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Economy

How Githu’s office risked Kenya’s participation in Rio Olympic games

Solicitor-General Njee Muturi. PHOTO | FILE
Solicitor-General Njee Muturi. PHOTO | FILE 

The Attorney-General’s office altered the Anti-Doping Bill leading to the declaration of Kenya as non-compliant by World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada), Solicitor-General Njee Muturi told Parliament on Thursday.

Mr Muturi told the Labour and Social Welfare committee that the State law office amended the draft Bill that the Sports ministry had agreed on with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

This was done to align it with the provisions of the Constitution and provide for the release of separate regulations to guide the law that Parliament passed in April to criminalise doping.

WADA declared it non-compliant with its code following the enactment of the new law, a ruling that put the country’s participation in the August Rio de Janeiro Olympics into question and prompted the recall of Parliament to amend the law on Thursday.

Mr Muturi said that the State Law office did not know that the amendments the AG’s office made to the Bill ‘‘went against agreements reached by WADA and Kenyan officials. We did a few changes to the Bill so that we align it to the Constitution and to suit our legal structures.” WADA rejected the Anti-Doping Act 2016 and questioned 24 sections in the law that went against international anti-doping code. The new law, according to WADA, had several areas that needed amendments including broadening and clarity of definitions.

The anti-doping agency particularly expressed concerns over section 4 which establishes ADAK. It wanted ADAK to be the exclusive entity permitted to carry out anti-doping activities in Kenya.

WADA also wanted the jurisdiction of the Sports Tribunal to be expanded to include hearing and determining all cases relating to anti-doping rule violations by athletes and athletes support personnel who include managers and agents.

It was also uncomfortable with the presence of government officials in ADAK board including officials from the Attorney General’s office and the National Treasury.

Kenya’s governing athletics body, Athletics Kenya, has come under intense scrutiny in recent years over the state of its drug testing and bureaucracy amid allegations of corruption.

Forty Kenyan runners have been found guilty of doping since 2012 and 18 are currently suspended according to the world governing International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

The passage of the amended version of the Anti-Doping Act at a special MPs sitting last evening is a major reprieve for the Kenyan athletes who were staring at a potential ban from participating in Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

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