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Wario, 7 others face charges over Rio scandal

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Former Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario (left) and his ex-Principal Secretary Richard Ekai when they appeared before the Parliamentary Committee on Labor and Social Affairs on September 6, 2016. PHOTO/TIMOTHY OLOBULU

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 15 – Officials who handled the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil were charged on Monday over a scandal involving the mismanagement of Sh55mn.

While others were in court, former Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario and ex-National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) chair Kipchoge Keino were charged in absentia and the court has now ordered them to present themselves to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) by Thursday to be processed for plea taking.

Also required in court is Patrick Kimathi – who served as Finance Director at the Sports Ministry during the scandal.

Magistrate Douglas Ogoti said he will issue warrants of arrest against them if they fail to present themselves to police.

Wario who publicly disbanded NOCK and handed over the duties to Sports Kenya when the scandal blew up just after the Rio games faces six counts of abuse of office.

He is accused of using his office improperly to confer a benefit of Sh1.5mn to one Adam Omar by including him in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games Kenyan delegation team which travelled to Brazil leading to loss of public funds.

It is also alleged that he conferred the same amount to James Gitau Singh, Sh918,391 to Richard Abura, and Monica Nkina Sairo and a further Sh498,391 to Eunice Kerich and Samuel Njuguna.

Former Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario (middle) and his ex-Principal Secretary Richard Ekai (left) officially welcome Mwangi Muthee as the World Athletics Youth Championship CEO. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

Meanwhile, former Sports Principal Secretary Richard Ekai, Stephen Kiptanui Soi who was the chief De Mission of Kenyan Team and Francis Kinyili who is the NOCK Secretary General have been freed on Sh1mn cash bail each after denying the charges.

Ekai denied two counts of willful failure to comply with procedures with regards to management of public funds.

He is accused of willfully incurring an expenditure of Sh6.5mn on unauthorized persons and a further Sh15.9mn as allowances to the members of the Kenyan Team to Rio, same charges pressed on the former Director of Administration Komen.

Soi, who was until last year’s elections the NOCK the Deputy Secretary General faces a count of abuse of office and willful failure to manage public funds authorizing payment of Sh6.5mn and a further Sh16.8mn in a manner which was uneconomical and ineffective during the Rio games.

Also, athletics legend and multiple Olympic Games gold medalist Keino faces a count of willful failure to manage public funds and abuse of office.

As the NOCK president, it is alleged that Keino authorized payment of Sh15.9mn as allowances to the Kenyan Team and abused his office by conferring a benefit of Sh2.5mn to his son Ian Kipchoge by including him to travel to the Rio games.

By Rachel Mburu

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