15 October 2018

Seven Kenyans charged over Rio 2016 Olympic fraud

Kenya’s Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) has charged four former government officials and three former Olympic officials with misappropriation of funds designed to support Kenyan athletes at the Rio 2016 Olympics. In a statement posted on Twitter (below), the ODPP outlines that the government set aside Ksh544 million (€4.66 million) for athletes participating at the Games. The seven are accused of misappropriating Ksh55 million (€471,000) of that through:

• Embezzlement of Ksh22,540,800 (€193,000);
• Purchase of tickets that were not utilised totalling Ksh16,872,497 (€144,500);
• Overpayment of allowances totalling Ksh15,907,500 (€136,162);
• Expenses on unauthorised persons of Ksh6,590,286 (€56,400).

The seven that have been charged are:

• Hassan Wario Arero, former Minister of Sports, Culture and the Arts;
• Richard Titus Ekai, former Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts;
• Harun Komen Chebet, former Director of Administration at the Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts;
• Stephen Kiptanui Arap Soi, Chef de Mission Rio 2016 and Deputy Treasurer at the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK);
• Patrick Kimathi Nkabu, Former Finance Officer at the Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts;
• Hezekiah Kipchoge Keino, former President and Chair of NOCK;
• Francis Kanyili Paul, former Secretary General of NOCK.

The ODPP statement revealed that Kenya’s Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) has received a report from athletes in December 2016 alleging mismanagement of funds designed for athletes. It was alleged that official kit was sold to members of the public in Rio; that kit destined for athletes remained at the NOCK offices in Kenya; that unfit accommodation was obtained for the Kenyan team after NOCK failed to secure a flight until after applications to stay in the Olympic Village had closed. 

Such allegations resulted in the detention of three NOCK officials on their return from Rio. Arap Soi and Assistant NOCK Secretary James Chacha were arrested alongside F.K. Paul, reported Reuters.

‘A number of issues were found which needed to be covered in order to strengthen the prosecution case’, read the ODPP statement. As such, the DCI re-submitted its file to the ODPP on 1 October, resulting in the 13 October decision that there is sufficient evidence to charge the seven officials. Kenya won six gold, six silver and one bronze medal at Rio, making it second only to the USA in track events and the leading African nation in the medal table.

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