London: Former Namibian sprinter and IAAF Council member Frankie Fredericks has been provisionally suspended from athletics pending an investigation into a potential ethics violation, the sport's governing body said on Monday.
Fredericks is being investigated by the Athletics Integrity Unit over payments he received from Papa Massata Diack, the son of former IAAF president Lamine Diack, on the day Rio won the vote to host the 2016 Olympics.
Earlier this year Fredericks, an International Olympic Committee member, stepped down as head of the team evaluating bids to host the 2024 Olympics and has also removed himself from the IAAF taskforce investigating doping allegations in Russia, after the corruption allegations surfaced in Le Monde newspaper.
But in a written judgement, the Chairman of the IAAF Disciplinary Tribunal Michael J Beloff rejected Fredericks' offer to "use his best judgment" on whether or not to attend future council meetings.
"His suggestion that his participation in IAAF Council business should be a matter of his own discretion on a meeting by meeting and issue by issue basis is, in the Integrity Unit’s view, inadequate in the light of the seriousness of the matters, the subject of investigation, and the importance of ensuring and being seen to ensure the utmost standards of probity in the administration of the sport," it said.
The judgement reported that there was a prima facie case into "the possibility that Mr Fredericks received substantial sums of money with the aim and/or effect of affecting his voting in the award of an Olympic host city."
It said that Fredericks rejects the allegations, saying that a payment of $300,000 was paid to his company in recompense for legitimate work undertaken.
The judgement said clarity was needed as to the reasons for the payment, but added that Fredericks' suspension "in no way abrogates the principle of the presumption of innocence."
"An order for provisional suspension is not an early determination of guilt. Rather, it is an order which may be made on a precautionary basis to safeguard the interests of the sport, and support public confidence in the sport and its integrity, pending the conclusion of any ethical investigation and disciplinary proceedings."
Fredericks can appeal his suspension.