Sports Minister Hassan Wario and his Principal Secretary Titus Ekai will face corruption charges in connection with the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games scandal.
Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko has recommended that Dr Wario and Mr Ekai be charged with abuse of office over the loss of close to Sh200 million relating to the Olympic Games in August last year.
Should the duo be charged, they will be forced to step aside until they clear their names in the same manner several Cabinet and Principal secretaries were shoved aside after being accused of corruption by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) in March 2016.
They included Davies Chirchir, Michael Kamau, Charity Ngilu, Kambi Kazungu, Felix Koskei, Francis Kimemia and Mutea Iringo. Their cases are still pending in court.
Also to be charged over the scandal is the Director of Administration in the Sports ministry, Haron Komen Chebet.
“The persons who should bear the greatest criminal culpability for authorising (or) approving the unlawful payments are the following; Dr Hassan Wario Arero — CS, Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts (because he) chaired the Steering Committee meeting (in) which the budget was presented, (and) which had allowances which exceeded the SRC guidelines,” reads a letter from Mr Tobiko to the Director of Criminal Investigations (CID) Ndegwa Muhoro, dated January 12 this year.
ALLOWANCES EXCEEDED GUIDELINES
Mr Tobiko also recommends the prosecution of Mr Ekai for failing to point out that allowances paid to athletes who participated in the Olympic Games exceeded guidelines set by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC).
Mr Ekai is the accounting officer at the Ministry “and having attended the Steering Committee meeting, he should have pointed out and informed that the allowances exceeded SRC guidelines”, recommends Mr Tobiko to Mr Muhoro.
Also to face charges is the director of administration at the ministry, Mr Haron Chebet, who, as the holder of the Authority to Incur Expenditure (AIE), failed to advise that the payments of allowances be stopped because they exceeded the SRC guidelines.
On the spot are top Sports ministry and National Olympics Committee–Kenya (Nock) officials over the alleged overpayment of allowances to athletes and the officials of the Games’ Central Management Committee amounting to Sh15.9 million.
Evidence also suggests that six unauthorised persons were included in the Kenyan contingent to the Rio games.
“In the inquiry file it is alleged that Dr Wario... directed that six persons, namely Monica S Sairo, Richard Abura, Kerich Eunice, Singh James Gitau, Njuguna Samuel and Adan Omar Enow, who were not in the list approved by the steering committee, be included as part of the Kenya delegation, causing the ministry to incur additional cost of Sh2,990,286 on air tickets and Sh3,600,000 on allowances,” the DPP writes.
He directs that four of the six joyriders who have yet to record statements explaining how they ended up on the Kenyan contingent do so, and also that the Supply Chain Management Officer at the ministry, Mr Duncan Vincent Ashubwe, who forwarded the names of the six joyriders to the travel agency for the issuance of air tickets, explains why and on whose directives he was working.
Mr Tobiko further says that there is evidence to prove that a number of persons received allowances even though they did not travel to Brazil for the games, and directs that the matter be investigated.
Also under investigation was the alleged irregular procurement of a contract for the provision of air tickets at the cost of Sh154.5 million which was then paid to a tour firm, Greenbay Travels Ltd. The procurement led to the excess cost of Sh59 million in air tickets, according to Mr Tobiko. The DCI also investigated the procurement of air tickets amounting to Sh16.8 million which were never utilised.
Also under investigation were the cancellation, variation or even withdrawal of air tickets to the games, the utilisation of imprest amounting to Sh22.5 million received by one Kimathi Nkabu, the Finance officer at the ministry, and the payment of Sh840,000 to journalists who covered the games under unclear circumstances.
The investigations by Mr Muhoro’s team revealed that a total of 87 athletes were paid a daily allowance of $250 (about Sh25,000) for the period of 30 days they were in the Brazilian capital, against SRC’s ceiling of $200 (Sh20,000).
Members of the team’s Central Management committee were paid $350 (Sh35,000) per day against SRC’s recommendation of $300 (Sh30,000) per day. The total unlawful overpayment made amounted to $151,500, equivalent to Sh15 million.
- Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario (right) and his Principal Secretary Titus Ekai when they appeared before the National Assembly’s Labour and Social Welfare Committee in September last year. They both face prosecution over the mismanagement of Kenya’s Rio Olympics funds.