NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 28 – Embattled National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) officials, Stephen arap Soi, Francis Paul Kinyili and Pius Ochieng on Wednesday denied charges of Stealing and abuse of office over Team Kenya’s Rio Olympics fiasco.
The three appeared before Nairobi Millimani’s Chief Magistrate Daniel Ogembo with Soi, who was the head of delegation for Team Kenya charged with five counts of stealing amounting to Ksh 25.9 million meant for athletes.
Ochieng, the NOCK vice chairman and his Secretary General, Kinyili, are facing charges of fraudulently acquiring Team Kenya kit from official sponsors Nike.
“On dates between 1st June 2016 and 31st July, in the Nairobi NOCK’s offices within Nairobi County, jointly with others not before court being officials of National Olympic Committee of Kenya with intent to defraud omitted to make inventory of the Nike kit uniform donated by Nike Company to be used by Team Kenya in the Rio Olympic 2016,” the charge sheet of Ochieng and F.K Paul read.
The trio who were earlier on freed on Ksh200, 000 cash bail, were released on Ksh1million bond each and one surety, but ordered to deposit their passports to the court pending the conclusion of investigations.
The court lifted order that barred them from accessing the NOCK head quarter offices in Nairobi but were warned against interfering with the case ahead of the trail on October 24.
This is after the court rejected an application by the prosecution seeking to have them remanded over claims that Soi has been interfering with investigations.
“On the issue of their passport I find merit and need of their passports be deposited in court and they can always apply to the court to have them temporarily if need to travel arises,” the Magistrate ruled.
Soi is accused of stealing from Government, NOCK and Athletics Kenya over the saga that tainted Kenya’s image at the global event where the country recorded its best performance ever, hauling a total of 13 medals, 6 gold, 6 silver and 1 bronze.
“On 20th July 2016 at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi within Nairobi County, willfully refused to report the conveyance of money instruments to authorised officers at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to wit conveyance of USD234,000 (Ksh 23,684,944.11) out of Kenya during your exit to Brazil in accordance to the requirements of sub section (1) of this act,” Soi’s third count on the charge sheet read.
“On 20th July 2016 at Nock’s offices being an official trustee to the National Olympics Committee-Kenya, stole USD18,000 (Ksh 1,822,038.44) which had been entrusted to you by Athletics Kenya for purposes of making payments towards the accommodation of Athletics Kenya officials during the Rio 2016 Games in Brazil,” the fourth charge stated.
The first and fifth counts state Soi stole USD3000 (Ksh 303,667.44) and another USD1000 (Ksh104,000) from the Ministry’s offices at Kencom House, Nairobi on the same date.