NAIROBI. — Several Kenyan officials were charged in court on Monday for abuse of office and misappropriation of funds from Rio Olympic Games.
Richard Ekai, who was Kenya’s Permanent Secretary for Sports in 2016 during the Rio Olympic Games, and National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) secretary general Francis Paul Kinyili, and team Kenya head of mission Stephen Soi, pleaded not guilty of misappropriating USD$545,905 meant for the games.
Two other officials, Hassan Wario, Ambassador to Austria and former NOCK President Kipchoge Keino have been given until Thursday to surrender to the police for probing over their role in the 2016 Olympic Games financial scandal.
Wario served as Kenya’s sports cabinet secretary during the period leading to the Rio Olympics before he was appointed ambassador.
The two were among four officials who did not appear in court to plead to graft-related charges over alleged misappropriation of funds.
The charges facing the Kenyan sports officials include making unauthorised payments, over-payment of allowances and purchasing tickets worth US$220,000, which were not used by athletes or officials in the trip to Rio, which saw several genuine athletes miss air ticket and training kits.
The court freed Ekai, Soi and Kinyili on a cash bail of 10,000 dollars each and denied to travel abroad until the matter is cleared.
Ekai, who was to report to his new post in Moscow, was also asked to deposit his passport with the court.
Both Wario and Keino, a sports legend and former Olympic champion, are out of the country and are due to appear in court on Friday to also face charges of office abuse and misappropriation of funds meant for Rio Olympic Games.
Despite the corruption allegation, chaotic preparations and participation of the team in the Rio Olympics, Kenya still managed to garner six golds, six silvers and one bronze from the Games, all in track and field. It was the best performance by the East African country in the games history.
The prosecution of sports officials in Kenya is part of a large scheme by President Uhuru Kenyatta to wield on rampant corruption in the government, which started in May. – Xinhua