Wario under fire over disbandment of NOCK
Blame game over who mismanaged the Rio 2016 Olympic Games held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil took centre stage when Sports, Arts and Culture Cabinet Secretary, Hassan Wario, appeared before the National Assembly Committee on Labour to shed light on his move to disband the National Olympics Committee of Kenya (NOC-K).
The CS absolved himself of any blame or wrong doing saying that he was not there to witness the alleged mismanagement of Team Kenya, troubles he says escalated after his departure and the subsequent closure of the Olympics Village.
He, however, justified his move to disband NOCK saying that he has the executive authority to deal with any organization that mismanages the Kenyan sporting industry.
“Under the Kenyan Constitution, the CS has executive authority to take action against any sporting organization for the public good,” said Wario.
“As per the moral law and ethics, it would be inadvisable to remain legalistic even when the situation or crisis at hand dictated otherwise. NOCK will never rectify themselves, they need a firm hand. It’s a body under the laws of Kenya and pretends to be invisible and independent.”
“While Nock was preparing for the Olympic Games, it did so under the steering committee constituted by MOSCA and at that point, it was acting as a public body.”
Responding to the question on the rsik the country is exposed to including a ban from the International Olympics Committee (IOC), he said that a correction is important.
“I’m aware of the risk of Kenya being suspended by the IOC and, thereby, potentially missing out on the attendant benefits of membership. However, to preclude such suspension, we are pleased to say that both Kenya and IOC have been in communication over this issue. The meeting between us will materialize within the next few days,” added Wario.
Members of Parliament, led by Cherangany MP Wesley Korir, however, did not agree with Wario even as details emerged that a member of Team Kenya, Isaiah Koech, had been sent away by the Ministry of Sports after claiming his due allowances.
“It is painful for me to sit here and say that the Ministry has paid athletes their dues, yet I have received a text message from Koech saying that he has been told to go to Sports Kenya to get his allowances. Every time I inform the Ministry, they always sing the same song of athletes giving them wrong bank details or none at all. I take upon myself to get the correct details and send them and still nothing is done,” said the seemingly angered MP.
Uriri MP, John Kobado threatened that the Labour Committee would take serious disciplinary actions against the CS if a proper report on the Olympic Games is not tabled.
“I was in Rio representing the committee, it was a mess. In terms of supply and demand, demand being the athletes gave us 13 medals which was great, supply being the role of the Ministry to oversee everything run smoothly by providing leadership. These reforms cannot be implemented immediately, he (Wario) should have given the time frame. I feel the Minister should have resigned when he landed in Kenya because he does not seem to take his work seriously. We are not seeing his delivery in the sports industry. So can he tell this Committee why we should not take serious disciplinary action against him,” said Kobado.
In his defense, Wario said that he took his work seriously and asked Sports Principal Secretary, Richard Agura, to answer on the issue of allowances.
“We have a detailed list of the allowances. We paid an allowance of 250 USD per day for the athletes. The issue of accommodation was on a different vote. On the issue of ticketing, we procured all ticket for the athletes and primary official. NOCK secured the route via Luanda. Julius Yego was among the athletes who had made their own travel arrangements and NOCK relayed the information and we had their tickets canceled. We even have the cancellation as evidence,” Agura responded.
The committee chair was also not spared by his fellow committee members who said he was not fit to oversee the inquiry as he was also a beneficiary of the Rio trip.
Kirinyaga Women Representative also asked the CS to give a breakdown of the one billion shillings set aside to reward the athletes.
The disbanded NOCK officials are also expected to appear before the committee Tuesday afternoon.
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