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Why this man carried Sh25m in cash to the Rio Olympics

The man who headed the Kenyan team to the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro left for Brazil awash with cash, with Sh25 million from a transaction that has since been questioned by fellow officials of the disbanded National Olympics Committee.

Stephen arap Soi, who was Chef de Mission, said the money was received from the Sports ministry, through Sports Kenya,  and that he asked for it to pay for accommodation and to buy medicine for use by the Kenyan team.

“A decision made by the CS and the PS without the consultation of the steering committee is what could have led to this,” Mr Soi told the Labour and Social Welfare Committee.

EXPENDITURE QUESTIONED

But the necessity of the expenditure was immediately brought into question after it emerged that Sh24 million of the amount was meant to cater for ministry officials and the team from Parliament. The lawmakers from the National Assembly and the Senate who travelled to Rio were paid for by Parliament and travelled on the budgets of the two Houses’ committees on Labour and Social Welfare.

The transactions were revealed by the vice president of the National  Olympics Committee – Kenya (Nock) Ben Ekumbo, who wondered why the Sports ministry itself could not handle the money.

“Why would the ministry transfer money to our account yet the PS had the ability to withdraw the money and give it to the Finance Officer, who was also travelling with us?” Mr Ekumbo asked.

VP SURPRISED

The first vice president appeared to surprise his colleagues with the revelation and said the transactions happened without the approval or knowledge of the board of the Nock.

From the documents submitted to the committee, there  were also instructions from Mr Soi for Nock president Kipchoge Keino and secretary general Francis Kinyili Paul to be paid $8000 each . “Clearly you were wondering what you were to do with this money,” said Samuel Gichigi (Kipipiri, APK).

Asked how he could walk around with that much money, Mr Soi quipped: “Hiyo ni pesa kidogo sana.”

He said there was a balance of Sh8 million from the Sh25 million he had and that would also be handed back.