Is the hunter becoming hunted?
Anthony Mwangi and Hillary Mageka
Senators now want the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage probed over the mismanagement of the Sports, Arts and Social Development Fund Board (SASDFB).
And the Senate has directed the Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed to stop any audit on the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) pending the investigations by senators.
Deputy Speaker Margaret Kamar ordered Amina to appear before the House Committee on Labour and Social Services tomorrow to explain the issues raised by senators.
“The clerk is hereby directed to the CS inviting her to appear before the committee on Thursday,” ruled Kamar.
She added: “All attendant actions on these issues and any other related matter are hereby suspended.”
Elgeyo Marakwet Kipchumba Murkomen claimed that the money collected by the Fund had been used to support Universal Health Care (UHC).
“I can confirm that the billions collected by the Sports Fund is being channeled towards supporting the UHC,” Murkomen claimed.
He added: “The Sports Fund is soon going to blow up. It’s a mega scandal where billions collected from betting firms are being misappropriated by a few individuals in the ministry.”
They were reacting to a statement sought by Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jr, who wanted the CS to explain why she had ordered the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) books to be audited.
The Fund has collected Sh30.3 billion since it was operationalised in the 2018-19 financial year. Some of the funds have been used in the refurbishment of four stadiums in four counties
Moses Wetangula (Bungoma) claimed that the Sports Fund was being used to siphon cash while sports disciplines suffered from underfunding.
“The ministry should not blame the FKF. The CS should order an investigation to all the sports federations instead of singling out one,” Wetangula said.
Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei said FKF should not be disbanded for the ills which are solely caused by the ministry.
“The sports sector is in a mess and if we fail to act now the rot will badly affect our young citizens who rely on sports for a living. We have reports that there are briefcase federation like Woodball and Tong Il Modo that have been allocated Sh31 million and Sh80 million respectively. Are we leaving in Mars, where is Woodball played in Kenya? ” Cherargei posed.
When she appeared before a parliamentary committee last week CS Amina said that money collected by the Sports Fund was being used prudently.
Amina said the ministry had already spent close to Sh 23.5 billion for, among others, the construction of three stadiums, namely, Moi International Stadium in Kisumu, Wangúru in Kirinyaga and Kirigiti in Kiambu County while others were ongoing.
The CS revealed that her ministry was in the process of constructing 10 sports academies that will help tap talent at early ages.
Amina said the ministry had set aside Sh750 million for the projects, which resume this month.
“The money is available for 10 academies, all we are waiting for is the details,” she said when she appeared before the National Assembly’s Sports, Culture and Tourism Committee.
Amina further said that the 10 academies are among the 17 in the first phase which will cover all the 270 constituencies.
“Our anticipation is that by the end of November we should have started and we should finish by the end of June next year,” said the CS.
She told the committee that experts from her ministry had already done the feasibility study and that the projects will commence as planned.
“The Fund was established to consolidate funds for construction and improvement of stadiums, academies and other sports centres to nurture and develop talents,” she disclosed.
The stadiums include the Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium in Kisumu County, (Sh 415 million) and the Wanguru stadium in Kirinyaga County which was done at a cost of Sh310 million.
The Fund has also supported the Posta Jamhuri Sports Ground in Nairobi County where Sh609 million has been spent.
The Kirigiti Stadium in Kiambu County which is ongoing was allocated Sh596 million. It is almost complete at 85 per cent.
“What we wanted to prove with the construction of this stadium within a record time is to show that we don’t need four years to construct the stadiums as has been the norm, and that with the technologies and commitment it can be done within six and seven,” the CS said.
She said her ministry was working closely with other line ministries on areas to do with security, water and electricity to ensure the completion of the projects without further delays.