Kenya’s envoy in Austria, Hassan Wario and his Russia counterpart Richard Ekai are among six suspects who are expected to be arraigned today to answer to charges of massive embezzlement of funds meant for Team Kenya during the 2016 Rio Olympics Games in Brazil.
However, it is still not clear as to whether the court will defer the trial considering that only Ekai amongst the suspects has been arrested so far.
Besides Ekai, others who have been implicated in the scandal include former finance officer in the Ministry of Sports, Patrick Kimathi Nkabu, former National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) president Kipchoge Keino, former Director of Administration in the ministry of Sports, Harun Komen, ex-NOCK secretary Francis Kinyili (FK) Paul and Stephen arap Soi who was Team Kenya’s Chef De Mission in Rio.
Newly-appointed Kenyan ambassador to Russia Ekai was arrested and is detained at Gigiri Police Station while Soi was arrested on Friday evening and questioned for the better part of Saturday.
Soi, who sources say could become a prosecution witness to testify against his former colleagues when the case kicks off, has exonerated himself from blame and especially on issues touching on allowances and ticketing where anomalies were noticed.
He said the contentious issue of the alleged inflated $250 (Sh25,000) per day instead of $200 (Sh20,000) was effective from the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
“We have been paying US Dollars 250 per day and all the allowances paid was approved by the steering committee that was charged by the Cabinet Secretary (Dr Wario) and which was composed of 25 individuals,” said Soi.
He added: “I was not the procuring entity and if there is a genuine reason to prosecute, then the whole steering committee should be arraigned in court.”
He also said there was need to surcharge $1,500 (Sh150,000) that was paid to 80 athletes and the officials and that those who did not utilise their tickets other than the procured ones.
Detectives ordered Wario to present himself to them or risk a warrant of arrest being issued against him even as a search was mounted for the rest of the suspects.
Police sources indicated that summons had already been sent to Wario to surrender pending the charges.
The Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) George Kinoti confirmed Ekai’s arrest but clarified that he was the one who presented himself to police following order issued earlier in the day.
“Richard Titus Ekai, former PS, has just been arrested,” Mr Kinoti stated in a text message. Reports later emerged that FK Paul also presented himself to the detectives while Kipchoge Keino is out of the country.
The development comes in the wake of orders issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) that the six suspects be arrested and arraigned for allegedly embezzling Sh55 million out of the Sh 544 million, the government dished out to facilitate athletes participation in the summer games.
DCI had receive a report in December 2016 from disgruntled Kenyan athletes on alleged mismanagement of millions of shillings meant for Team Kenya at the Olympics.
Among other allegations against the officials implicated in the scam including allowing joy-riders to attend the games by giving them tickets and allowances at the expense of athletes who did not get cash bonuses for their exploits in the Games.
The DCI undertook investigations, which established that various offences were committed in the manner in which the funds allocated for the Games were managed.
The statement stated that the officials embezzled Sh22.4 million, purchased air tickets worth Sh16.9 million, which were not utilised besides over-payment of allowances amounting to Sh15.9 million. They also incurred expenditure on unauthorized persons amounting to Sh6.6 million, Haji said.