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Kenyan Swimming Officials Banned in Sex Scandal -- September 4, 2003

By William Njuguna

NAIROBI, Kenya, September 3. FIVE Kenyan swimming officials face three-year bans following reports of a probe committee that implicates them in a sex scandal and mismanagement during a trip to Zambia early this year. One of the officials was found guilty of indecently handling two female swimmers aged 10 and 8.

The probe committee was constituted to investigate the alleged misconduct.

A total of 45 swimmers and five officials traveled to Zambia >between March 21-25. According to the committee’s report, one official admitted having "intimate relationships" with all his swimmers. He is also accused of giving alcohol to four young swimmers in his room during the second night of the team’s stay in Zambia.

The said official offered the swimmers alcohol, which was clearly in breach of the rules and regulations governing the sport. He is also being accused of keeping the swimmers in his room, beyond the agreed sleeping hour.

One official has been accused of abdicating his responsibilities. The report says he failed to relay proper and detailed information to parents of the young victims about the trip.

Another official is accused of failing to discharge her duties correctly and that due to this, the young swimmers were exposed to risk. "For instance, she had no idea of what events the girls were to undertake and the programme," the report said.

It was recommended that two other officials on the trip, be denied any responsibilities in the future as they lacked a "sense of responsibility."

The officials are also said to have had differences prior to their departure. The report said the accommodation arrangement was very poor and officials are alleged to have given themselves priority over
swimmers. The report further revealed that the swimmers were forced to share beds while others were forced to sleep on the floor. Besides, there was lack of proper transportation arrangements while in Zambia and swimmers were forced to travel from the airport to the hotel in a bus with shattered windows.

The probe was chaired by the Kenyan Swimming Federation vice chairman, Joe Mutune. Apart from Mutune, other officials in the committee were Pauline Raburu (secretary), Mary Onyango, Raj Walia, Joseph Maina, Sheila Haria, Dunera Ilako (members) and Joseph Kirima (Kenya National Sports Council).