Rio mission boss had Sh25m on him

What you need to know:

  • State House spokesman Manoah Esipisu said the President’s foreign travel is handled by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and is never delegated.
  • Mr Esipisu said President Kenyatta had publicly announced he would not travel to the Olympics.
  • Mr Soi instructed that Nock president Kipchoge Keino and secretary-general Francis Kinyili Paul be paid Sh800,000 each.
  • Mr Soi said of the Sh25 million, he had Sh8 million left and would return it.

State House has rejected claims that millions of shillings were paid for rooms for President Uhuru Kenyatta and Sports CS Hassan Wario, which were never used, as it emerged that the man who headed the Kenyan team to the Olympics left for Brazil awash with cash.

In a statement, State House spokesman Manoah Esipisu said the President’s foreign travel is handled by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and is never delegated.

“State House rejects claims by Nock associating the President with rooms it booked but did not use at the Rio Olympics,” he said.

Mr Esipisu said President Kenyatta had publicly announced he would not travel to the Olympics.

And Parliament’s Labour and Social Welfare Committee on Wednesday heard that chief of mission Stephen arap Soi travelled to Rio with Sh25 million from a transaction that has raised the eyebrows of other officials of the disbanded National Olympics Committee.

Mr Soi told the committee that the money came from the Sports ministry through Sports Kenya. He said he requested the money to pay for accommodation and to buy medicines for the team.

Asked how he was comfortable travelling with all that cash, Mr Soi said “hiyo ni pesa kidogo sana” (That’s very little money).

SOI HAS SH8M LEFT

The necessity of the expenditure was immediately questioned after it emerged that Sh24 million of the money was for ministry officials and the team from Parliament. However, lawmakers from the National Assembly and Senate were sponsored by their Labour and Social Welfare committees.

These transactions were revealed by National Olympics Committee-Kenya (Nock) vice-president Ben Ekumbo, who asked why the Sports ministry did not handle the money.

“Why would the ministry transfer money to our account when the PS could have withdrawn it and handed it over to the finance officer who travelled with us?” Mr Ekumbo wondered.

He said the transactions did not have the approval or knowledge of the Nock board.

Documents submitted to the committee show that Mr Soi instructed that Nock president Kipchoge Keino and secretary-general Francis Kinyili Paul be paid $8,000 (Sh800,000) each. “Clearly you were wondering what to do with this money,” said Samuel Gichigi (Kipipiri, APK).

Mr Soi said of the Sh25 million, he had Sh8 million left and would return it.

Mr Soi said he had been whisked off the plane on arrival from Rio to a police station. He was later admitted in hospital with high sugar levels and had not had time to settle down. “Up to now, I don’t know where my luggage is,” he told the committee.

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