Mystery of 25m carried by Soi in cash to Rio for 'accommodation'!

By ronnie evans
Sep 07, 2021
  • Stephen Arap Soi allegedly carried Ksh 25m in cash to Rio for accommodation. (Photo: SNA File)

Head of Team Kenya's delegation to Rio 2016 Olympics Stephen Soi insists that there must be collective responsibility to any problems that affected team Kenya as Government officials were the key members of the steering committee that was chaired by the Permanent Secretary.

Soi appeared before the Parliamentary Labour and Social Welfare Committee at Parliament Buildings on Wednesday alongside other National Olympic Committee of Kenya, NOCK, officials even as it emerged that the Ministry had wired Ksh.29 million shillings to the NOCK account without prompting.

From this allocation, Ksh.25 million was allegedly withdrawn and carried in cash to Rio for accommodation.

Sports News Arena has also established that investigators who arrested the NOCK officials Soi, Paul, Shiroya and the Vice president Pius Ochieng had sought to know how much money was withdrawn by the head of delegation and how it was expended.

There are claims that some of the money could have been ended up in the pockets of some NOCK and Ministry officials.

"Yes NOCK was responsible for preparation of athletes but when it came to the foreign engagement it was the duty of the ministry.

"In my view if there was mismanagement then it would be right from the Steering Committee that was chaired Cabinet Secretary,” Soi argued.

The Cabinet Secretary for Sports Hassan Wario constituted the National Steering Committee, a body tasked with overseeing all matters pertaining to the Rio Olympics Games on February 2, 2016.

NOCK Secretary General Francis Paul turned the heat on his NOCK counterpart Soi and also blamed the government constituted Steering Committee for some of the critical decisions made.

"The Steering Committee did not meet as regularly as it was supposed to. It is not an issue of NOCK alone.

"Some of the key decisions made were between the CS and Chef De Mission. For instance, the list of the entire contingent was only availed to the board two days before competition."

Paul also questioned the ministry's decision to wire Ksh. 29 million shilling to NOCK's account Ksh 4 million of which was to be used for health insurance while Ksh. 25 million was to cater for accommodation.

He said the ministry forced the transfer instead of taking charge of the related payments. He also took a jibe Soi by stating that the NOCK board did not request for the money.

Paul along with NOCK Treasurer Fridah Shiroya were the signatories who signed off the cash to Soi who later carried Ksh. 25 million in US dollars to Rio.

Joyriders 

NOCK President Kipchoge Keino said that the ministry had side stepped them before when they sourced for funding to prepare the various teams for Rio qualification. Keino also revealed to the committee that this type of situation was all too familiar.

"The eight-member team that participated in the Youth Commonwealth Games in Samoa brought home seven medals. We had approached the ministry to help us in terms of funding in order to take more athletes but to no avail. Even when the team came back the ministry did not recognize them," he added.

On the issue of controversial paid tickets meant for people deemed as joyriders, Soi said that Kipchoge Keino's ticket along with his son Ian Keino's were funded by the International Olympic Committee.

Soi's spouse Juliet Soi apparently funded her own trip to celebrate his 60th birthday on August 22.

The three-hour session brought about more questions with issues still being raised so Chairman David Were adjourning the meeting to Thursday afternoon.

State House denies claims

As more allegations were made, Manoah Esipisu, the State House Spokesman denied the accommodation claims. The statement read:

"State House rejects claims by the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) associating the President with rooms it booked but did not use during the Rio Olympics.

"Foreign travel for His Excellency the President is arranged solely by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. At no time does the ministry delegate that function to any other government department or agency.

"For the record, the President himself had publicly announced that he would not travel to the Olympics. It is curious as to why an agency not authorised to arrange his travel would purport to take on that role.

The President expects that this matter will be investigated and those culpable held to account."

Soi had sensationally claimed when he first appeared before the committee on Tuesday that as the head of the delegation he had been tasked to book accomodation for Government officials. He alleged that he had made reservations totalling to Ksh. 2.1 million to book hotel rooms on a cruise ship for the President, Warioa and other officials most of which were never occupied.