The accusation is serious. Senior officials of the Kenyan Athletics Federation (AK), according to testimony from a former employee quoted in a New York Times investigation published this March, reportedly received a $ 500,000 “bribe” The American company Nike.
In November 2015, the British Sunday Times newspaper reported that AK Vice President David Okeyo was among the three Kenyans accused of embezzling $ 700,000 from a partnership agreement between the Kenyan Federation and Nike . The documents provided by the former AK employee, which the New York Times has obtained – exchanges of mails, letters, bank statements and invoices – provide further clarification.
According to the American newspaper, the case goes back to 2009. When the Kenyan leaders complained to Nike, accusing him of treating Kenya as a “dump”, by providing only very poor quality clothes, according to exchanges of mails .
A member of the AK executive board, quoted by the New York Times on condition of anonymity, argues that it may be a “ruse” on the part of the Kenyan leadership “to close the contract Binds them to the American company in order to get a bribe from another company. “ Because shortly afterwards, the AK concluded a new sponsorship contract with Lin-Ning Company, a Chinese company specializing in sports supplies.
Papa Massata Intermediate Diack?
A marketing agent acting as an intermediary with Li-Ning Company reportedly poured $ 200,000 into the Kenyan federation’s account, “a sum quickly withdrawn by one of its top executives,” reports the New York Times.
According to the American newspaper, this intermediary was none other than Papa Massata Diack, one of the sons of Senegalese Lamine Diack, former president of the International Athletics Federation (IAAF), who is under investigation by the French justice For “corruption”, “passive bribery” and “aggravated money laundering” in the massive IAAF scandal.
Nike would have paid $ 500,000 of “bonus” for “commitment”
According to the New York Times , the Kenyan athletics federation has decided to sign a new contract with the American company in the absence of a sufficient legal basis to break the contract with Nike. , $ 5 million per year of sponsorship (instead of 1.3 previously) and $ 100,000 in annual “logistics” fees. Above all, Nike agreed to pay a “bonus” of $ 500,000 for the “commitment” of the AK [commitment bonus] vis-à-vis her.
According to the former employee of the AK, this sum would have been a bribe paid to the top executives of the Kenyan federation to allow them to repay the 200,000 dollars already paid by the Chinese company, while releasing a Profit thanks to the American company.
The $ 500,000 would have been paid directly into the account of the federation, Nike refusing to pay it into the personal account of the former president of the AK, Isaiak Kiplagat. The latter would have demanded the immediate payment of the said “bonus”, in one of his exchanges of emails (retranscribed by the New York Times) with one of the executives of Nike, Robert Lotwis.
According to bank statements, the $ 500,000 was withdrawn from the Kenyan athletics federation account, as was the $ 200,000 paid by the Chinese company to a Hong Kong-based account, the US daily reported. Give more precision on the transfers of money.
Nike not pursued at this stage
Asked by the New York Times, US diplomatic sources in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, said they did not know what the press reported about Nike’s contract with the federation Kenya. For its part, the American company gave some information on the $ 100,000 of fees paid per year, which had to cover logistics costs, but without giving more details on the “bonus” of $ 500,000.
Suspected of corruption, Isaiak Kiplagat has already been suspended from his duties by the International Federation of Athletics in December last year, replaced by former Army Chief Jackson Tuwei to ensure the interim. On 22 February, Isaac Mawangi, the general manager of the national federation, was suspended from his duties for six months by the IAAF following accusations by two Kenyan athletes that their federation Had asked them for a bribe in 2015 in exchange for lightening their suspension for doping.