Chuene’s fate decided tomorrow

2011-02-16 13:16

The fate of suspended Athletics South Africa (ASA) president Leonard Chuene and his colleagues will be decided tomorrow.

Chuene was found guilty on nine charges by an independent inquiry panel this week, 15 months after the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) called for an investigation into ASA affairs.

Suspended ASA vice-president Kakata Maponyane and board member Simon Dlamini were found guilty on four charges each.

“Norman Arendse, the head of the panel, will reconvene the session tomorrow,” Sascoc chief executive Tubby Reddy said yesterday.

“The three of them have been informed and they will have a chance to come in and put any mitigating circumstances on the table. The inquiry panel will then decide on sanctions.

“If the suspended bodies don’t agree with the sanctions they can then appeal the matter through the proper channels all the way up to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.”

Reddy added that the full report of the inquiry panel had not yet been made public, although a list of charges against the trio was released by Sascoc earlier this week.

“I’m meeting with the minister of sport this afternoon and after I’ve given him a full briefing we’ll decide when and if to release the full report,” he said.

The entire ASA executive was suspended by Sascoc in November 2009. Chuene, Maponyane and Dlamini were the only board members who did not resign.

After losing a battle in court last year, with applications for arbitration and an interdict to prevent disciplinary hearings turned down, the trio said via their lawyers that they would continue to fight their suspensions.

The inquiry panel found Chuene and Maponyane guilty of mishandling athlete Caster Semenya at the World Athletics Championships in Berlin in 2009.

Maponyane was a member of team management in Berlin where Semenya was forced to compete despite the SA team’s doctor, Harold Adams, and three members of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) medical panel suggesting she be withdrawn while she underwent gender verification tests.

Chuene also lied about tests conducted on Semenya in Pretoria shortly before the global championships where she won gold in the women’s 800m final in the midst of an international media frenzy after news of the tests was leaked to the Australian press.

Chuene, Maponyane and Dlamini were all found guilty of clearing staff loans and paying performance bonuses to Chuene and ASA staff, and employing former ASA chief executive Banele Sindani as a consultant to the federation.

Chuene faces the most serious charges, however, including the purchase of a Mercedes Benz from ASA for R1, credit card abuse, failing to account for daily expenses, and receiving allowances from both ASA and the IAAF for the same events.

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