Kenya's biggest sports scandals of 2021 [Pulse Picks 2021]

Nick Mwendwa arrested twice then resigned

Pulse Picks: Five biggest scandals in Kenyan sports for 2021

Controversy and sport have gone hand-in-hand for time immemorial. So, in that sense, 2021 was no different. This writer takes a look at some of the key controversies that led to extended discussions amongst fans throughout the year.

Nick Mwendwa arrested twice then resigns

On November 30, Nick Mwendwa stepped aside as president of Football Kenya Federation (FKF) after being charged with multiple counts of fraud.

Mwendwa stated he was handing over the reins to vice president Doris Petra because he felt "personally targeted" by his arrest and the subsequent charges, which he denies.

"In light of the frequent arrests and detentions, which have adversely affected my family and personal business, and whilst I am confident I will be cleared of any wrongdoing in the end, I have asked my vice president Madam Doris Petra to assume all functions of the FKF president," Mwendwa wrote.

On Monday, November 29 Mwendwa pleaded not guilty to four counts of fraud at an anti-corruption court in Nairobi, having been re-arrested by police on Friday, November 26.

The total amount of money Mwendwa and others, who were not present in court, are accused of taking from FKF is about Sh38m.

Mwendwa, who had been head of the FKF since 2016, is currently out on a cash bail of 10m Kenyan shillings as he awaits trial.

On Thursday, November 15, the FKF announced the case against him was over and the court returned his cash bail of Sh4m but the police later clarified that it was not the fraud case that had been closed.

It meant that the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) continued its investigations and eventually arrested him for a second time, with Mwendwa then being formally charged with corruption.

FKF disbanded by Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed

On November 11, a 15 member committee was appointed by Cabinet Secretary for Sports Amina Mohamed to handle affairs of Football Kenya Federation (FKF).

The committee led by former director of the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission Aaron Ringera was given six months to steady the sinking ship that is FKF.

Other members of the committee are General Retired Moses Oyugi, Fatma Adan, Philip Musyimi, Anthony Isayi, Elisha Kiplagat and Hassan Haji, Fredrick Tureisa, Mwangi Muthee, Neddy Atieno, Ali Amour, Titus Kasuve, Richard Omwela, Bobby Ogolla and JJ Masiga.

The move came after CS Amina received the audit report on FKF from Sports Registrar Rose Wasike.

Mohamed's statement said that FKF has "over the past few years … faced several governance issues that have been of great concern to the Ministry". The FKF has failed to account for all the monies allocated to it by the government," she wrote.

100m athlete Mark Otieno fails doping test

Hours before making his Olympic debut, sprinter Mark Otieno Odhiambo was provisionally suspended for failing a drugs test during the Tokyo Olympics.

The samples collected from the athlete tested positive for the prohibited substance Methasterone, ranked among the Anabolic Androgenic Steroids (AAS).

The test was carried out on July 28 while the athlete was at the Olympic village in Tokyo, before that he had been at a training camp in Japan between July 15 and 24.

On August 13, a report released by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) indicated that Odhiambo failed two drug tests, one before and the other during the Summer Games.

"On 2 August, the WADA-accredited laboratory in Bloemfontein (RSA), confirmed an Adverse Analytical Finding in a sample collected on 24 June by the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK)," revealed AIU.

Upon request, ADAK immediately handed over the case management responsibility for the ADAK sample to the AIU.

Kasarani & Nyayo stadia banned from hosting International football matches

On October 31, football fans were handed a major blow after the Confederation of African Football (CAF) indicated that Kenya’s major stadia; Kasarani and Nyayo fall short of quality standards.

In two separate letters, the African body explained that Nyayo partially met their requirements while Kasarani failed totally to meet inspection requirements.

Below are some of the highlighted issues;

-The pitch is in poor condition. Overall pitch condition must be improved, and the surface must be levelled, green and marked clearly in white; Markings on the pitch should be symmetric all over the field of play.

– The floodlights capacity is around 500 Lux. For evening matches, ensure that the floodlights LUX capacity is according to the CAF match requirements: A minimum of 1200 Lux should be provided all over the pitch, covering uniformly every area of the playing field.

– All the current teams and referees dressing rooms need a full upgrade and renovation.

– The teams and officials dressing rooms are not up to the standard for professional footballers use. It needs general maintenance, renovation, and appropriate high standard equipment. Consider demolishing the current dressing rooms and toilets, and build new ones.

– The stadium must be equipped with a dedicated room for first aid and medical treatment of players.

– Seats for spectators must be individual, fixed (e.g. to the floor), separated from one another, shaped, numbered, made of an unbreakable and non-flammable material, and have a backrest of a minimum height of thirty (30) cm when measured from the seat.

– Spectator stands need general maintenance, painting and cleaning, followed by installation of individual fixed seats in all sectors.

– The stadium must be equipped with refreshment and catering facilities for all spectators in every sector of the stadium.

– There is no media centre available in the stadium; The stadium must have a modern Media Centre available and should be equipped with the following: Desks, power supply, phone/internet connections and television must be provided for media representatives.

Former sports minister Hassan Wario escapes jail time

On September 16, Former Cabinet Secretary of sports Hassan Wario paid a fine to avoid spending six years in jail following his role in the misuse of public funds set aside for the 2016 Olympic Games campaign.

Wario had been given the option of six years in prison or paying a fine of Sh3.6m. Wario was found guilty by the Kenyan Anti-Corruption Magistrate's Court for misusing public funds allocated to the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) for the Games in Rio.

Athletes did not receive their Nike kits while some of them were stranded in a Rio shantytown, where gunshots were heard, as officials looked for a 'cheap flight' home.

In-office from 2013 to 2018, Wario was guilty of "willfully failing to comply with applicable procedures and guidelines relating to management of public funds."

Former NOCK official Stephen Soi, who was Kenya's chef de mission for the 2016 Olympics, was convicted on five charges of corruption after diverting money meant for athletes' travel and accommodation as well as kit from sportswear giants Nike.

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