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Once ambitious multimillion shilling project hangs by the thread

It was touted as the biggest investment ever by the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (Noc-k) until other matters within the federation took toll on its progress.

As ambitious as it was to be, Noc-k had moved from a single room office on Koinange Street, to Ufundi Plaza on Moi Avenue in a full cycle before perching on Mombasa Road as progressive years saw the country’s Olympic body grow in stature, money and influence across the country’s socio-economic sphere.

The billion-shilling Noc-k headquarters in the fast-growing Upper Hill business hub could have ensured that the umbrella association finally got its home and one to be proud of and a financial muscle to boot.

But, things took a turn, for the worse. There are chances that the land, the building it should have sat on are all in an abeyance and the future looks bleak.

From the 2016 Rio Olympics debacle that saw the accounts frozen, things spiralled as costs escalated and many others followed, painting a ghastly picture, shrouding any success the officials had dreamt of.

Things did not start in 2016, they must have started earlier on, considering that Noc-k, then under legendary Kipchoge Keino had not remitted their seed investment of Sh400 million for the project as part of their commitment.

A former official says they relied more on goodwill than cash they held at the bank when they came up with the idea to put up their own building, something that could have boosted the coffers through rent from corporates, government and businesses.

“I don’t think there will be a full execution of the project. Things have not been good for us. It is one of those projects that might end up being a white elephant if it will be complete. We are not even competing against time, we are competing with other complex issues that are not fathomable in a building process,” says an official.

Noc-k announced the formation of Building and Property Committee with more members to help it out, naming, among others, leading architect Reginald Okumu of Kenya Swimming Federation, Alfred Sumba (Tae Kwondo) and Peter Muchiri (badminton) in the committee headed by Waithaka Kioni of Kenya Volleyball Federation (KVF).

One of the members told People Sport salvaging the project is hard, but possible. Another piece of land owned by the association on Langata Road, close to Carnivore Restaurant is a matter currently in court.

“The future is bleak. Chances are the land might end up being lost. Chances of it being salvaged are not there and unless something drastic happens, we should close this chapter.

The honest nature of all this is it might never materialise,” says an affiliate association chairman.

Construction began in 2012 and was scheduled for completion three years ago, but work stalled and Noc-k owes financiers and contractors Sh800 million, but, it is far from what any sensible person in the country could have thought of.

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