Meru governor and other leaders during the Mt Kenya Mountain run. Photo/Courtesy

Meru County is considering separating cancer fundraising from the mountain run after this year’s event gobbled all donations in preparations.

Governor Kawira Mwangaza declared the Mountain Run, a sham after the organizing committee spent Sh13 million leaving a meagre Sh562, 500 for cancer treatment.

The mountain run was initiated in 2020 to promote tourism and raise money for cancer care in Meru.

According to the finance executive Monica Kathono, the first mountain run raised Sh26 million and spent Sh17 million while the second edition raised Sh15 million and spent more than Sh20 million.

However, only Sh1 million has been spent on cancer related programmes since the event started in 2020.

In a new twist, Athletics Kenya eastern region committee recently backed calls for investigations into the expenditure of Sh13.7 million raised by well-wishers to support the third edition of Mt Kenya Mountain Run.

Athletics Kenya (AK) eastern region chairman Ainsworth Maragara said his team, which provided technical support to Meru county officials, had recommended a budget of at least Sh8 million for preparations.

The AK regional committee appeared during the recent monthly county press briefings hosted by the governor.

“As Athletics Kenya, we were involved in the local organising committee. However, we were shocked when we heard Sh13 million was spent on preparations.”

“Since we were aware of the shortage of funds, we did a budget of not more than Sh8 million. It appears someone took advantage of the situation to overspend,” Maragara said.

AK regional secretary Abdikadir Ali also disputed the report that 77 officiating officials spent Sh890, 000 yet they were paid Sh800, 000.

 “As AK officials, we were not involved in procurement. We were only consulted on technical issues. Due to financial constraints, we even reduced the officiating team from 96 to 77. This spending should be investigated,” Ali said.

Athletics Kenya also faulted an expenditure of Sh582, 000 for the event promoter, terming the role unnecessary in the preparation of the Mountain run.

Maragara appealed to the governor not to abolish the event saying given a chance, they can organise the competition with a smaller budget.

Governor Mwangaza said the matter was under investigation by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission.


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