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Kenya allegedly paid millions for free kit

Derek Otieno and Agencies @Peoplesport11

A copy of American sports apparel giant Nike’s contract with National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) suggests Sh18, 562,500 (USD183, 585.91) was set aside to fraudulently pay kit for the country’s team for the Rio 2016 Olympics that was provided for free, multiple sources reported yesterday.

But in a rejoinder, NOCK senior officials said that the deal was clean and there was no underhand dealing in the contract. “This is a contract between two independent bodies and there is nothing wrong at all. As in any contract, the contract figures are meant to increase with time and this is one such deal.

It is not static and any insinuations should be removed from the same,” said the NOCK official yesterday. A representative of the American apparel giant in Nairobi yesterday declined to comment on the contract, insisting the whole thing can only be handled from the headquarters in Oregon.

The contract was handed to the National Assembly Labour Commitee last week and a member released it to the public over the weekend. However, member of NOCK were up in arms after the release, terming it churlish and against norms to release a contract without direct permission of the signees.

The contract agreement signed between Nock and Nike on January 1, 2013 that details the firm would pay USD715, 000 per annum (Sh72.358m) to the national Olympics until this year.

The amount is set to be increased to USD740, 000 (Ksh74. 888m) from next year to December 31, 2020 when the current deal lapses but the presence of Sh18, 562,500 in NOCK budget presented to the Ministry of Sports to buy kit set to be issued by the firm for the purposes of Rio 2016 Olympics raises the alarm.

Another questionable figure of Sh12, 068,800 was allocated for clearing the kit through customs as government taxes in NOCK budget for Rio 2016 with Nike outlining in their contract they would deduct monies owed to the American State as withholding taxes from their annual payout.

Rio 2016 Fiasco Nock officials; First Vice-Chairman, Pius Ochieng, Secretary General, Francis Paul, Treasurer Fridah Shiroya and Executive Officer, Stephen arap Soi who was also Team Kenya’s Chef-de-Mission to the Olympics have been charged following what has become known as the Rio 2016 Fiasco.

The NOCK officials including chairman, Kipchoge Keino, who signed the Nike deal on behalf of the body have also appeared before the Parliamentary Select Committee on Labour and Social Welfare to explain their role in the scam that blighted Kenya’s best Olympics performance in Brazil where the nation won six gold, six silver and a bronze.

According to Nike, 19,000 pieces of kit were to be provided to the team and officials travelling to Rio but reports indicate the athletes were short changed with the managers also accused of selling off the items illegally.

Athletics Kenya Eastern Branch vice-chairman, Ainsworth Maragaraga is facing charges of being found with the team’s Nike kit worth Sh300,000 while the missing items form one of the counts in the cases facing the NOCK officials.

In a meeting that was held by the National Steering Committee to plan for Rio 2016 Olympics and Paralympics games on July 15 chaired by Sports CS, Hassan Wario Sh18,562,500 million was set aside to purchase training and competitions kit, which includes tracksuits, bags and competition uniform.

A further Sh12, 068,800 million was allocated for government taxes to bring the total cost related to procuring and clearing the kit to Sh30, 631,300.

“In further consideration for the rights granted to Nike under this agreement, Nike shall supply to NOCK, at no cost to NOCK, such quantities of Nike Products as NOCK may reasonably request, up to a maximum amount of USD520,000 (Sh52,593,840.00) retail per contract year for athletes and team delegation members use in National team competition and NOC activities.

“NOCK and Nike acknowledge that the supplied Product Allotment is intended to meet all of NOCK annual product needs and is sufficient to appropriately outfit athletes together with team delegation members with such products as may be needed for training, competition, Olympic Village wear, medal ceremonies, press conferences, community-relations activities and all other official activities where it would be appropriate for athletes or team delegation members to wear or use products and also during day-to-day activities or where they could be viewed by the public, photographed or filmed (for example, while attending as spectators at competitions involving other national teams or while participating in recreational activities such as basketball, football or golf) as it is a commercial benefit to Nike for the public to observe these displays of support for the Nike Brand,” the Nike contract reads. Nike gave a clear direction of how and when the uniforms are supposed to be ordered so that they can reach athletes on time.

“The exact styles, sizes, delivery dates and where appropriate, quantities of Nike products supplied pursuant to the Supplied Product Allotment, shall mutually determined by Nike and NOCK for each Contract Year.

“Only properly submitted orders from an authorised representative of NOCK shall be filled by Nike. NOCK acknowledges that annual Supplied Products Allotment must be ordered nine months in advance of the date that the product is needed to ensure timely delivery,” the firm outlines on the adequate notice period for kit to be prepared.

“In the event NOCK places orders to be delivered in less than nine months, Noc shall pay any additional costs incurred by Nike as a result of the expedited order. – Additional reporting from CITIZEN DIGITAL

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