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International Olympic Committee impose cash sanctions on Kenya

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The International Olympics Committee (IOC) has slapped financial sanctions on its Kenyan affiliate barely 48 hours after its top officials revolted against proposed reforms.

On Tuesday, 11 of 13 Kenyan National Olympic Committee (Nock) Executive Committee members voted against the adoption of an IOC-backed new constitution that seeks among other things to limit their power.

IOC Head of Media Relations and Monitoring, Emmanuelle Moreau, confirmed on Thursday evening that the international body had cracked the whip against the Nock pending an Executive Board meeting next week where Kenya’s fate will be decided.

Moreau said the IOC is extremely disappointed by the outcome of the Nock extraordinary General Assembly which did not address governance issues in the appropriate way.

"This goes against the tripartite agreement (IOC-NOC-Government authorities) reached in September 2016 in Lausanne and the roadmap and discussions with the NOC over the last few months," he said in a statement.

Moreau said the IOC is now putting on hold all payments of subsidies to the Nock until a decision of the IOC Executive Board is taken at its meeting next week.

Withdrawal of IOC funding is bound to cripple the operations at Nock led by pioneering Olympics Laureate, Dr Kipchoge Keino, the retired distance running legend who is widely regarded as the father of Kenya’s athletics.

Keino who is also an honorary IOC Member and long-serving Nock president led the majority of his Executive to vote against the proposed constitution at an Extra Ordinary stakeholders meeting in Nairobi.

Needing a two-thirds majority to be adopted, the draft regulations supported by most affiliate federations prevailed with a vote of 19 to 13 that fell short of the threshold that would have paved way to new Nock elections by the end of this month as IOC backed roadmap suggested.

The IOC Board is expected to ban Kenya from the international Olympic family or impose heavy sanctions against individual officials responsible for scuttling the path to reforms that started in earnest last December during its meeting on March 15 and 16.

"The result showed we believe in a fair game.

"It is the wish of Kenyans and the next elections will be held in June under the old constitution," the Nock boss said following the meeting.

The IOC had sent Jerome Poive, Head of Relations on Institutional Governance, Mohamed Azzoug, chief of staff at the Association of National Olympics Committees of Africa (ANOCA) to Nairobi as observers to oversee the voting process on Tuesday.

However, they left in a huff following the outcome, as the threat of an Olympic ban for Kenya loomed large.

Retired former world marathon record holders and Olympics silver medalists, Paul Tergat, and Catherine Ndereba broke ranks with the other members of the Nock Executive in voting for the new constitution.

On the other side of the divide that pitted the administrators against affiliate federations keen to push them out of power, representatives of the Kenya Swimming and Kenya taekwondo federations voted to shoot down the document alongside Keino and Co against the wishes of their colleagues.

Trouble for the incumbent Nock officials started three days after the end of the Rio 2016 Olympics on August 27, 2016 when the country’s minister for sports, culture and the arts, Dr. Hassan Wario, disbanded Nock and ordered a probe to the chaos that rocked the Kenyan team in Brazil.

It led to the arrest and subsequent charging of four senior Nock officials, Francis Kinyili Paul (Secretary General), Pius Ochieng (First Vice-chairman), Ben Ekumbo (Second vice-chairman) and Stephen arap Soi (Executive Officer/ Chef-de-Mission).

They were charged with various counts of theft by servant, amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars, theft of Nike kit meant for Team Kenya athletes, and abuse of office with all out on bail pending hearing and determination of their cases that were consolidated by Kenyan prosecutors.

Following the disbandment, Keino travelled to the IOC headquarters with representatives from government and affiliate federations who had appointed interim officials to run the body where a negotiated roadmap to reform was agreed.

However, the provision barring sitting Nock officials from voting at the elections could have sounded the death knell for all incumbent officials.

It was difficult to dislodge sitting Nock officials since they had a head start of 13 votes at any election, requiring only three more to attain a simple majority of 16 that was needed to secure a seat.


Kenyans risks IOC ban after failing to amend old constitution



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