Kenya’s athletics chief executive Isaac Mwangi has volunteered to step aside for 21 days pending an investigation into allegations that he sought bribes to reduce doping bans.
Mwangi last week dismissed as “fabrication” accusations by Joy Sakari and Francisca Koki Manunga that he had asked each athlete for $24,000 to reduce their four-year bans.
The two runners were caught doping in August at the world championships in Beijing, where Kenya topped the medals table.
“Mr. Isaac Mwangi, who is the CEO here, and the allegations directed to him, has given his letter of request to take leave, and he has given request for annual leave pending investigation and the annual leave started yesterday for 21 days, 21 working days. And that has been accepted, that has been given, and that is from his own volition and therefore the letter is here and it is very clear,” said Athletics Kenya President Jack Tuwei.
Kenya is a global leader in endurance running, both on the track and in big-city marathons, but more than 40 of its athletes have been banned for doping in the past three years.
The spike in doping, coupled with corruption allegations against top AK officials over the past year, has stoked fears in Kenya that the East African nation could follow Russia and be suspended from global athletics.
Tuwei said the newly formed Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) would conduct the investigation into allegations against Mwangi and report the findings in two weeks.
“We have agreed that the investigations will be carried out by ADAK (Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya) because that is the body mandated to the investigations, and if there is anything else that should be done, they are mandated to do that. And so we have all agreed that ADAK is going to form a committee for investigations into these allegations,” he added.
The doping crisis in Russia and Kenya, as well as allegations of corruption within the world governing body, the IAAF, have cast a shadow over the sport ahead of the Rio Olympics in August.
Kenya last week missed a deadline to prove to WADA that it was doing enough to combat doping and faces being declared a non-compliant nation, which could lead to a global ban.
But Athletics Kenya officials said Kenya has increased efforts to root out doping ahead of the Rio Olympics.