Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Culture and the Arts Hassan Wario has again distanced himself from the mess that rocked the Kenyan team to the Rio Olympic Games,insists.
While addressing the Labour and Social Welfare Committee at County Hall on Tuesday, Wario stressed that it was the National Olympic Committee of Kenya, NOCK, through its top officials shortchanged the athletes during the games.
This was in terms of uniforms, ticketing and matters of accreditation.
"The Olympic Charter is clear.NOCK was in charge of the team. We as the ministry acted as a supportive body. NOCK had signed an agreement with Nike Company and the ministry was not informed on the details.
"I spoke with Chef de Mission Stephen Soi who assured me that the kits would be distributed. However, in Rio things changed and Nike Director John Capriotti even teased that in future they may be forced to distribute the kits themselves," he said.
Wario remained firm on his position of disbanding NOCK and hopes that dialogue with the International Olympic Committee, IOC, would bear an amicable solution to the issues.
"NOCK is independent and autonomous. However, NOCk is not above the law. It must be guided by the Constitution of Kenya, Sports Act and all other relevant legal statutes. We have been in contact with IOC and hopefully a meeting can materialise in the next few weeks to realign the NOCK constitution with the Sports Act."
Team Kenya Captain to the Olympic Games Wesley Korir, who is also a member of the committee, brought about the issue of payment of athletes.
The Cherangany Member of Parliament pointed out 5000m specialist Isaac Koech in particular who was turned away from the ministry's offices on Tuesday upon seeking the allowances owed to him.
Korir also disputed Wario's stance on the allegations that some athletes were forced to set up in the slum areas commonly known as 'Favelas'.
Korir said that he had first hand experience in the 'favelas', an area prone to gang wars and inhabited by mosquitoes.
Ministry failed to provide leadership
In response, Principal Secretary Ministry of Sports Richard Ekai said, "150 million Kenya Shillings was paid in terms of allowances-see the breakdown below.
Our records show that the said athlete was paid. However, the online banking system we used to pay athletes had some errors.
We have the money and we will pay those individual cases." a confident Ekai concluded. Uriri MP John Kobado who was part of the travelling party termed the Rio fiasco as a "stinking mess".
He said that the ministry was to provide leadership while NOCK’s role was management. Kobado urged Wario to step down as investigations continue.
Wario is set to appear before the committee at a later date once the committee has established further ground on the matter.
Budget provided by CS
Ministry of Sports Budget for Rio Olympics - Ksh.584 million
Contribution by NOCK- Ksh. 84 million
Contribution by Government- Ksh. 500 million
Total expenditure by Government- Ksh. 357 million
Total allowances per athlete- Ksh. 700,000
Emergency funds - Ksh. 29 million(given by Ministry of Sports to Chef de Mission Stephen Soi for the Rio Olympics).