Rio probe committee reads malice as payment delayed

The Rio Olympic Games Probe Committee has not been paid for its services three weeks after handing over the report to the Cabinet Secretary for Sports Hassan Wario.

The committee’s chairman, Paul Ochieng, on Friday said some operatives at the sports ministry are demanding for the report before they can release the pay, fearing the report had mentioned them adversely.

“We signed the claim forms on October 28 when we presented the report to Wario who directed the ministry’s accounting officers to pay us, but they have declined, saying we must give them copies of the report,” said Ochieng.

“They should ask for the report from the appointing authority, who is Wario, and not us,” he added.

Ochieng said efforts to raise the issue with Wario have proved futile since the minister has been engaged along with Deputy President William Ruto on a continental campaign for Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs Amina Mohammed’s Africa Union chairperson candidacy.

“These (sports ministry) officials suspect that they are adversely mentioned in the report hence they want to get hold of it so as to doctor it or hit back before it is released,” said Ochieng who is also the Dean of Students at Nairobi’s Strathmore University.

The payment to the committee ought to have been made upon presentation of the report to the appointing officer (Wario) signifying the end of the team’s contract.

Efforts to reach Wario, Sports Principal Secretary Richard Ekai or Harun Komen, who is the director of administration in the ministry, for comment proved futile as they were engaged all day yesterday and did not even respond to text messages.

Immediately after the report was presented to the CS, Komen was tasked with effecting the committee’s payment which was to cover 37 days during which the committee held sessions with over 70 athletes, sports officials and officers of the ministry.

Wario is yet to release the report but sources told the Nation that it has already been received at State House by President Uhuru Kenyatta who is expected to make an announcement on its findings any time.

The Rio 2016 Olympic Games Probe Committee was formed by Wario on September 9, 2016, to look into various issues regarding Kenya’s preparation for and participation in the Rio Games.

The committee was comprised of Ochieng as chairman and former sprinter Rose Tata-Muya as vice person.

Other members were former New York Marathon champion Ibrahim Hussein, journalist Elias Makori, former field events star Elizabeth Olaba and John Njogu, a legal officer in the ministry.

Jeddy Nthenge and Evelyn Kongani were the committee’s secretaries. While handing over the report, Ochieng said it has addressed lingering questions and unearthed the truth behind controversies surrounding Team Kenya’s preparation and participation at the Rio Olympics.

It has delved into details on the serious management inadequacies and financial impropriety that might have impeded what would have been even greater performance at the Rio Games.

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