Wario, Ekai ambassadorial posts at risk after Rio scam
The indictment of former Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario and ex-PS Richard Ekai over the Rio Olympics scandal has left Kenyans questioning the vetting of nominees to public offices.
The two, were vetted by Parliament and the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) before they were handed sensitive positions as lead diplomats abroad.
According to the court ruling on Monday, Wario is expected to report to the DCI headquarters on Thursday October 18 and appear in court the next day.
While Wario’s whereabouts are still unclear, the DCI has threatened to ask for Interpol to intervene and have him arrested.
The DCI said he will order that Wario is brought back into the country to face corruption related charges if he fails to appear.
Once that happens, Wario will be suspended.
However, there’s a caveat; the case has to be determined within 2 years for the suspended officers to be eligible to get back to work once the proceedings against them either continue or are dropped.
“The law is once you’ve been interdicted for taking a criminal plea, you only get half your basic salary but other allowances will be retained until the case is concluded,” Dastan Omari, a lawyer said.
As for Richard Ekai, he was yet to report for his diplomatic duties in Moscow and pleaded not guilty on Monday October 15,2018.
His application to travel to Russia was denied and the court ordered that his passport be confiscated.
“This court will not allow him to travel out of the country since he has not taken over his ambassadorial duties…There’s nothing for him to go and handover,” ruled Chief MagistrateDouglas Ogoti.
The Ksh.55million Rio scandal exploded two years ago followed by investigations.
The then Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Keriako Tobiko directed that Ekai and Wario be prosecuted.
It was however put on hold as Kenyans headed for elections in 2017.
Early this year, the two were nominated, vetted and appointed as ambassadors to represent Kenyan affairs in Russia and Austria.
“They appeared before all arms of government and were cleared… it’s the same question people are asking…look at what happened to the DCJ Philomena Mwilu and she passed through these investigatory arms of government? Are we now being convinced that there has never been vetting?” Omari posed.
In the recent past, most public officers facing charges of criminal nature have ended being replaced before the completion of cases.
Those recently affected include former Youth Affairs PS Lilian Omolo who was replaced by Francis Otieno after she stepped down over the NYS scandal.
Former NYS Director General Richard Ndubai was also replaced by Matilda Sakwa.