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Daniel Kipchirchir Komen: How Top Athlete Living In Poverty Was Allegedly Conned Millions By Lawyer

By Prudence Minayo

Kenyans are a proud lot when their countrymen bag medals and conquer long distance races across the globe. Their families, friends and partners are keen on being associated with these champions but nobody’s there when everything goes south. In an interview with former Gold medalist Wilfred Bungei, he revealed how most athletes end up destitute after either careless spending or being fleeced out of their hard earned money. He was among those who fell victim to alcohol. He would often waste his money on drinks and at times would not account for close to sh100,000 a day. In his early days, he was also conned out of about Sh600,000. Luckily, he turned his life around following the death of Samuel Wanjiru which made him rethink his choices. 

The story of Daniel Kipchirchir Komen, which aired on NTV in 2016, is sad and a lesson to be learned by other athletes not to fall in the same trap. He is an athlete who represented Kenya more than 97 times and made a fortune out of this. At the peak of his career, he never  imagined that his vast wealth would vanish into thin air. In fact, he prepared for his retirement, buying properties knowing he would one day earn a lot from their sale. 

Here is his story as told by WoK

Background 

The athlete was born on 26th November 1984 in Chemorgong, Koibatek. Daniel Kipchirchir Komen attended the same primary school in Eldama Ravine with his wife Dorothy. Komen came from a poverty stricken background and to earn some extra cash, he dug pit latrines during holidays. He then joined Timboroa High School where his talent in running sports would earn him a scholarship. The 37-year-old would then become a professional athlete soon after leaving school. 

Also Read:Top 10 Richest Athletes in Kenya

Athletics Profile 

The middle distance runner was known for his exceptional performance in the 1500m race. His career spanned for nearly a decade as his first ever recorded marathon was the 2003 African Junior Championship where he finished second. In 2005, he participated in the World Championships in Athletics but missed the finals.

In 2007, Daniel Kipchirchir Komen would break the 1983 record set by Eamonn Coghlan by running the fastest mile ever run in the United States. His last race was in 2011 in South Korea in the  1500m semi finals. He finished sixth and did not qualify for the finals. 

Going Downhill 

Komen earned more than Sh35 million from his racing career. The athlete told NTV investigative journalist Dennis Okari that everything began to go downhill when he entrusted his finances to Isaac Terer, his lawyer and financial manager. In April 2008, after winning a silver medal during indoor championships in Spain, he was advised to invest in a prime property by his lawyer Keter. The property went for Sh12 million. 

Also Read: Henry Rono: Breaking Four World Records, Making Millions And Drowning All In Alcohol

He paid about Sh9 million for the property but as he went to view the sale agreement, another lawyer told him it stated he had bought the land alongside Keter. The former silver medalist then asked his lawyer why his name was appearing as a buyer on the agreement instead of as a witness. Keter told him it was a mistake that would be amended when the title deeds came out. Unfortunately, this did not happen as the documents showed he bought the property in partnership with his lawyer. 

Making Bank Transfer

The same year, he made a number of bank transfers including to his lawyer’s firm. The former athlete told NTV that every time he visited the lawyer’s office, he was snubbed. 

“He secured a house for me in the posh Elgon View Estate in Eldoret, but the deal never materialised after it became evident that property was at the centre of a legal dispute and later struck another deal after his fellow lawyer opted to sell his own house,” he was quoted by The Standard.

“Terer advised me to write a cheque of Sh5 million to the seller to secure the property since the lawyer apparently had not convinced his family about the sale of the house and that we would sign the agreement later,” Komen added.

He went to say: “I later wrote another cheque of Sh1 million, bringing the total payment to Sh21 million.” 

Isaac Terer on the other hand denied these allegations. The lawyer turned Usain Gishu county speaker at the time said the athlete had proposed a partnership which he agreed to. He said if he had wronged the athlete why couldn’t he be taken to the police. When asked if he had evidence to show the agreed partnership, he admitted he neglected to draw such an agreement.

 

The athlete, through is lawyer Elvis Majani of Wambilianga, Majani and Associates, is hoping to recover his Sh150 million property from his former financial advisor and lawyer.

Glory days long gone

In 2016, he was training for the 2017 Olympics where he hoped one more win would transform his life. However, he had problems with form and muscles-he knew that his prime days were long gone. His wife remained his biggest supporter, cheering him in gloomy days. She remained hopeful that one day their fortunes would change for the better.