What you need to know:
- The High Court ruled that FKF is a public office and, thus, its financial dealings and those of its office bearers should be open to scrutiny.
- Mwendwa is also facing increased pressure to account for funds the federation receives from the government and other stakeholders.
A key ruling by the High Court on Thursday on the scrutiny of affairs at the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) promises to be a game-changer regarding the oversight role of state agencies on local sports federations.
The High Court on Thursday ruled that FKF is a public office and, thus, its financial dealings and those of its president, Nick Mwendwa, and chief executive officer Barry Otieno should be open to scrutiny.
Thursday’s ruling by Justice James Makau comes a year after football stakeholders filed a complaint with the Banking Fraud Investigations Unit regarding the finances of the federation. Citing impending FKF elections, Mwendwa petitioned the High Court to stop the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) from probing the matter as that would delay the elections.
Mwendwa also argued that one of the stakeholders, a journalist, was not a member of FKF and did not, therefore, have any locus standi to peruse through the football body’s financial dealings.
But in his 32-page ruling, Justice Makau found that the FKF boss is both a custodian of public funds and interests and thus the DCI and DPP have a right to peruse through his books in the event of a complaint.
Separately, Mwendwa is facing increased pressure to account for funds the federation receives from the government and other stakeholders, including Fifa, the Confederation of African Football (Caf), and development partners each year.
Thursday’s ruling should act as a reminder to local sports administrators that they will be held to account for their actions as sports officials.
On September 16, former Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario was fined Sh3.6 million while his co-accused, former National Olympics Committee of Kenya official Stephen Soi, was fined Sh115 million with the option of a 17-year jail term after being found guilty of abuse of office and misappropriation of Team Kenya funds at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
National teams are run with funds from the public coffers and local sports administrators who must be open to accountability and public scrutiny.