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DCI to probe Nick Mwendwa over Sh244m FKF fraud claim

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2021 16:12 |
Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president Nick Mwendwa. PHOTO/COURTESY

The noose is tightening on Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president Nick Mwendwa after the government asked the Director of Criminal Investigations to open investigations into alleged misappropriation of funds amounting to Sh244.6 million.

The Ministry of Sports also announced that it had asked the Registrar of Sports in conjunction with the Auditor-General Nancy Gathungu and representatives of the ministry and the private sector to undertake a thorough financial audit of all the federation’s accounts.

Revelations of the love on FKH came on a day the National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee  (PAC) summoned Mwendwa over allegations that he had pocketed Sh11 million players’ allowances for the national soccer team Harambee Stars and members of the technical bench who took part in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

The money is part of the Sh244.59 million that was drawn from the Sports, Arts and Social Development Fund (SASDF).

MPs issued the summons after Sports Principal Secretary Joe Okudo told them that the ministry was left with no option but to rein in the federation.

Hiding behind Fifa

The PS, who appeared before the committee chaired by Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi, accused the federation of turning rogue while hiding behind the world soccer governing body FIFA to avoid being held to account for money they received from the exchequer.

“The Sports Fund disbursed Sh244.6 million for Football Kenya Federation (FKF) during the year under review for the Harambee Stars AFCON championship.

The audit reveals that the funds were not utilised in accordance with the law.

The Cabinet Secretary of Sports has written to the Registrar of Sports to undertake a thorough financial audit of all the accounts of FKF, we have also asked the DCI to investigate FKF as an institution,” Okudo said.

He added: “I think, for me, this is a golden opportunity to resolve these problems within the federation, once and for all; this is the time when we can really rein in on these rogue institutions, it’s not going to be an easy fight but it will be a golden opportunity to resolve this problem.

In all these federations, there has been a problem because of the caveat that governments cannot interfere with them yet we are the ones that fund them and that is why FKF is currently under investigations.”

The ministry’s decision comes after Kenya’s 6-0 aggregate loss to Mali in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers that saw Mwendwa ridiculously allege that the country lacked quality players to challenge the continent’s soccer heavyweights.

“The work that needs to be done is that we need to bring the talent to the table.

For you to win, you need quality players. You guys know Moussa Djenepo, do we have a player like him?” he posed during an interview with a local TV station, referring to Mali’s Southampton midfielder.

In parliament yesterday, Okudo said the government’s decision to invite detectives to investigate the federation comes after FIFA gave them the go-ahead to probe FKF after a series of petitions from the government.

The DCI is expected to investigate, among other things, FKF’s double requisition of funds from the government and Fifa on the same budget items.

Fifa rules state the governing football federations and their member states across the globe, governments are not allowed to interfere with the management of federations as they are considered private football bodies.

“We have been engaging Fifa to allow us to move in so that we can have proper structures at FKF.

Now that Fifa has allowed us, we will ensure proper management of football in this country,” the PS said.

Okudo, who appeared before the committee to respond to audit queries for the financial year 2019/2020, revealed that the misappropriation of funds at the federation has been in existence for long and that is why they had made a decision to stop any further funding to the institution.

“We have been funding them directly but after the last scandal we took a decision not to fund FKF, they used to rush to the media to protest but currently they don’t have good relations with members of the public going by the social media posts we have seen following their poor performance,” he said.

He claimed that protests by some players two years ago that they were not being paid their allowances was part of the rogue deals that the FKF management had been engaged in as they used to reduce the allowances and pocket the money at the expense of players.

Okudo said the ministry had since resorted to paying all allowances as approved by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission directly to players, leaving FKF to handle expenses incurred in hosting teams.

“About two years ago, there was so much noise from our sportsmen complaining of not getting their allowances and tickets on time; when the federations make applications to the Fund they receive the money but many things happen because they were in charge of payment and they would even reduce the amounts paid to hotels for players and what they did with the rest we live it to our imagination,” he said.

Audit queries

He added: “They would do the same on allowances so what we did (is to pay) the allowances to the national teams directly but the fees for hosting the team goes to the federation and that is why the noises do not come as much because at least the athletes and our sportsmen are now protected.

We had to do that because the federations were going rogue. We pay the players straight to the source so that the federation has no say on where they are going to stay.”

Committee members present during the session included Wandayi, Otiende Amollo (Rarieda) and Ngugi Nduati (Gatanga), who said there was need for Mwendwa to appear before them to shed light on the alleged misappropriation of funds at the federation.

“It will be good for this committee to hear from Mwendwa, where he took the money and why he did it without the requisite documents and authorisation,” said Wandayi.

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