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MPs urge pardon for legend Keino in Rio Olympics scam

Kipchoge Keino has headed the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) since 1999

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 15 – Two Jubilee MPs have petitioned President Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene and pardon Olympics legend Kipchoge Keino from facing charges of misappropriating Sh55 million in the 2016 Rio Olympics scandal.

Soy MP Caleb Kositany said the former National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) Chairman who is expected back in the country from Mexico where he had gone to receive a lifetime recognition award is not involved.

“If it is possible, the President should pardon Kipchoge Keino and direct that his charges be dropped and he be freed because this is a man who has brought glory to this country; he has done more good to this country than harm. We will not be rewarding impunity… this is one special case of Kipchoge Keino.”

“What do we gain? Do we gain more by charging Kipchoge Keino or do we gain by protecting the name he has given this country and the name that he has built for himself? We have never rewarded him with anything and now in his sunset years we are dragging him through the mud. I am convinced that Kipchoge Keino was not directly involved,” he added.

Kositany appeared to contradict himself when he said he was prepared to lead efforts to pay back the public funds so that the honour of the two-time Olympic medallist is not tainted internationally.

“I have stated that if these allegations are found to be true, we have been talking with other friends of Keino and we have agreed that we will put money together as Kenyans and we pay back to the government what they claim was stolen so that our legend is allowed to enjoy his retirement in freedom and peace,” he told a news conference at Parliament buildings.

Keino’s gold in the 1,500 meters at the 1968 Mexico Olympics paved the way for decades of dominance by Kenyan distance runners.

Kipchoge Keino received an Olympic award from IOC President Thomas Bach at the 2016 Rio Olympics opening ceremony

He was named in the track and field’s international hall of fame in 2012 alongside the likes of Jesse Owens, Carl Lewis and IAAF President Sebastian Coe.

Turkana Central MP John Lodepe called for a thorough probe of previous heads in investigative agencies because they duped Parliament into clearing former Sports CS Hassan Wario (now Kenya’s ambassador to Austria) and PS Richard Ekai (now Kenya’s Ambassador to Russia) to take up diplomatic postings while they were undergoing serious investigations.

“We have been asking ourselves very many questions in regards to the ongoing investigations. We are wondering what were the people who were there before doing because they are the ones who told us when we were vetting these people that the former CS and his PS had been cleared but now Parliament has been left with egg on its face,” said the Turkana Central MP.

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“Did someone hide some information from Parliament; from the DPP at that time in order that they be cleared and then came up with the information later? These are the questions that we will be asking as Parliament because how do we clear people and then three months down the line we hear that they are accused persons. So, who’s fooling who?” Kositany posed.

Wario, Ekai, Kipchoge are among seven high-ranking officials the DPP wants prosecuted after Kenya’s preparations for the 2016 Rio Games were marred by allegations that officials stole money meant to pay for athletes’ travel, accommodation and other expenses.

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