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Wario, two others freed on Sh1mn cash bail

Kenya’s Sports minister Hassan Wario, pictured on August 25, 2016, was arraigned before a Nairobi court over the Rio Olympics scandal

NAIROBI, Kenya Oct 19 – Former Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario and two other former ministry officials have been released on a Sh1mn cash bail each having pleaded not guilty to different counts from the 2016 Rio Olympics Sh55mn scandal.

Wario, who is Kenya’s Ambassador to Austria, denied six charges related to corruption and abuse of office when he was arraigned before Nairobi Magistrate Douglas Ogoti at the Milimani Law courts on Friday morning.

He was charged alongside two other former sports officials Haron Komen, who served as Director of Administration and Patrick Nkabu who was in charge of finance.

Wario denied before anti-corruption Chief Magistrate Ogoti that he used his office improperly to confer a benefit of Sh1.5mn to Adam Omar and Sh918,931 to communication officer at the ministry Richard Abura by including them in the Rio delegation

Allegedly the former CS also conferred a further Sh498,391 to Monica Nkina Sairo,  Eunice Kerich and Samuel Njuguna, all for the Rio Olympics

The same charges were also conferred on Komen.

Kimathi who was the ministry’s finance officer at the time denied failing to comply with applicable law relating to management of public funds by carelessly misusing public funds amounting to Sh22.5mn.

The three former ministry officials will return to court on November 16 for pre-trial conference for purposes of fixing hearing dates and further directions.

On the same day, Wario will be formally requesting the court to direct his passport be released back to him to enable him return to Austria to carry out his ambassadorial duties.

According to Wario, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is yet to communicate to him whether he will continue serving as a diplomat pending conclusion of his trial. The DPP has however indicated he will be objecting since he is now an accused person.

-Kipchoge Keino

Athletics legend Kipchoge Keino was not in court after police decided to use him as a prosecution witness against Wario and the other officials charged with mismanaging funds that were meant for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

His lawyer Cecil Miller told the court that his client was given a free bond to enable the prosecution review issues he raised in a new statement showing he was not directly responsible in signing any documents.

Keino and Wario had been out of the country until Thursday morning when they surrendered to police as directed last week when former Sports Principal Secretary Richard Ekai and two others were charged over the scandal and freed on a cash bail of Sh1 million each.