Kenya defends dissolution of Olympic Committee

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Kenya athletes edited

By Olawale Alabi

Kenya’s Sports Minister, Hassan Wario on Monday defended his decision to dissolve the country’s National Olympic Committee over the “Rio fiasco” scandal.

He also maintained that he would not reverse the decision to disband the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) over the raging controversy.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that this is in spite of fears of an imminent ban from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) over orders to dissolve it last week.

Senior NOCK officials are currently being investigated —- and could face criminal charges —-  over alleged mismanagement of Kenya’s Olympic team and officials during the Rio Olympics.

Wario said an eight-member team would also look into the allegations.

Complaints ranged from problems with accreditation and transportation to missing kit and trouble with accommodation.

As part of the investigation, police raided the NOCK headquarters and found cartons containing kits meant for athletes.

However, athletics boss Jackson Tuwei has warned that the decision to disband NOCK could affect the country’s reputation after registering good results at the just-ended Olympics.

In a separate interview, retired athlete and NOCK President Kipchoge Keino raised similar concerns.

Kenya is expected to send a delegation to IOC headquarters in a fortnight to defend its decision.

A BBC report on Monday evening said the two arrested Kenyan Olympic officials have been granted bail after appearing in court.

Francis Paul, the secretary-general of NOCK, Pius Ochieng, Nock’s vice chairman, and a third man, Stephen Soi, are being investigated for theft, neglect of duty and abuse of office.

The BCC report said all the accused officials have so far made no comment.

BBC said the bail for Mr Paul and Mr Ochieng was set at $2,000 (£1,530) while Mr Soi had already been released from police custody for medical reasons and his bail will be set on Wednesday.

The charges against them have not been finalised and the police have a further 21 days to investigate before the accussed next appearance in court.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the alleged mismanagement is one of the Olympic teams are some of the many controversies that had trailed countries’ participation in the just concluded Rio Games.

NAN recalls that even he Nigerian team’s participation at the Rio Games was blighted by allegations of poor coordination among others.

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