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Kenya charges another sports official over Rio Olympics fiasco

01 September 2016, 22:48

Nairobi (Xinhua) -- Another official of the disbanded National Olympics Committee Kenya (Nock) appeared in court on Wednesday and was later released on bail in the ongoing crackdown against those responsible for the country's team mess at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

Nock Treasurer, Fridah Bilha Mulwale Shiroya was released on a cash bail of 2,000 U.S. dollars after being arrested and placed in custody on Tuesday night as her colleague and Kenya's Chef-de-Mission to Rio Olympics, Stephen arap Soi, failed to show in court for a second time due to illness.

At the same time, the National Police Service Commission (NPSC) said in a statement that Soi was no longer a serving officer having attained his mandatory retirement age as the force moved to distance itself with the man accused to be the main architect of the fiasco that has sparked country wide outrage.

Soi and Shiroya along two other officials, Nock first vice-chairman, Pius Ochieng and secretary general, Francis K Paul are facing charges related to mistreatment of the country's athletes in Brazil, accreditation of scores of joy riders and theft of official team kit from American sponsors Nike.

Shiroya appeared before a Nairobi Senior Principal Magistrate; Charity Oluoch who directed her to report to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) on Thursday and twice every week for the next 19 days when her next mention is due after turning down the prosecution's appeal to detain her for 21 days.

She was also directed to deposit her passport to the court as the prosecution was granted a warrant to search her shop in Nairobi that investigators believe some of the kit alleged to have been pinched from Team Kenya is being stored for sale.

In an affidavit, Police Constable Joseph Owenga said that a search is yet to be conducted at the offices of the respondent and her shop where they believe part of the missing kit found its way for sale with competitors getting a fraction of what they were entitled to.

"A team of investigators are conducting investigations in relation to possible offences of theft especially of kit for the Kenyan Team to Rio, abuse of office and neglect of duty and investigations will include other Government Agencies," Duncan Ondimu prosecuting told court.

The magistrate declined to issue a warrant of arrest to embattled Chef-de-Mission, Soi after he failed to appear in person for the second day after missing court on Monday where he was scheduled to be charged alongside Paul and Ochieng who were also released on a 2,000 dollars bail.

Lawyers representing Soi were directed to table a medical report before the court on Thursday afternoon after the State applied for a warrant of arrest against him when they argued that the Nairobi Hospital he is said to be admitted declined to disclose whether or not he was hospitalised at the facility.

Earlier, the National Police Service Commission (NPSC), the body charged with vetting, recruitment and service terms of Kenya's police said Soi was not part of the force.

The communication said Soi was among 59 officers who had initially been dismissed by the former Police Commissioner in 2004 before they moved to court to challenge their removal and where it ruled in their favor and they were reinstated.

"After the matter was arraigned in court, the commission in compliance with the court order reinstated the 59 officers in 2013," a section of the statement read.

"To see him back to service, the Commission conducted a vetting exercise on Soi as required by its regulations. However, after the vetting exercise, the Commission found him unsuitable on grounds that he was insincere," NPSC said.

"During Soi's vetting, they also noted that the officer is temperamental and inconsistent in character, given his conduct in the incident where he assaulted a police constable, which is not in consonance with police discipline," the damning verdict added.

This conduct, according to NPSC, portrayed an officer steeped in impunity.

The statement adds that the commission also analysed records in the officer's file of promotion being stood over which is further evidence of his unbecoming behavior.

- Xinhua


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