Lawyer seeks to have Kenyan officials charged over Rio 2016 scandal
Nairobi, Feb 2 (IANS) A Kenyan lawyer is seeking to have officials from the country’s sports ministry charged over the Rio 2016 Olympics scandal that saw money and kit belonging to their team stolen or misappropriated.
Edward Rombo, who is representing one of the four National Olympic Committee-Kenya (NOCK) officials facing charges over the fiasco, said late Tuesday it would be an “awkward situation” if the Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario and his senior officers at the ministry are also brought to court, reports Xinhua.
The lawyer was speaking outside a Nairobi court on Wednesday where his client Pius Ochieng (Second Vice-chairman) and his co-accused, Ben Ekumbo (First Vice-chairman), Francis Kinyili Paul (Secretary) and Stephen arap Soi (Chef-de-Mission, Team Kenya for Rio 2016) appeared in court to take plea after their cases were consolidated by the State.
The NOCK bosses denied seven charges related to conspiracy to steal, stealing by agent, stealing and fraudulent appropriation of games kit before Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi.
Andayi rejected the plea by Ekumbo’s lawyer Silvester Nyamberi, who opposed the consolidation of his case with those of his colleagues at the under fire national Olympics body ruling there was no breach of law.
“We are very curious to know who the complainant (s) in this case was or were. We are aware that the Cabinet Secretary is allegedly the one who instigated the investigations and the arrest of the accused by complaining to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to deal with matters of administration of sports in Rio,” Rombo said.
“So we are likely to have a ridiculous situation where by the complaint is also arraigned in court alongside the accused. This is a very awkward situation,” he said.
Kenya’s Director of Public Prosecutions advised the DCI in a letter dated Jan. 12 to charge the minister alongside his Principal Secretary Richard Ekai and Administration Director Haron Koech over their role in the misappropriation of millions meant for Team Kenya at the Olympics.