Kenya disbands Olympic body over Rio allegations

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Nairobi, Aug 26 (IANS) Kenya has disbanded the country’ s National Olympic Committee (NOCK) over claims of mismanagement and financial impropriety during the just concluded Rio Olympic Games.

Cabinet Secretary for Sports Hassan Wario on Thursday transferred the responsibilities of the NOCK to Sports Kenya, a government quasi-body that will set up the calendar for elections to the new Olympic body, reports Xinhua.

“I do hereby disband the National Olympic Committee of Kenya with immediate effect and transfer the responsibilities to Sports Kenya as the interim custodian,” Wario told journalists in Nairobi.

The CS also set up a committee to investigate all allegations of mismanagement during the Rio Olympics and present its report by September 30.

“I constitute a probe committee to carry out an independent inquiry of the alleged mismanagement and present the report to me by Sept,” Wario said in Nairobi.

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He said the measures are in addition to his request to the directorate of criminal investigations to carry out investigations into the mismanagement allegations.

He admitted that the perennial problem of missing kits and disgraceful sideshows dampened the spirits of the athletes in Rio.

He cited Kenya’s Sports Act 2013 as the legislation that gave him powers to disband NOCK. “NOCK officials assured that kits and accommodation were in place. Enough is enough, we cannot keep implementing the Sports Act with the perennial problem pulling us back. It not only violates the Sports Act but also the Olympic Charter,” Wario said.

Wario directed every sports federation to start working towards regaining Kenya’s lost glory in the respective sports under the federations.

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“Kenya was a major cricketing body, we are never short of talent but we seem to be short of good managers. It is a chance for you to put your house in order and realise there is law in town called the Sports Act. If you don’t comply with it, it is up to you,” Wario said.

The CS also refuted reports that he had been grilled by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) adding that in no way should he be held responsible for shambolic mishaps witnessed within Team Kenya’s camp at the Rio Games.

However, NOCK Secretary General, Francis Katana Paul, said the government has no powers to disband the association.

“I am not aware where the minister derived such powers from to make such a decision. Ours is not a government office and we will be in the office as usual tomorrow to carry out our mandated duties,” Paul told Xinhua.

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