Former Kenyan NOC official arrested over Rio 2016 financial scandal as charges ordered against six more

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From Inside the Games

Former National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) official Stephen Kiptanui arap Soi has been arrested in connection with the Rio 2016 Olympic Games financial scandal.

A police source told the Daily Nation that Soi, who served as Kenya’s Chef de Mission at Rio 2016, was held at Muthaiga Police Station.

Detectives have long been seeking to establish whether there is evidence that officials either misused or stole money allocated to the Kenyan team that travelled to Brazil two years ago.

It follows the Olympic Games Probe Committee revealing that the Sports Ministry had signed a ticketing deal with a Kenyan-based travel agency to offer tickets at a higher price than usual.

The Daily Nation reports that police were also seeking to arrest NOCK treasurer Francis Paul Kanyili, former Cabinet Secretary for Sports Hassan Wario, former Principal Secretary in the Ministry Richard Ekai and director of administration Harun Komen over the same scandal.

Additionally, the police are said to be targeting former NOCK President Kipchoge Keino.

In a statement, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji has said that all six men, along with Patrick Kimathi, the former finance officer at the Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts, should be charged over misappropriation of KES55 million (£415,000/$546,000/€471,000) at Rio 2016.

The DPP says the seven should face the six counts of abuse of office and four counts of willful failure to comply with laws relating to the management of public funds, contrary to the Anti-Corruption and Economics Crimes Act.

This, according to the DPP, is for the embezzlement of KES22.5 million (£170,000/$223,000/€193,000), purchase of air tickets which were not utilised amounting to KES16.9 million (£127,000/$168,000/€145,000), overpayment of allowances amounting to KES15.9 million (£120,000/$158,000/€136,000) and incurring expenditure on unauthorised persons amounting to KES6.6 million (£50,000/$65,000/€57,000).

Haji has said the seven are directed to report to the Director of Criminal Investigation Headquarters on or before Monday (October 15).

“Failure to which the process of obtaining warrants of arrest shall commence before a competent court,” the statement adds.

“I have further noted that several individuals were unlawfully facilitated by the above individuals with air tickets and allowances to travel to Rio.

“As such, I have referred the matter to the Asset Recovery Agency for recovery of the same.”

Haji has also directed further investigations to be conducted into donations made to the NOCK and contracts between the NOCK and clothing giants Nike and the utilisation of monies realised there from.

insidethegames exclusively revealed in November 2016 that the NOCK is receiving $5.7 million (£4.5 million/€5.2 million) as part of an eight-year contract with Nike.

Back in 2016, Soi admitted that he carried KES25 million (£188,000/$248,000/€214,000) in cash to Rio de Janeiro to cater for medicine and accommodation.

The Olympic Games Probe Committee – created by Wario and chaired by Paul Ochieng, the dean of students at Nairobi’s Strathmore University – revealed NOCK negotiated for a KES175,000 (£1,300/$1,700/€1,500) bill for economy class tickets, only for the travel agency to up the cost to KES445,381 (£3,400/$4,400/€3,800).

Business class tickets were quoted at KES800,000 (£6,000/$8,000/€6,900), but the agency charged KES2 million (£15,100/$19,800/€17,100).

The 18-year reign of runner Keino, the double Olympic gold medallist, as chairman of the NOCK came to an end in September 2017.

It was then that he was replaced by Paul Tergat who was elected after his only rival was ruled out from standing.

Tergat, the former world record holder for the marathon and double Olympic silver medallist, was elected unopposed after the Elective General Assembly decided his only rival, Patrick Muyah, the acting chairman of the Kenyan Swimming Federation (KSF), should not be allowed to stand.

He had been the only candidate when the original election was due to be held on May 5 before they were called off at the last minute after a High Court injunction was obtained by the Kenyan Taekwondo Association (KTA), who had been barred from participating.

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