Kenya’s Suspended Football Boss On Trial in Corruption Scandal

Kenya’s disbanded national football federation chief, Nick Mwendwa appeared in court on Monday over allegations of corruption.

Mwendwa has been accused of transferring about 8.5 million Kenyan shillings ($76,000, 66,00 euros) of federation money into his own account without documentation to justify the move.

Prosecutors have asked the court to detain Mwendwa for 14 days to allow them complete their investigations, but a magistrate ordered him freed on bail until another hearing on Wednesday.

Mwendwa’s court appearance came after the government on Thursday suspended the FKF for alleged financial irregularities and set up a caretaker committee to run football in the East African country for at least six months.

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Magistrate Wandia Nyamu ordered that Mwendwa should have no access to FKF headquarters and said he was banned from any football activities including attending Monday’s 2022 World Cup qualifier in Nairobi between Kenya and Rwanda.

Sports Minister Amina Mohamed said Thursday a government investigation had found the federation had failed to account for funds received from the government and other sponsors and announced a further probe that could lead to prosecutions.

Mwendwa, 41, who has denied any wrongdoing and declared he was still in charge of the FKF, spent the weekend in police custody following his arrest on Friday.

The reign of Mwendwa, who has been FKF president since 2016, has been dogged by controversy and claims of impropriety.

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Football’s world governing body FIFA on Sunday again warned Kenya it risked a ban if the government did not reconsider reinstating Mwendwa’s team.

FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura said the action was “undoubtedly contrary” to the principle that all FIFA member associations must manage their affairs independently and without third-party influence.

“This situation could therefore potentially lead to a suspension of the FKF by FIFA and, in such a case, it would be all of Kenyan football that would suffer the consequences,” she said in a letter to the Kenyan sports minister.

The FKF caretaker committee has suspended all men’s and women’s football league activities for a period of two weeks starting last Friday.

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Kenyan football has long been beset by financial woes often stemming from poor management and corruption.

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