Embattled Kenyan football Chief interrogated in graft case

Former Football Kenya Federation President is facing the Directorate of Criminal Investigations on corruption charges
Nick Mwendwa, President of the Football Kenya Federation (FKF), speaks to media ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier match between Kenya and Ghana at Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi on September 7, 2018. (Photo by Yasuyoshi CHIBA / AFP)

Former Football Kenya Federation President Nick Mwendwa is being interrogated by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations over his role in the alleged embezzlement of funds during his tenure at the federation.

Mwendwa is being questioned about how his administration spent the KSh244 million for the Harambee Stars’ participation at the Africa Cup of Nations in 2019.

He will also face questioning regarding a KSh125 million contract with British firm WTS Media for the purchase of equipment. WTS Media went into administration in 2018, a few months after receiving the money from FKF for an OB van which was not delivered.

Mwendwa was accompanied to the DCI’s Kiambu Road headquarters by FKF CEO Barry Otieno. The DCI had reportedly received a formal complaint from the ministry of sports who remained unsatisfied with explanations given for the utilization of the funds. Former Principal Secretary for Sports Peter Kaberia, now in the Ministry of Mining had been questioned in the past by the DCI over the same matter.

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A DCI spokesman confirmed the interrogation. “He (Mwendwa) is in the building and it is evident that he will be here for some time because of the nature of questioning he has to go through.

“The investigations have been going on for months now and we are in the final stages of the process before a determination is made on whether or not he will face charges but it is unlikely that he will escape this.

“The books show there were a number of improprieties especially with regards to the spending of money from the government and FIFA.”

The DCI will also seek clarification from Mwendwa on a controversial issue regarding bonuses for the national team squad to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations which has caused a rift between him and star players, including captain Victor Wanyama.

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Earlier this week, Wanyama had accused the FKF of illegally removing Sh12 million from the Sh50 million the Kenyan government awarded the players for qualifying for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON). The amount was part of the Sh244 million the State allocated to the national team’s qualification and participation at last year’s continental finals in Egypt.

He also accused Mwendwa of dishonesty in the handling the Harambee Stars unpaid Sh10 million winning bonuses for defeating Tanzania at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Mwendwa’s tenure at FKF ended on 10 February 2020 but he insists he is still in office until a new President is elected despite a ruling by the Sports Disputes Tribunal (SDT) finding that the term of the National Executive Committee which he was part of (according to article 37 (a) of the FKF Constitution 2017) had ended.

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A ruling on whether or not he is in contempt of the tribunal and the way forward for the controversial FKF elections is expected.

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