NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 25 – National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) 1st vice-chairman Ben Ekumbo was on Friday formally charged with two counts related to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games scandal.
Ekumbo, who appeared before Nairobi Milimani Law Court Resident Magistrate Joyce Ngandani, pleaded not guilty to charges of stealing cash and kits belonging to Team Kenya.
The Kenya Swimming Federation chairman, who was detained at Muthaiga Police Station, will spend three more days in custody until Monday where the court will rule on whether to release him on bail.
“On 25th of July at KCB University Way branch in Nairobi Ben Ekumbo Kaburi conspired with others not before court to steal $10,500 (Sh1,070,364.75) property of the Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts,” the first count in the charge sheet read.
Ekumbo, who was arrested on Monday from his Nairobi apartment in Westlands where Team Kenya Nike kits were seized, faces another count of stealing by agent where it is alleged that on an unknown date at NOCK headquarters he stole sports uniform belonging to Team Kenya.
Ekumbo, who was Team Kenya’s Deputy Head of Delegation for the Rio Olympics told the court that the cash was deposited into his bank account without his knowledge and said he will refund the money.
Ekumbo is the fourth official from NOCK to be formally charged over the embarrassing scandals which tarnished Kenya’s best-ever performance at a Games.
The other NOCK officials who are facing court charges include general secretary Francis Kinyili Paul, vice-chairman Pius Ochieng and assistant treasurer Stephen Arap Soi.
Another official, Fridah Shiroya, was set free after the prosecution dropped charges against her.
The kit disappearance was one of several scandals that gripped Kenya during the summer Games.
Further embarrassment ensued when it emerged someone had forgotten to book a plane ticket for javelin world champion Julius Yego — who went on to win Olympics silver — while 200m sprinter Carvin Nkanata’s accreditation was submitted late meaning he almost missed his race.
A parliamentary probe into the mismanagement of the Games was told in September how $20,000 was wasted as officials booked rooms for President Uhuru Kenyatta and the sports cabinet secretary aboard a cruise ship which were never used.
Despite the scandals Kenya scooped 13 medals, including six gold, in its best performance at the Olympics.