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How Kenya Sport Officials are abetting Illegal Travel............

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How Kenya Sport Officials are abetting Illegal Travel............

Post  mara thon on Sat 24 Mar - 11:57


By Gilbert Wandera

Somali nationals wishing to travel to Europe are using unscrupulous sports federations officials to evade tough Immigration restrictions.

Many of them are registered as officials or players to represent the country in international sports events.

They do this to acquire visas and travel and once they land, they disappear.

It is a practice that has been going on for years with those involved reported to be earning thousands of dollars as they help desperate Somalis to travel out of the country to Europe.

Questions raised

Last year, a top Kenya Tae Kwondo Association (KTF) official smuggled out four Somali nationals under the pretext they were going to represent the country in the Olympic qualifiers held in Azerbaijan.

The association had picked Mombasa-based Yahya Mohammed to represent the country in the qualifiers. Mohammed was to be accompanied by veteran coach George Mureu but in the end, six people jetted out of the country.

On the night the team was supposed to depart, coach Mureu found himself all alone at the airport as Mohammed was held up with the other four people who were supposed to travel with him.

Aware that the four Somali nationals could not be allowed to depart on their own, the top KTF official, who hatched the scheme, put them together with Mohammed to make it look like they were one team and were going for the same competition.

But a hawk-eyed Middle East airline attendant suspicious of the scheme refused to issue them with boarding passes and they were forced to change flights to depart the following day.

The only problem is that Mohammed ended up arriving in Azerbaijan late and could not therefore be allowed to take part in the competition.

According to Mohammed, the change of flights meant they had to go through Iran where they stayed for eight hours awaiting a connecting flight to Azerbaijan.

"The initial airline we were to use raised queries over our reason for travelling. They insisted it was not for sporting purposes and refused to allow us to board though I tried to persuade them about my status since I have represented the country in many competitions," says Mohammed.

Olympic committee

"It is true I was accompanied by four other people whom I had not seen before and we were forced to go through Iran on the next available flight arriving late in Azerbaijan. I did not know what was going on," he said.

Coach Mureu admits he had never seen the other four people who turned up in Azerbaijan as Kenya’s representatives. He also never saw them after the competition.

When he arrived early in Arzebaijan, Mureu explains he made arrangements for Mohammed to be weighed in as soon as he arrived, all along assuming he would arrive on the day designated for the process.

"The organisers were very understanding when I explained to them about the delay but because they had to go through Iran, Mohammed arrived late and could not compete in the championships," he says.

"I later learnt he had stayed behind unknowingly to provide cover for the four men of Somali origin," explains Mureu.

National Olympic Committee of Kenya Deputy Treasurer Stephen Soi says they are aware of the incident.

The Olympic Committee gave out Sh283,000 for the tae kwondo association to send a team to the qualifiers and feels let down.

"It is disappointing that we spent so much money to support efforts to help our athletes qualify for the Olympics only to face such scandals. It is something we have made clear to all associations that we will not accept in future," he said.

Before last year, there were incidents when the same tae kwondo officials had entered people who

do not take part in the sport to represent the country in international events.

In October 2010, four people of Somali origin were entered to take part in the Galeb Belgrade Trophy tae kwondo championships. They include Abdulahi Abdi, Ahmednasir Ahmed, Mustaffa Hassan and Ahmed Mohammed.

They were part of the nine-member team for the championships. A similar incident took place last December when seven men of Somali origin travelled to Belarus on the pretext they were going to attend an instructors’ course in the newly introduced sport of Zurkaneh.

Landed in Belarus

The seven, according to Kenyan officials who attended the course, disappeared immediately the team landed in Belarus and did not take part in any of the activities even though they were issued with visas and insurance to travel.

The seven are listed as Ahmed Abdifatah Mohammed, Hussein Abdi Noor, Dubathalima Aden, Bure Said Ahmed, Mohammed Abdikadir, Dukane Abdulahi and Omar Said Mohammed.

mara thon
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Re: How Kenya Sport Officials are abetting Illegal Travel............

Post  mara thon on Sat 24 Mar - 12:02


Sports Scandal Stains International Record

Kenya has created a name for itself in the international sports arena with a strong showing not only in athletics, but also in rugby, volleyball, swimming, and boxing.

In its efforts at diversification to effectively compete internationally, sports managers have been drawing up strategies on non-traditional disciplines.

International exposure for these upcoming sports people is paramount as Kenya develops talent.

However, the revelations of a scandal where sports officials have been enlisting non-sports people from Somalia to help them gain entry into foreign countries is not only shocking, but also a disgrace to the country.

Officials have often exhibited greed by squandering money meant for sporting programmes.

Some have included family members and mistresses in teams going for competitions abroad in blatant disregard of qualified players and bona fide officials.

Now to add salt to injury, officials are taking bribes to include refugees from Somalia into their teams.

We call for full investigations into this matter that the media have exposed.

Sports managers should not only crack the whip on this matter, but all the officials implicated should be investigated and those found culpable charged.

It is only such a drastic measure that will discourage such impunity.

Anything short of this would not be tolerated.


I wonder how many will be "left behind" re the Olympics?
mara thon
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