Elias Kiptum Maindi Jailed For Implicating Kenyan Top Athletes In Doping Scandal

Elias Kiptum Maindi

Elias Kiptum Maindi, a former athlete, and coach Paul Kibet Simbolei have been sentenced to 18 months in prison for forgery and plotting to falsely accuse Kenyan elite athletes in a widespread doping scandal.

The Jomo Kenyatta International Airport Court has on Tuesday sentenced Kiptum for forgery and conspiring to give false allegations against top Kenyan athletes to foreign media.

The duo prepared documents purporting that doping was being promoted and encouraged by several state agencies in the country to have Kenya suspended from participating in the Olympic Games, among other international events.

Kibet and Kiptum forged documents purportedly signed by officials from the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (Adak) and Athletics Kenya (AK) that they shared with Europe-based journalists who have been part of the ring.

The court noted that the two, with help from influential and powerful people outside Kenya, attempted to present a picture that there was government-sponsored doping.

Kiptum was found guilty of 13 offences and has been given an 18-month jail term for each offence, which runs concurrently.

The second accused person in the case, Paul Simbolei a former athlete , was found guilty of on one account of the 13 offences of conspiracy to cause harm and has been released after the court ruled that he has already served a two-year jail term during the pre-trial period.

In her ruling delivered on Tuesday, JKIA Senior Principal Magistrate Njeri Thuku said Kenya has never had any state-sponsored doping cases as portrayed by the two accused.

The judge added that the case carried the gravity of damaging Kenya’s reputation if the documentary was aired.

“Such a move would potentially prove disastrous for Kenyan sport. Athletes would lose the opportunity of participating in the most prestigious event,” she said, adding that months, even years of planning, would go to waste.

The magistrate added that the reputational damage would be an enormous shadow cast over the country’s involvement in other international events.

“Worse still is that a ban on Kenya as a country would affect all sports and not just those caught in doping,” she said.

Adak took the firm stance because of the possible consequences had the country been banned from participating in all athletics events internationally, including this year’s Olympic Games in Paris.

Kiptum has, however, been given two weeks to appeal against the ruling.

The court, however, declined the maximum sentence of 3 years for Kiptum as requested by the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya in the case, which was filed in June 2021.

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