NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 20- Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Culture and Arts, Hassan Wario has categorically stated the ministry was not involved in procuring the Presidential suite in a cruise ship during the just concluded Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Kenya’s Chief de Mission to the Games Stephen arap Soi had earlier informed Parliament’s Sports and Social Welfare committee that he acted under instruction from the minister to book the two rooms in the cruise ship, something Wario denied.
Speaking while appearing before the Parliamentary Committee for a second time, Wario reiterated the issue was purely a National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) allocation and at no time was the ministry involved.
“Nobody booked any Presidential suite. It was a cabin room, very small and far away in the middle of nowhere; a dingy place where no President, not even myself can stay. It was not a Presidential suite as has been put and was fully booked by NOCK. I don’t know any President who stays in a deluxe room,” Wario told the Committee.
After NOCK had alleged it had booked the Presidential suite, State House came out strongly to deny the allegations.
NOCK has been placed under fire over the final travelling list to Rio even as the ministry through the Supplies Chain Manager, Dancun Ashubwe confirmed it paid tickets for everyone on NOCK’s list.
The list, tabled before the Parliamentary Committee had names of 10 journalists, including two who never travelled as well as that of Soi’s wife Juliet Maritim, but speaking previously to Capital Sport, the Head of Delegation said he catered for his wife’s travel to Rio.
Wario, while responding to whether he was aware of who was in the travelling list said;
“The issue of the spouse is very difficult; somebody just gives you a name and they tell you this person is a nutritionist. That is the list we go by. Knowing all these names is hard. This means something is wrong somewhere and someone did not give us the right information. We go by and only depend on what we are given.”
The Parliamentary Committee is set to make its final report after separately grilling the NOCK officials thrice and ministry officials twice.
At the same, Wario is confident that a new NOCK office will be in place by January next year, basing on the agreements made last week during a joint meeting between the International Olympic Committee and government officials in Lausanne.
“If everything runs as it is, we should have a new NOCK office in place next year. We have an interim team to be led by current chairman Kipchoge Keino and among the things they will see through is the making of a new constitution that will ultimately lead to the elections,” Wario said.
The IOC directed the National Olympic Committee through its chairman, Kipchoge Keino to convene an Extraordinary General Assembly to address and solve issues raised over mismanagement of Team Kenyan at the Rio Olympics, as well as the passage of a new constitution that will lead to elections before December 31.
Wario confirmed that a decision by 19 of 21 NOCK affiliates earlier on to suspend some of the NOCK officials was a challenge during the Lausanne talks and added the decisions made then were unconstitutional.