Former Sports Cabinet secretary Hassan Wario and two others were on Friday released on a Sh1 million cash bail each, after pleading not guilty to different counts arising from the 2016 Rio Olympics Sh55 million scandal.
Wario, who is Kenya’s Ambassador to Austria, denied six charges related to corruption and abuse of office when he was arraigned before Nairobi Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti at the Milimani Law courts.
The former CS was charged alongside two other former sports officials Haron Komen, who served as Director of Administration and Patrick Nkabu who was in charge of finance.
Wario denied that he used his office improperly to confer a benefit of Sh1.5 million to Adam Omar and Sh918,931 to communication officer at the ministry Richard Abura by including them in the Rio delegation
According to the Section 62 of the Anti-Corruption and Economics crimes Act a public officer who is charged with corruption or economic crime shall be suspended, at half pay, with effect from the date of the charge.
This means that Wario will henceforth be receiving a half pay with the full amount of any allowances and will cease to be suspended if the proceedings against him are discontinued or if he is acquitted.
The former CS arrived in court some few minutes before 8.30 as earlier directed by the court escorted by police officers. During the court session Wario and his co-accused appeared calm as they pleaded to the charges read to him by the court clerk and when others matters relating to the case were being canvassed.
Wario is the first former Cabinet Secretary to be charged in the graft war following recommendation by Director of public prosecutions Noordin Haji.
He asked the court to release his passport to allow him return to Austria to carry out his ambassadorial duties pending the pre-trial conference in November 22, but the prosecution said he stands suspended after taking plea.
Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Emily Kamau opposed a request by Wario’s lawyer Rodgers Kamau to have him allowed to have his passport so he could travel for official duties saying they will do so formally once they get responses form the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the issue of Wario duties in Austria.
According to the prosecution, the court should give directions on the request only after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issues a clear position on whether Wario can travel out of the country for official duty.
Athletics legend Kipchoge Keino was not in court but his lawyer Cecil Miller told the court his client was given a free bond to enable the prosecution review issues he raised in a letter he wrote to the DPP Noordin Haji showing he was not directly responsible in signing any documents.