PS Ekai ‘ready to step aside’ to prove innocence in Rio 2016 fiasco


PS Richard Ekai speaking to Citizen TV and Citizen Digital in his office in Nairobi ...
PS Richard Ekai speaking to Citizen TV and Citizen Digital in his office in Nairobi on November 29, 2016. PHOTO/Charity Wanja

Sports Principal Secretary, Ambassador Dr. Richard Ekai has declared that he is ready to do all it takes including stepping aside to prove his innocence over the Rio 2016 fiasco.

Ekai was reacting to the Rio 2016 Olympics Probe Committee Report that appeared to place most of the blame for the mess that plagued Team Kenya at the 31st edition of the Summer Games on his doormat as the chairman of the Select Committee.

Speaking to Citizen Digital and Citizen TV in his office on Tuesday, the chief accounting officer in the Department of Sport faulted the findings of the yet to be released report saying the buck should also stop with his boss, Cabinet Secretary Dr. Hassan Wario who chaired two of the three Steering Committee meetings ahead of the Games.

“I was not the chairman of the Steering Committee, I only stood in for the CS, we tried to have a number of meetings, and when you look at it, three have been quoted and in two of them the CS was actually the chairman and he should own up to the decisions that were made in those meetings.

“The way they are deducing the issues here; it says that the chairman of the Steering Committee should own up to what happened. The question is, who is the chairman in this committee? I carried out my duties as an assistant officer to the CS,” Ekai maintained in light of the findings of the committee appointed by Wario on August 31 to probe the Rio 2016 scandal.

“When you shift this to one particular person adding that I was organizing meetings separately or privately, then it looks suspicious.  I did my part, things had to be flowing,” Ekai emphasised.

The PS denied involvement with Green Bay Travel Limited, the company accused of over charging the Government for tickets to the Rio Olympics while acknowledging he signed the contract with them.

“Yes, I signed the contract with Green Bay to secure tickets.  It was a last minute thing. Considering the travel changes that were being made by the team and those travelling to Rio, the tickets should have been more expensive,” Ekai said in his defence.

 

The PS read witch-hunt in the Probe Committee report that appears to heap most of the blame for the Rio mess on his shoulders as he alluded to divisions among top officials in the ministry.

“The relationships in the Ministry are worrying to everybody including me. Because the moment the report was released, I should have been given a copy.  The fact that I have not been able to access the report to read it and prepare to defend myself raises eyebrows. I’m now being forced to read things in the newspapers.

“It is worrying that the selection of the Probe Committee was done while I was away on a Digital Literacy Programme in some school in Turkana County and even when the the report was being handed to the Minister, I was not informed and I have been asking for it since,” Ekai underscored.

He further denied declining to authorise payment of members of the Committee.

“During the probe investigations, I facilitated them in all ways I could. I only asked for the supporting documents so that I can justify their payments and the following day I saw reports in the papers saying that I had refused to pay the committee members,” the PS responded on the payment issue.

According to the Probe Committee report, the Government lost over Ksh88m shillings due to massively over-priced tickets to cater for the 175 members of Team Kenya who travelled to Brazil for the August Summer Games.

Besides the alleged ticketing scam, the report blamed the Steering Committee for shambolic preparations ahead of the Olympics and disorder when the team was in Rio as ministry and Nock officials colluded to siphon cash meant for the team.

 

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Story By Charity Wanja
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