State Department for Sports has opened an inquiry into how Football Kenya Federation (FKF) spent Sh244.6 million on Harambee Stars 2019 failed African Cup of Nations Championships (AFCON) qualifier games.

According to Sports Principal Secretary Joe Okudo, the department has invited the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to launch investigations into how FKF president Nick Mwendwa was advanced Sh11 million out of the money between April and November 2019 without requisite authorization. Additionally, the DCI will be probing Sh57 million in allowances and bonuses issued to Harambee Stars players and technical bench who travelled for AFCON camps in various countries that were not supported by approved rates.

The Sports Fund disbursed amounted to Sh244,587,705 and was used by Harambee Stars during its camp in France and Spain in the run-up to the continental assignment in Egypt.

The Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Sports and Heritage has also subsequently written to the Registrar of Sports to undertake a thorough financial audit of all the accounts of the Football Kenya Federation. The department has also put in place a team of two auditors from the Auditor General’s office, two from the private sector, and officials from the ministry to probe the accounts of FKF. Moreover, they have engaged and secured the backing of the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) in the investigations.

He told the Opiyo Wandayi-led committee that FIFA has given Kenya the go-ahead to move into FKF, probe its accounts and reconstitute it to ensure proper management of sports.

According to Mr. Okudo, they wrote to the DCI on October 15, 2019 and there has been back and forth because the FKF rushed to court to stop the probe.

However, the court two weeks ago allowed the DCI to move into FKF saying the federation has a case to answer. Auditor General Nancy Gathungu flagged the payments in the State Departments’ books of accounts for the year to June 2019. The auditor said the payments were made to Mr. Mwendwa between April 25, 2019, to November 29, 2019.

Corruption entrenched in state departments proves lack of integrity and accountability by government officials, a situation that has continued to deprave the youth opportunities to earn a living through sports and talents. Embezzling sports funds indicates lack of integrity and accountability from officials entrusted to head these dockets. The law should take its full course in reprimanding these culprits in order to sanitize state departments.

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