Charges against Kipchoge Keino likely to be withdrawn

 

Former Kenyan Olympic chief Kipchoge Keino may not plead to charges of corruption related to the 2016 Rio Olympics, despite surrendering to the police.

Instead, the 78-year-old former champion will likely help police and prosecution in their case against the other officials in the mismanagement of more than Sh55 million ($545,000), according to Nation sources.

On Thursday, Mr Kipchoge, former Sports minister Hassan Wario together with former director of administration Haron Komen and former finance officer Patrick Kimithi Nkabu were questioned at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations Headquarters for more than 10 hours.

The four turned themselves in as early as 5.30am in a bid to beat the Anti-Corruption Court’s deadline issued on Monday, and avert arrest.

Mr Douglas Ogoti, the magistrate, on Monday, directed them to present themselves before the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) by 6 am.

MISUSE

But after hours of grilling in the presence of lawyer Cecil Miller and analysis of evidence, detectives resolved not to charge Mr Keino, according to the sources.

The other three are expected in court this morning. Mr Keino, a two-time Olympic gold medallist, had been implicated alongside five former government and national Olympic committee officials in misappropriation of funds.

Three of the officials appeared in court on Monday, but Mr Keino was away on official business in Mexico.

Mr Keino is however supposed to appear in court as per the directions of Mr Ogoti that he presents himself at 8.30am.

He is meant to plead to charges of misappropriating a total of Sh18 million. Among the charges facing him are that he gave his son, Ian Keino, Sh2.4 million to attend the Rio games, being payment of air tickets and allowances.

BLAMELESS

In a statement after the arrest of the former officials, Mr Keino, who had last week been taking part in an awards ceremony in honour of the heroes of the 1968 Olympics, defended himself saying that he was not a signatory when the money was paid.

"My role as the chairman of the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) was to make sure that the teams were catered for during their preparations for the Rio Olympic Games," Mr Kipchoge told AFP.

Mr Wario did not appear in court with the rest because he was away in Vienna, where he is serving as Kenyan envoy to Austria.

He arrived from Vienna on Wednesday evening ahead of the grilling at the DCI.

He is accused of abuse of office by improperly conferring benefits amounting to over Sh5.9 million to various people among them lawyer James Gitau Singh, Adan Omar Enow, Richard Abura, Eunice Kerich, Samuel Njuguna, Monica Nkina Sairo among others, to attend the games in Brazil.

He allegedly conferred a benefit of Sh1,506,391 each to Mr Adan Omar Enow and James Gitau Singh.

BAIL

Mr Richard Bura and Ms Monica Sairo were allegedly paid Sh918,391 each while Eunice Kerich and Samuel Njuguna got Sh498,391 each.

Mr Nkabu is accused of failing to comply with guidelines on the management of public funds that led to misuse of Sh22,540,800 while Mr Komen allegedly authorized unlawful payment in excess of $151,500 (Sh15.3 million) as allowances to the members of the Kenyan team.

On Monday, Kenya's Ambassador to Russia as well as former Sports Principal Secretary Richard Titus Ekai, together with ex-NOCK officials Stephen Kiptanui arap Soi and Francis Kinyili Paul, were charged over the Rio scandal.

They were freed on a Sh1 million cash bail and a personal bond of the same amount.

The court ordered that all the accused persons surrender their passports but are at liberty to apply for them if need be.

The court also ordered that should any of them present any sureties intended to be used to secure their freedom pending trial, they should be verified by the DCI.

This article was originally posted by DAILY NATION on October 19, 2018.