Probe report exposes Team Kenya Rio 2016 ‘Game of Greed’


Sports Cabinet Secretary Dr. Hassan Wario (centre) receives the final report into the probe he ...
Sports Cabinet Secretary Dr. Hassan Wario (centre) receives the final report into the probe he ordered on the Rio 2016 Olympics Games fiasco from committee members led by their chairman, Paul Ochieng, in his office on October 28, 2016. PHOTO/Courtesy

The full 90-page Rio 2016 Probe Committee report exposes how National Olympics Committee-Kenya (Nock) and Ministry of Sports, Arts and Culture officials played the ‘Game of Greed’ with Team Kenya in the Summer Games in Brazil.

According to the yet to be officially released document in possession of Citizen Digital, the officials trusted with the welfare of the 89 patriotic Kenyans who participated at the 31st edition of the quadrennial Games colluded to steal money, mistreat athletes and plunder kit meant for the group that brought Kenya her best ever Olympics performance of six gold, six silver and a bronze.

Local corporate giants Kenya Breweries and Safaricom who were Diamond (Ksh21m and above) and Bronze (Ksh5m and above) sponsors in that order were forced to withhold part of their packages after the Rio 2016 scandal exploded according to the report.

“KBL wrote to Nock lawyers suspending the disbursement of the last installments until the fate of Nock is determined conclusively,” the committee states.

Before the scandal, the beer manufacturer through their Tusker brand had transferred Ksh10,750,000 to Nock from their Ksh21m sponsorship with the final balance of Ksh5.25m scheduled to be paid on September 1 together with the Ksh839,456 remaining from the sale of the special edition of the lager produced to mark the Olympics that raised Ksh3,839,456.

On their part, Safaricom were to host Team Kenya to farewell and reception dinners and offered Ksh5,000,000 to the Olympics and Paralympics teams only for them to learn through social media the first batch had departed for Rio on July 24 without any notification from Nock.

It was basically a free for all to siphon cash with chaotic planning for the 14th Olympics Kenya providing a fertile breeding ground for looting without abandon.

The report appears to shift most of the blame of the mess at the Ministry level on the doorstep of Principal Secretary, Dr. Richard Ekai who is listed as the chairman of the Steering Committee for Rio 2016, the body that was mandate to provide support, drive policy and maintain an oversight of all Olympics preparation sub-committees in Kenya.

“As we deliver this report, we would like to apologise, on behalf of Kenyans, to the nation’s sportsmen and women who, over the years, have been failed and let down by our nation’s sports managers and other leaders,” part of the forward on the report states.

On the Steering Committee it outlines, there was no official list of members; representatives of the various sports bodies involved in the planning of the Games kept changing.

It was also; “Budgeted to meet 12 times but only met thrice March 30, April 28 and July 15 where two were shared by Cabinet Secretary Dr. Hassan Wario.

“The lack of regular meetings inconvenienced various committees having to meet with the Principal Secretary Dr. Richard Ekai in person for consultations and policy direction that could otherwise have been deliberated upon regular committee meetings.

“Some members felt that the reason why the Steering Committee was ineffective was because it lacked proper working procedures and guidelines and it lacked good representation from the various stakeholders. For instance, there was no representation from various federations that had qualified to send athletes to the Games.”

-Sharply divided-

The report also details how a sharply divided Nock helped to fuel the scandal widely known as Fiasco in Rio following the expose by the same name that aired on Citizen TV in September.

“Two of the Nock members, Fridah Shiroya and Resham Bains were sent back home early before the Games ended to ‘create room’ for Government officials, a move that annoyed both of them and split Nock

Following earlier revelations that the 330 tickets purchased for the Brazil trip were inflated by Ksh88,611,480 (USD869,596.81) by the Ministry through the Green Bay Travel Limited, the Probe Committee recommends that police and the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission should step in to investigate.

It calls for Vincent Kinyili Paul who is the son of Nock Secretary General Francis Kinyili Paul who travelled to Rio to refund the ticket money since he was neither an athlete nor a Team Kenya official.

Further, it outlines that Patrick Kimathi who was the chief accounting officer for the Rio Games had an imprest of Ksh22, 540,800 to use for expenses in Brazil and he managed to save Ksh10,140,000 but could have used less had he not been compelled to pay for “Members of Parliament and other Government officials’ meals and competition venues gate fees”

“The MPs and GOK officials had been paid allowances and should not have been catered for by the imprest. This is an anomaly that should not happen at future games.”

According to its findings, a contingent of 88 officials including coaches, team managers, doctors, physiotherapists, nutritionists, Central Management Committee and Government travelled to Rio to mind the 89 participants with Team Kenya allocated 125 beds at the Olympics Village.

“The challenge for Nock was how to fit 88 officials; the only option was to have a rotational system where at any one time, there were 44 officials at the village. The following methods were introduced to aid the rotation of officials.

“Changing of flight dates from Nairobi and Rio for officials, some officials moving between rented apartments and the village depending on the need for their services from athletes and some officials being sent home early to create space for a new lot,” the report said.

The switching of 135 tickets as managers scrambled to fit the inflated numbers of officials in Rio cost the Government USD16,200 (Ksh1,681,341.75).

According to the report, 175 people were in the travel list for Rio 2016 Games that cost the Kenyan Government Ksh500m (USD4,906,795.42) with Nock catering for the rest of the Ksh583, 460, 966 budget.

Among those, four did not travel yet record indicate they drew overseas allowances including runners Boniface Mweresa, Kiprono Koskei and Thomas Longosiwa who were paid Ksh761,833 each, the amount set aside for all competing athletes at the games.

The report hails Ministry official, Maurine Mutuku who received Ksh960,000 but has since returned the money to the Government after falling ill on the eve of departure and failing to make it to Brazil.

According to the findings of the committee, the amount set aside for bonuses payable to athlete and their officials was way above what the Salaries and Remunerations Commission recommends.

Seven athletes including Rio gold winners, David Rudisha (men 800m), Eliud Kipchoge (men marathon) and Faith Kipyegon (women 1500m) bought their own tickets; Mutuku cancelled hers while ministry official, Harun Komen travelled with the Paralympics team.

The probe team could not establish the whether the monies paid for the unused tickets was refunded or not.

With three Nock officials including Paul, first Vice-chairman Ben Ekumbo and second Vice-chairman Paul Ochieng facing charges related to theft of kit meant for Team Kenya from sponsors Nike, the committee outlines how the athletes were short changed.

It states that 80 athletes received 14 pieces of kit out of the allocated total items of 27 (men) and 30 (women) according to the figures from Nock while Nike maintained with proof it delivered 41 pieces for men and 47 for women.

Some of the pilfered kit has been found in police raids at the offices of Nock and the homes of some of the accused officials.

The Probe Committee was appointed by Wario on August 31, 2016 and came to force through a Kenya Gazette Notice number 7176 of September 9, 2016.

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Story By Mutwiri Mutuota
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