The conviction of former Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario and Stephen arap Soi, who was the head of delegation of Team Kenya in the 2016 Olympic Games, for abuse of office, should serve as a strong warning that local sports administrators involved in malpractices will not go scot-free.
On September 16, Anti-Corruption Court Chief Magistrate Elizabeth Juma fined Wario Sh3.5 million with the option of a six-year jail term for abuse of office in relation to the Sh55 million 2016 Olympics scandal. Wario was found guilty of tabling an exaggerated budget of Sh598 million to the government instead of Sh500 million.
The court slapped Soi with a fine of more than Sh115 million with the option of a 17-year jail term after he was found guilty of abuse of office and wilful failure to comply with applicable procedures and guidelines relating to management of public funds.
Although the cases took long to conclude, the convictions offer hope that corrupt sports officials will not escape justice. Once elected to their positions, some local sports administrators have gone on to mismanage local federations.
The Kenya Swimming Federation, the Kenya Cycling Association, the Kenya Badminton Association and Cricket Kenya officials are currently embroiled in wrangles that have affected the performance of the national team and denied players an opportunity to earn an income from their talents.
Mismanagement of funds meant for talent development and building of sporting infrastructure is also rife.
To date, Football Kenya Federation has failed to account for Sh244 million provided by the government to facilitate the national football team’s preparations for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
There is hope for Cricket Kenya following the appointment of a normalisation committee that has come up with a new constitution that will guide the election of new officials. The Kenya Taekwondo Association has also resolved leadership wrangles and is back on solid ground.
Be it in football or cricket, local sports administrators must realise that the long arm of the law will catch up with them, even in retirement.