Kenya football boss Mwendwa arrested

13 Nov, 2021 - 00:11 0 Views
Kenya football boss Mwendwa arrested Nick Mwendwa

The Herald

NAIROBI. — The president of the Kenya Football Federation was arrested yesterday as a series of developments threw the country’s footballing future into uncertainty.

FKF president, Nick Mwendwa, was detained two days after Kenya’s Sports Ministry created a caretaker committee to run the federation for six months.

“People identifying themselves as DCI (Directorate of Criminal Investigations) officers have arrested the FKF president,” a FKF official told BBC Sport Africa.

“He was not given any reason why he was arrested, so we are still trying to follow up.”

A recent report commissioned by Kenya’s Sports Ministry recommended that authorities should carry out further investigations into the FKF.

These are intended to establish “the extent to which the misappropriation of funds in FKF may have occurred, with a view of prosecuting those who may be found culpable”.

Fifa officials were recently in Nairobi conducting their own audit into the FKF, which Mwendwa has led since 2016.

Mwendwa has denied any wrongdoing.

“We have not been found guilty of anything,” Mwendwa said at a press conference on Thursday.

“The Minister, all along, has been trying to remove us illegally from office. As FKF, we reject this committee and rebuke it.”

On Thursday, football’s world governing body advised Kenya was likely to face an international ban unless the actions of Sports Minister Amina Mohamed are undone.  FIFA disapproves of governmental interference in the running of a member association and has banned countries from all forms of football as a result in the past.

“We deem fit to highlight that all FIFA member associations, including the FKF, are statutorily required to manage their affairs independently and without undue influence of any third parties,” FIFA wrote.

“We consider that the decision to appoint a FKF caretaker committee in lieu of the elected FKF Executive Committee is undoubtedly contrary to the above principles.”

Nonetheless, the caretaker committee took several major decisions yesterday, including the suspension of the top three men’s and top two women’s leagues in Kenya for a fortnight.

“The decision has been reached to ensure regularisation of the league activities across the country,” Justice Aaron Ringera, the chairperson of the caretaker committee, said in a statement.

Kenya will not be appearing at January’s Africa Cup of Nations finals, having failed to qualify, while the team can also no longer reach the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Over the past five years, the FKF boss has come under scrutiny on various grounds, from the state of Kenyan football to the dismal performances of the national team in recent years.

While Mwendwa has come under fire more often than not, he has somehow always managed to strongly defend himself from critics, until a few months ago.

In July, serious questions were raised after Auditor General Nancy Gathungu queried KSh 11 million (about US$98 000) payments to Mwendwa without requisite documents or authorisation.

The payments were allegedly made April 25, 2019 and November 29, 2019 and that was only one of the many scandals that have rocked the federation.

Months later and after the unexpected walking away of Jacob Ghost Mulee from the Harambee Stars job.

Mwendwa and his administration are under criticism for handing the job to Engin Firat, who has overseen two defeats and a draw as the Harambee Stars boss, with the nation’s hopes of qualifying for the World Cup completely crushed.

Then came calls for an audit into FKF’s financial records by Sports Minister, Amina Mohammed, on October 16 — a move which was a prelude of the woes awaiting Mwendwa in the near future. — BBC Sport/tuco.co.ke

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