could not reach AK President, Isaiah Kiplagat. AK Vice President, David Okeyo, referred us to former AK Treasurer, Joseph Kinyua, who could not be reached.

Okeyo declined to comment on the matter, saying he needs more time to look at the documents.

An email in our possession apparently written by Papa Diack to Kiplagat and copied to Okeyo on September 22, 2010 suggests that he was fixing a meeting between the Kenyans and a Mr Jimmy Qin.

“Can we make a plan for you and David to visit Li Ning HQ from October 17 to 20? Can you confirm when to visit Nairobi this month for conclusions of our discussions with KOC (sic) – please David help on fixing date with Chairman Keino...”

Kiplagat apparently sent Diack an email on September 21 in which he asked the Senegalese when they would meet to discuss the design of the uniforms for World Cross Country Championships.

The Guardian revealed on Thursday that emails suggested Papa Massata Diack requested a $5m payment — $440,000 of it in cash — from Qatar during the race to host the 2017 World Athletics Championships in October 2011. It is not clear whether the payment was made.

The sport has been thrown into crisis by allegations of systemic doping among Russian athletes, claims of a cover-up at the highest levels of the IAAF and new questions over the conduct of Papa Massata Diack, the 50-year-old son of longstanding IAAF President Lamine.

However, IAAF denied allegations of cover up and termed claims as unethical. It also emerged that a list containing the names of 150 athletes, including three British athletes of whom one is a household name, with suspicious blood tests between 2006 and 2008 had not been used as a basis of a target testing programme.

It is understood that the three officials came under pressure to step down at an executive board meeting on Wednesday and agreed to step aside until the investigation into the claims had been completed.

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