IAAF Ethics Board chairman Michael Beloff on Monday provisionally suspended Athletics Kenya CEO Isaac Mwangi over a potential anti-doping violation.
The IAAF, the world athletics governing body, issued a statement saying it had received information “warranting investigation” and that Mwangi was suspended from all Athletics Kenya or IAAF offices or positions for a period of 180 days.
Mwangi is suspected of behaviour that could lead to the “potential subversion of the anti-doping control process in Kenya” and Beloff’s move was described as being “in the interests of the integrity of the sport”.
“The Ethics Board stresses that the imposition of an Order for Provisional Suspension in this case in no way prejudges the outcome of the investigation which will now be carried out by the Board’s appointed investigator, Mr Sharad Rao,” said an IAAF statement.
“Mr Mwangi remains presumed innocent until the outcome of the investigation and the determination of any disciplinary charges which may follow from that investigation.”
Alongside Russia, Kenya is one of two countries at the centre of a doping scandal that has rocked athletics since the end of last year.
The African country, which is a powerhouse in middle-distance running and for whom athletics is a major source of national pride, has been in the dock over its anti-doping practices.
It has been ordered to set up an effective national anti-doping body and although Kenya missed an initial deadline to do so by February 14, it was placed on probation and given an extra two months to get its house in order.
IAAF chairman Sebastian Coe insisted last week that Kenya could be banned from the Rio Olympic Games in August if they fail to demonstrate to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) that they can be compliant with its ethics code.
Kenyan sports minister Hassan Wario responded by assuring the world the Anti-Doping Association of Kenya (ADAK) would be operational within those two months.
More than 40 Kenyan athletes have been banned for doping over the last two years while three top Athletics Kenya officials — president Isaiah Kiplagat, deputy president David Okeyo and former treasurer Joseph Kinyua — were suspended by the IAAF Ethics Commission in December for alleged corruption and covering up of doping.
Kenya’s problems are not quite as bad as Russia’s, though, with the European country banned from world athletics in November over state-sponsored doping, although they have the opportunity to demonstrate before the Olympics that a new system is in place.