LONDON (AP) — The head of Kenya's track and field federation was temporarily suspended by the sport's world governing body on Monday for "potential subversion" of anti-doping procedures in the country.
Isaac Mwangi, chief executive of Athletics Kenya, had already taken temporarily leave last week after two Kenyan runners alleged in an interview with The Associated Press that he asked them for a bribe to reduce their doping bans.
The ethics board of the International Association of Athletics Federations said Monday that it suspended Mwangi for 180 days "in the interests of the integrity of the sport" pending the outcome of an investigation. The suspension covers all duties and positions in Athletics Kenya and the IAAF.
The board said it imposed the provisional sanction after determining that an investigation was warranted "in relation to potential subversion of the anti-doping control process in Kenya."
The board appointed Sharad Rao to carry out the investigation. Rao is a former director of public prosecutions in Kenya and current chairman of the judges and magistrates vetting board. He is also a member of the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Mwangi has denied wrongdoing.
He said in a letter to the Kenyan federation's acting president last week that the allegations by 400-meter runner Joy Sakari and hurdler Francisca Koki Manunga were "unsubstantiated" and "have caused me a lot of mental anguish."
He asked for 21 days' leave while the allegations are investigated.
In the AP interview, Sakari and Manunga alleged that Mwangi asked them each for a $24,000 bribe in an Oct. 16 meeting, but that they could not raise the money. The athletes, both police officers in Kenya, tested positive for a banned diuretic at the 2015 world championships in Beijing. They are serving four-year bans.
The IAAF ethics commission was already investigating allegations that AK officials sought to subvert anti-doping in Kenya, solicited bribes and offered athletes reduced bans. The probe has led to the suspensions of AK's president, Isaiah Kiplagat, a vice president, David Okeyo, and AK's former treasurer, Joseph Kinyua.