NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 6 – Shocking details have emerged detailing how the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) lost Sh3.1mn in the recently concluded Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where President Uhuru Kenyatta was booked to spend 18 days on a cruise ship, despite not attending the games.
According to details provided by Kenya’s Chief de Mission to the Rio games Stephen Soi who appeared before the Labor and Social Services Committee on Tuesday afternoon, he was instructed to book three rooms after a meeting between himself, the Cabinet Secretary for Sports Hassan Wario and Permanent Secretary Ambasador Richard Ekai.
According to Soi, he was directed to book a presidential room in a cruise ship which had been set aside by the Rio organisers for international dignitaries and two others for the Chairmen of the National Assembly and Senate Labor Committees at the high end Rio Othon Palace Hotel.
However, none of the three rooms were occupied by the intended persons with one of the Chairmen David Were dropping a shocker with the revelation as he had travelled at the expense of Parliament.
For a period of 18 days, NOCK spent Sh2.3mn (USD20,304) on both rooms at the Othon Palace Hotel while a further Sh1.9mn (USD10,890) was spent on the presidential cruise ship.
They paid Sh60,500 (USD605) per day for 18 days for the Presidential room on the cruise ship while Sh56,400 (USD564) was paid per day for the two rooms at the Othon Palace.
Soi confirmed that the President’s room was never occupied throughout the period while none of the chairs of the two House committees occupied the Othon Palace rooms.
He now seems to shift blame back to Wario and Ekai over the mess.
“As far as accommodation is concerned, I requested the CS (Cabinet Secretary) on 4th August that I wanted to concentrate on the team because the competition was starting and they would rather concentrate on the accommodation together with the PS (Permanent Secretary),” Soi told the Parliamentary Committee.
He added: “Whatever transpired after 4th of August, I don’t know. What I know is that at one point the Chairman of Sports Fund and ADAK (Anti Doping Association of Kenya) chair occupied the Othon Palace rooms. I don’t know when they left because I left that to be the responsibility of the CS and PS. I was learning later when I was making transport arrangements for the chair and he said no, he was going to a different direction. I was in the darkness because I didn’t know the chairman did not occupy the room.”
The revelations opened up a pandoras box into just how much money was lost in Rio with the members of the Parliamentary Committee who had also travelled to the games confirming the chair spent the entire period together with them.
Aldai legislator Cornelly Serem who is a member of the committee said someone has to take responsibility for the mess in booking of the three rooms, even when it was apparent the Head of State was not going to travel to Rio even after indicating so when he flagged off the team at State House.
“It is clear that members of their organisation used the title of the chair to gain advantage so that they can utilise government money. Somebody must take responsibility,” he opined.
The NOCK officials had been summoned by the Parliamentary Committee to give their accounts on their part in the organisation of the team, the allegations made against them, court cases involving four of the officials as well as the expected repercussions of Wario’s decision to disband NOCK.
The sitting was adjourned to Wednesday afternoon where members of the committee are set to grill NOCK on what exactly transpired in Rio.
Present alongside Soi was NOCK President Kipchoge Keino, his two deputies Paul Ochieng and Ben Ekumbo, Secretary General FK Paul, Treasurer Fridah Shiroya and Committee member Catherine Ndereba.