Mwendwa, Kaberia war of words intensifies
Monday’s revelations that Football Kenya Federation (FKF) misused money from government meant for national men’s team Harambee Stars during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) has heightened the war of words between Sports Principal Secretary Peter Kaberia and FKF president Nick Mwendwa.
Mwendwa claimed Kaberia was behind reports that the federation misused Sh244million from the government meant for Stars before and during the June 21 to July 19 tournament in Egypt.
Reports on Monday indicated Mwendwa carried joyriders to Egypt while paying them hefty allowances, single sourced Belgian-based OneGoal Pro Agency owned by Cameroonian-born football agent Joe Kamga and paid him Sh106 million for Stars three-week training camp in France, against public procurement rules. He also inflated air ticket prices for national team members while not paying the players their dues. However, Mwendwa yesterday dismissed the reports, terming them malice planted by Kaberia to tarnish the federation.
“I think he is the one who has said it. They claim 25 per cent of the Sh244 million which is Sh61 million was paid to players which is a big lie since we paid them Sh78 million,” said Mwedwa during the unveiling of betting firm Betika as sponsors of the National Super League in Nairobi, yesterday.
He added: “If he cannot work, let him leave. It will not happen again that one person with his threats of audit and whatever will stop our national teams from playing when we ask what is rightfully theirs. We know about stadiums. Nothing has been done yet there is Sh8.5 billion in the Sports Fund kitty. For three years, Nyayo Stadium is not ready, we hear about Ruring’u now and here we are going to Narok and places like that to beg for stadiums.”
Kaberia, however, dismissed Mwendwa’s claims as the last kicks of a dying horse, saying he was feeling the heat after auditors swung into action to look into FKF’s books of account.
“An audit is ongoing at FKF’s offices at Goal Project. We want full disclosure, accountability and transparency on public funds. Once the audit is over, we will tell Kenyans what we have found,” Kaberia told our sister station K24 TV yesterday.
“FKF are not happy that we do not give them money directly like we have been doing. Nowadays, we send the foreign-based players air tickets, make their travel arrangements and book hotels for the teams without involving the federation. We also send allowances directly to players’ accounts,” added Kaberia while quashing Mwendwa’s claims that players’ allowances have not been paid.
According to the report, Mwendwa pocketed Sh50,000 daily for the 13 days Stars were in Egypt while his deputy Doris Petra took home Sh45,000 per day. Each of the eight National Executive Committee (NEC) members who travelled earned Sh40,000 for every night spent in Cairo, CEO Robert Muthomi, now sacked, pocketed Sh35,000 daily as support staff earned Sh10,000 per day translating to Sh5 million on people who had little or nothing to do in Egypt.
The decision to hire Kamga, who was also the agent of the then Stars coach Sebastien Migne, raised questions as well as the suitability of France as a training base given it was cold unlike Dubai, a cheaper option whose weather was as hot as that in Egypt.
“The agent we used is known to the public. He is the biggest in Belgium and is FIFA-accreditaed. Migne told us he wants France because he wants to train in secret,” argued Mwendwa defending himself over the issue.