Former senior Athletics Kenyan vice president David Okeyo has been banned for life from the sport and fined $50,000 after being found guilty of diverting hundreds of thousands of dollars of sponsorship payments for his personal use.
Okeyo banned from track and field for life Thursday for his role in diverting hundreds of thousands of dollars of sponsorship money from Nike for his and others’ personal use.
Okeyo, who was also secretary general and a vice president of Kenya’s track federation, was found guilty of skimming off the money given to the federation by Nike from as far back as 2004. He was suspended in 2015 and the three-year case was decided at a hearing in January and February.
He was also formally expelled as an IAAF Council member.
The decision was announced by the IAAF ethics board.
Okeyo was accused alongside two other officials, former Athletics Kenya president and former IAAF Council member Isaiah Kiplagat, and former AK treasurer Joseph Kinyua.
Kiplagat died in 2016. Kinyua was also found to be involved in diverting money meant for Athletics Kenya to a “clearance account” for the men’s personal use but was not bound by the IAAF ethics code at the time and escaped punishment.
Okeyo was fined $50,000, which he was ordered to pay to AK, and ordered to pay another $100,000 in legal costs.
The judgement, however, showed that Nike had clearly been concerned about how the funds were being used and that the ethics panel was satisfied that in many, though not all of the instances it investigated, funds were being siphoned off.
“In failing to disclose the honorarium and service fee payments to the membership of AK, the panel is comfortably satisfied that the defendants diverted funds of AK for their own direct or indirect personal benefit, as charged,” the Board said in its findings.
“In the view of the panel, Mr Okeyo’s conduct in failing as Secretary General of AK … constituted conduct likely to bring the sport of athletics into disrepute.”
On one occasion in 2010 Okeyo withdrew $200,000 from AK accounts, saying subsequently that the money was used by AK to promote its athletics programmes.
However, the panel said that Okeyo could not produce any evidence to show that the executive board had approved this course of action, “nor did he provide any details as to what programmes had been supported, nor did he furnish any evidence by way of payment vouchers or supporting invoices to corroborate his account.”
The report added: “Under cross-examination, when asked to explain the purpose for the withdrawal of $200,000, Mr Okeyo could provide no explanation, other than that he had been instructed to withdraw the money.”
Okeyo has also been charged separately with extorting money from athletes. The IAAF hasn’t published its findings on that charge.