NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 14- The besieged National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) had a hard time explaining how much they had received in reimbursement from official Team Kenya kit manufacturer Nike since they began their engagement with them.
While appearing for a third and final time infront of the Parliamentary Committee of Labor, Social and Welfare, Team Kenya’s Chief de Mission to the concluded Rio Olympic Games, Stephen arap Soi was put to task to explain why they had budgeted an extra Sh30mn for kits whereas Nike had fully sponsored the team.
Soi explained that the United States based apparel company usually tasks the committee to spend its own cash to clear the uniform shipment at their cost and later reimbursed.
“We budgeted for that amount because what happens is that we usually do clearance for ourselves, and we have documents to show that, then Nike reimburses after we invoice them. That is the natural procedure. We incurred costs of shipping and tax clearance,” Soi explained.
Emgwen Member of Parliament Elijah Lagat pointed out in the audited accounts presented by NOCK did not show any reimbursements even up to 2014 and asked Soi to substantiate, now that a Nike contract with the body clearly showed the Americans cater for all costs of bringing the uniforms to the country.
Soi was pained in giving his explanations, but none could remove any doubt that the money was unaccounted for.
This comes as NOCK chairman Kipchoge Keino hinted they might be looking to end their relationship with Nike over what he termed as contractual discrepancies.
He had said they will be considering a new kits sponsor with their issues around NOCK but when asked by the committee chairman David Were whether the contract had an exit clause, he affirmed to the positive.
Keino insinuated they had raised pertinent issues with Nike over Kenya’s kitting including variation in size and colors but none of their calls were heard.
“I am the one who travelled to Oregon with Mr Chacha (James) to sign the contract with Nike. We have had very many issues with them including issues of color of the kit, size and other things but they have never come,” Keino told the Parliamentary Committee.
“Sometimes they bring us undersize or oversize kits. Their sizes differ and more so the kits are manufactured in China. I think we really need to look at our engagement with them.”
His sentiments were echoed by his deputy Ben Ekumbo who said; “It is time we sit down with them and review or we go somewhere else where we will be allowed to call the shots.”
He also insinuated there are some technical equipment like swimming goggles and boxing gloves not provided for by Nike and the board is forced to purchase, while waiting for reimbursement from the apparel providers.
On Wednesday, the Parliamentary Committee punched holes on NOCK’s budget for the Rio games, totaling to close to Sh583mn of which the government provided Sh500mn while the rest was fundraised by NOCK.
There was a storm when Treasurer Fridah Shiroya said the NOCK board did not have time to peruse the final budget since Soi was busy, something that the head of delegation denied.
“It’s even in the minutes; we never interrogated this budget in depth. There are some things there that we are not even privy of,” Shiroya insisted.