Ministry officials ‘squandered’ over Ksh88m Rio 2016 cash

The full-scale of the Rio 2016 Olympics fiasco has only started to emerge according to shocking claims contained in the yet to be officially released Probe Committee report to the scandal.

Those suspected to be adversely mentioned are allegedly using unorthodox methods including blackmail to doctor the report or ensure it never sees the light of day.

Citizen Digital has obtained part of the report that recommends strict action to be taken against officials of the National Olympics Committee-Kenya (Nock) and those in the Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts (Mosca) who are accused of the misappropriation of over Ksh 88 million meant for Team Kenya for Rio 2016.

Additionally, Nock officials are also being called to account for the Ksh 126 million they receive annually from American sports apparel manufacturer, Nike after the firm submitted to the Committee headed by its chairman, Paul Ochieng, full disclosure in writing of their contract with the national Olympics body.

“Action to be taken against those culpable in the misappropriation of Ksh 88,611,480 at Mosca and also Nock to account for the Ksh 126 million per year they receive from Nike on behalf of the athletes,” part of the report in our possession recommends.

Having been handed over to Sports Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Hassan Wario on October 28, 2016 by the probe team, its very existence has ruffled feathers in the ministry and conceivable effort has been made to ensure it is altered or like many before it, gather dust at its Kencom House headquarters in Nairobi.

Citizen Digital understands officials in the ministry who are running scared they could be adversely mentioned have resorted to withholding payment of members of the Probe Committee in a bid to force them to divulge the contents of the report.

“When we presented the report to Dr. Wario on the 28th of October, the minister ordered accounting officers to pay us but they have since declined because these officials suspect they are being accused in the report.

“They want to get hold of it to doctor it or line up some form of defence but they should instead seek its contents from the appointing authority who is Wario,” Ochieng underscored.

His committee spent 37 days working in Nairobi and Eldoret in a bid to get to the bottom of the scandal that gained notoriety when it shocked a nation and took the shine off the glory in the immediate aftermath of Rio 2016, prompting President Uhuru Kenyatta to order a probe.

Information in our possession indicates his Cabinet Secretary Wario promptly passed on the damning report to the Head of State who is said to have subsequently met Ochieng and his team as well as some of the affected athletes.

The astonishing report unravels what appears to have been an elaborate scheme between crooked Nock and officials in the ministry to loot as much as possible from the Ksh 590 million budgeted for the Games.

Team Kenya chef-de-mission, Stephen arap Soi follows proceedings during the second day of grilling by the Parliamentary Departmental Committee for Labour and Social Services in Nairobi on Wednesday. PHOTO/Charity Wanja
Team Kenya chef-de-mission, Stephen arap Soi follows proceedings during the second day of grilling by the Parliamentary Departmental Committee for Labour and Social Services in Nairobi. PHOTO/Charity Wanja

Team Kenya Head of Mission, Stephen arap Soi has already been charged with five counts of theft of Ksh25, 907,705.82 meant for the Olympics but that is now emerging to be less than a third of the figure said to have been misappropriated by officials at the ministry according to the report.

“Some ministry officials misappropriated Ksh 88, 611,480 meant for air tickets while Nock has been misappropriating Nike contract funds and kit worth amounting to Ksh 126 million per year meant for athletes since 2013,” it reads.

Fellow Nock bosses; Francis Kinyili Paul (Secretary General) and Pius Ochieng (First Vice-Chairman) like Soi are also out on bail on charges of stealing kit from Nike but the sponsorship money and winning bonuses for athletes paid out for medalling at the Olympics are not among the charges.

“Nike athletes who won gold medals contacted denied ever receiving the bonuses owed to them from this and previous Olympics while the firm had provided up to 41 kit items to each athlete in the Rio team yet they received between nine and 11 items.

“They also delivered the kit in time contrary to what Nock led many to believe that it was delayed,” Citizen Digital understands.

With only a few copies of the report printed, concerned ministry officials turned to withholding payment to committee members in a bid to arm-twist them to divulge the contents of the report.

Citizen Digital could not verify other jaw-dropping claims of the lengths they were willing to go to compromise those privy to the details contained therein as panic spreads in Kencom House with no ministry official yet to be charged with the scam.

The report additionally recommends the eight year contract between the American firm and Nock on behalf of all national teams “to be reviewed or cancelled” since it is “heavily skewed” towards Nike.

It also recommends the Sports Act of 2013 to be fully implemented to realise the full potential of sports federations and parastatals, creation of the office of a Sports Ombudusman as well as establishing partnership with a Japanese city with Team Kenya to launch early preparations for Tokyo 2020.

The Probe Committee also suggests it should be converted into a Tokyo 2020 Delivery Team to lay a template for future preparations to the greatest sporting carnival on earth.

Another report by the Parliamentary Select Committee for Labour and Social Services chaired by Matuga Member of Parliament, is yet to release its report to the same scandal having summoned Nock and ministry bureaucrats led by Dr. Wario.