DCI steps up probe on Omanyala visa hitch saga

Ferdinand Omanyala

Ferdinand Omanyala of Team Kenya competes in the Men’s 100 metres heats on day one of the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 at Hayward Field on July 15, 2022 in Eugene, Oregon.

Photo credit: Carmen Mandato | AFP

Investigations into claims of bribery and inclusion of joyriders in the delegation that left last week for the 2022 World Athletics Championship in Oregon, United States, have gathered steam after the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) requested for documents related to the trip.

The Head of the Economic and Commercial Crimes Unit Mike Muia has asked the Sports ministry to submit 12 different sets of documents to the DCI headquarters in a bid to establish the truth surrounding the matter, which is almost blowing into a scandal.

“This office is investigating an alleged matter of mismanagement of Team Kenya, which participated in the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Oregon. To facilitate our investigations, kindly furnish us with the following documents,” said Mr Muia in a letter to AK sent on July 19.

This comes as the mystery over the exact number of government officials that accompanied the 46 Kenyan athletes to the US enters its second week without any forthcoming answers from Athletics Kenya (AK).

The agency has been under fire since it emerged that 100 metres African Champion Ferdinand Omanyala almost missed to travel to the US due to delay in getting a visa from the American Embassy. He arrived in Oregon two hours before his race and was knocked out in the semis.

The 100m sprinting star, who is currently in Birmingham, UK for the Commonwealth games, spoke for the first time about the saga on Friday and absolved AK of any wrong doing in his visa hitch.

“It was through government intervention by the Ministry of Sports and Athletics Kenya that I got my visa. Infact the Ministry of Sports through Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed were very instrumental in my visa being granted once the issue was raised,” he said in change of tune.

Additionally,  the DCI wants AK to provide it with “all payment vouchers in respect to allowances paid to athletes and central management officials who were approved to take part in the Oregon 2022 World Athletics Championships,” and a “detailed payment list of overseas allowances for Team Kenya”.