Kenyan Olympic Committee Officials Charged with Embezzlement

Mark Babatunde October 03, 2016
The Kenyan Olympic team on parade in Rio. Photo Credit: Jambonewspot

Three members of the Kenyan Olympic Committee who traveled with the team during last month’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, have been charged with embezzling funds meant for the welfare of the team.

According to the Daily Nation, Kenya’s chef de mission, Stephen Arap Soi, stole a total sum of $256,000 allocated by the Sports Ministry for the accommodation of the country’s athletes and athletics officials while in Rio.

Others included in the embezzlement charge are Francis Paul secretary general of the Kenyan Olympic Committee, and Pius Ochieng, the team manager for the Kenyan Olympic contingent at the Rio Olympics.

In August, Kenyan police arrested the three men on corruption charges and launched investigations into the misappropriation of funds and the alleged diversion of sporting kits meant for Kenyan athletes at the games.

A police raid at the Kenyan Olympics headquarters resulted in the discovery of dozens of boxes containing uniforms and other sporting gear supplied by global sport wear giant Nike.

A police spokesman told the AFP back in August, “The investigation is centered on the misappropriation of sports kits donated by Nike… and not given to the athletes.” Consequently, at the opening ceremony of the Rio Olympics, many athletes in Team Kenya turned out in mismatched outfits because several of them never received the official uniform.

The Kenyan government ordered a probe into the performance of Team Kenya at the Rio Olympics as soon as the team returned home from the Games. Sports Minister Hassan Wario immediately announced the disbandment of the country’s Olympic Committee after allegations of mismanagement and corruption by the committee surfaced in the media.

Kenyan Member of Parliament for the Cherangany Constituency and Olympic marathon team captain Wesley Korir sent out several tweets during the team’s stay, highlighting various issues athletes were forced to deal with in Rio:

A Pattern of Impunity

Inadequate planning and preparation is often the reason African teams at major sporting events, such as the Olympics or the FIFA World Cup, perform poorly. The under-23 Olympic football team that represented Nigeria at the men’s football event in Rio made headlines for arriving at the venue of their first match against Japan barely six hours before kick-off. This mishap was caused by the Sports Ministry’s failure to properly arrange or book flight tickets ahead of time.

And just before the Olympics, Kenya’s world champion javelin thrower Julius Yego found out he had not even been booked a flight to the Rio Games on his arrival to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. Yego, like the Nigerian U-23 team (that won the football bronze), still managed to come home with a silver medal.

Hearing for the case involving the three Kenyan officials is scheduled to begin on October 24th.

Last Edited by:Charles Gichane Updated: June 19, 2018


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