By Kenya Confidential Sports Editor, Nairobi – May 13, 2020
Time is fast running out for the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president Nicholas “Nick” Mwendwa leadership. Reliable sources indicate he may soon be playing ball for Prisons FC as a state guest following massive looting in the football organisation.
Mwendwa got a rude shock when Sports Disputes Tribunal cancelled illegal county elections held despite having been stopped by the Tribunal and Sports Registrar. After the tribunal ruling, a worried Mwendwa wrote to FIFA complaining of state interference in running the game. Mwendwa wants Kenya banned from FIFA calendar activities.
But FIFA may not salvage Mwendwa from self-inflicted corruption claims in which his FKF management is submerged. DCI sleuths are nosing around the FKF financial records that are said to reflect massive corruption that has crippled the football organisation.
Then Sports, Youth and Culture former PS Kirimi Kaberia set out to streamline the crisis in the football fraternity as Mwendwa with his cartel were linked to a soccer sport scam of monumental proportions. The football organization has been a cash cow of unprecedented proportion.
Unknown to many Kenyans, Mwendwa is his own enemy and he is paying the price of underrating and disrespecting the people who mentored him and brought him in the limelight at the national level in local football administration. Soccer pundits say not even a miracle can save the scandal-ridden FKF president who has since been deserted by his top allies and key national executive committee members.
Stakeholders led by former FKF president Sammy Nyamweya are concerned with current stalemate between the body and ministry over the funding of Harambee Stars and the women’s team – the Harambee Starlets. Nyamweya has been prodded by concerns from football clubs, soccer fans and sport-loving Kenyans to vie for FKF Presidency to clean up the mess the football organisations has become.
According to their own financial report for 2018, FKF received a total of Ksh591,282,609 of which Ksh195,223,550 was taxpayers cash given by the government. The same federation received a further Ksh244 million last year from the government for the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, and a further Ksh85 million from Confederation of African Football (CAF).
Of considerable concern is the fact that Mwendwa has not fully disclosed the monies received from CAF, which contravenes the basic guidelines on the integrity of the office which he holds.Stakeholders are demanding for an audited report for the billions given to the federation since Mwendwa came into office have gone unanswered but the time has come for this leadership to be held accountable.
Stakeholders want full accountability from Mwendwa and appropriate action for any misappropriation of FKF and FIFA funds taken. Ksh123 million given by FIFA for the purchase of outside broadcasting equipment has not been accounted for by the federation.
Impeccable sources revealed that the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) top detectives are on FKF case. Investigations have reportedly unearthed that Mwendwa-presided massive looting of funds in the federation and it is just a matter of time before he is arraigned in court by the no-nonsense DCI.
Immediately after being elected into office in 2016, investigations sources say, Mwendwa embarked on a mission of appointing his cronies to key FKF positions and at the same time, dismantling the structures which he found in place.
Mwendwa started destroying FKF structures built by Nyamweya, with the appointment of Stanley Okumbi as Head Coach of Harambee Stars whose only credential was being head coach of premier league side, Kariobangi Sharks, which Mwendwa owns and funds as a propriety business.
What followed was disastrous performance by the national team after Mwendwa sacked coach Adel Amrouche who was still under contract with FKF which saw the coach file a case at Court of Arbitration for Sports which has since ordered FKF to pay Amrouche Ksh108 million…
All this time, the government was watching the unfolding mess but Mwendwa became a marked man when women top league, which was very vibrant up and running before he took over the reign at FKF, stopped after his National Executive Council (NEC) members accused him of diverting money from FIFA meant for running the women top league to his club, Kariobangi Sharks. Worse, Super Sport who were official sponsors of Kenyan Premier League (KPL) also gave Mwendwa a red card and stopped its sponsorship.
From then on, Mwendwa embarked on conspicuous diversion of money from FIFA and CAF meant to develop football locally by training coaches and referees to Kariobangi Sharks. Local referees were no longer being paid their football allowances as the federation directed that clubs should pay the referees, a move which saw corruption and bribery of referees whereby diluting the league standing.
Now former President Sam Nyamweya, keen to clean up the mess promises a Transparent, Professional and Accountable (TPA) soccer leadership to propel KFK to its deserved national and international status.
Nyamweya says Kenya has clubs, players and ability to be a soccer giant within the African continent whereby generating incomes for clubs, players and the national economy.
“All we need is a Transparent, Professional and Accountable soccer management in which clubs, players and soccer fans will have faith and trust to deliver clean football. That is what I will deliver,” promises Nyamweya.
Mwendwa stands accused of conspicuous looting spree to the chagrin of football stakeholders including sponsors. FKF accrued debts which he was not paying that saw auctioneers ascend on FKF Headquarters at FIFA Goal project in Kasarani to attach the federation’s properties over debts FKF owed after they obtained a court order to proceed with the attachment.
It was a sad day for Kenyan Football when Mwendwa, with support from hired goons, attacked the auctioneers, which saw one of them killed. The matter is presently under an inquest with all fingers pointing at Mwendwa’s negligence. It is just a matter of time, before he pays for his sins.
Kenya was lucky to be among countries FIFA offered to buy Outside Broadcasting Van (OB) for production of international matches to reduce costs for Harambee Stars and top teams like Gor Mahia while participating in continental tournament.
Despite being put under pressure to produce the OB van or the Ksh135million FIFA gave to FKF to purchase the van, Mwendwa has continued behaving like an ostrich burying its head in the sand. Local clubs participating in continental tournament are finding it difficult to fund their preparations which would have been taken care of if their matches were produced by the OB van bought by FIFA.
As if theft of the OB van money was not enough, the blow that broke camel’s back came when Kenya qualified for 2019 Afcon in default after FIFA banned Guinea Bissau which paved way for Kenya to participate in the tournament. When Kenya qualified for the African soccer bonanza in Cairo, Mwendwa slammed the government with a budget of Ksh 244million for the team’s preparations and four weeks participation in the tournament.
While in Cairo, Kenya was in same group with neighbours Tanzania, Senegal and eventual winners Algeria. Kenya lost to both Senegal and Algeria at group stage but struggled to beat Tanzania 3-2 which means a whole Ksh244 million the government gave FKF was used in preparing only to go to Cairo to beat Tanzania and come back yet the country has been beating Tanzania over the years without expensive preparations
On Kenya’s return from Cairo, FKF asked for additional Ksh19 million to take Harambee Stars to Tanzania for another round of qualification matches but the ministry of Sports through its accounting officer PS Kirimi Kaberia insisted that unless Ksh244 million which FKF was given to take the team to Afcon is accounted for, there will be no more disbursement of funds to FKF.
After the ministry stood its ground that FKF must account for Afcon money, Harambee Stars travelled to Cairo for another round of qualifiers, it declined to released funds to FKF. Mwendwa was insisting on wiring of Ksh4 million for to the hotel’s account in Cairo. To commission fraud, Mwendwa allegedly obtained forged Hotel Africana letterhead from Nairobi’s River Road and produced a fake invoice for Ksh4 million only later to be found that the bill was Ksh1.8 million.
Nyamweya, who is expected to unseat Mwendwa in elections set for this year, has petitoned FIFA and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to probe the matter and establish criminal culpability on the part of the federation and other parties involved.