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Mwendwa: It's all politics, I'm clean

DAVID KWALIMWABy DAVID KWALIMWA
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Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president Nick Mwendwa insists he is ‘clean’ despite undergoing investigations for alleged misappropriation of government funds.

As revealed by Nation Sport on Thursday, Mwendwa spent the entire day facing interrogation by Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) officers in relation to the expenditure of Sh244 million received by FKF to prepare the men’s national football team, Harambee Stars, for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

Stars camped in France and Spain and competed against Madagascar and DR Congo in friendly matches in readiness for the tournament which was held in June and July last year.

Mwendwa – who is reported to have engaged Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Junior as his lead lawyer – was also tasked to explain, among other things, the particulars of what is believed to be a Sh4 million invoice forwarded to the Ministry of Sports by the federation.

The football boss suggests there might be a hidden political hand in these summons.

“It is normal to be asked to record a statement. I am clean and have nothing to hide even though some media houses were sent by my opponents to wait for me outside the DCI offices with big cameras,” said Mwendwa, during an interview with NTV on Friday.

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“I have been there (at the DCI) four times in the recent past. I am even surprised that people and the newspapers are talking about it. Maybe because my opponents fear me.”

“I was asked about the Nations Cup money. You saw players (from other countries) go on strike in Egypt. We never went on strike. We paid players (a total of) Sh78 million. Some of them including (goalkeeper) Farouk Shikalo have built houses for his parents with these allowances.”

The football boss has dismissed reports he awarded himself a Sh50,000 daily allowance from taxpayers money during the continental tournament.

“I have to be paid to work. I was out of the country for 64 days. But it was not Sh50,000 a day. It is political season and several people who could not adequately kit and prepare Harambee Stars for a match are now complaining that the monies we were given by the government and sponsor should be accounted for.”

Mwendwa also says he will not be intimidated to relinquish his quest to contest for a second term as FKF president.

He also shed light on the recent stand-off involving former Harambee Stars coaches Adel Amrouche and Sebastian Migne.

Amrouche was recently awarded Sh109 million by the Court of Arbitration for Sport for unlawful dismissal and FKF has been struggling to pay him amid suggestion Stars could be banned from competing at the 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifiers as a result.

Similarly Frenchman Migne who was dismissed as Stars coach last year has threatened to sue FKF for failure to pay his dues.

“I wont reveal much about Amrouche but I can assure Kenyans we will not be banned because of him. We are working hard to solve the problem.”

“The federation has paid Migne Sh12 million. There’s some Sh2 or 4 million remaining and payment should not be a problem. He probably rushed to the media to put pressure on us to pay him.”

With FKF polls twice cancelled by the Sports Disputes Tribunal owing to irregularities in the way the exercise was conducted, Mwendwa has said it might take time for a solution to be reached, considering Fifa officials cannot travel to Kenya as they would have wished owing to the coronavirus situation.