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Kenya sports minister disbands Olympic committee

Kenya team
The Kenyan team being flagged off. A series of problems have plagued the team.

Nairobi, Kenya | AFP | 

Kenya’s sports minister, under fire after a series of scandals and embarrassments at the Rio games, on Thursday announced the disbanding of the country’s Olympic committee.

“I do hereby disband the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) with immediate effect,” Hassan Wario said at a press conference in Nairobi.

Wario, who was questioned on Wednesday by detectives investigating allegations of corruption and mismanagement relating to Kenya’s Olympics performance, said facilities management parastatal Sports Kenya would take over responsibility and organise fresh elections to the Olympic committee.

Wario blamed NOCK for the “troubles”, “mishaps” and “mishandling of the accreditation” that — among other problems — tarnished Kenya’s Olympics.

“These allegations on the National Olympic Committee pose an immense threat that will adversely affect the stability and reputation of the Olympic Games in this country,” Wario said.

But no sooner had he made the declaration than NOCK secretary-general Paul Francis, sitting beside him, said the minister had no authority to do so.

“The cabinet secretary has no powers to disband NOCK because this is not a government parastatal. We will not vacate office and as far as we are concerned we are still in office,” said Paul.

He added that the Olympics shambles was the responsibility of the government.

The blame game follows an embarrassing performance by Kenyan officials even as the country’s athletes clocked up their best Olympics yet with 13 medals (including six golds) putting them in 15th place overall, the best in Africa by far.

Wario also announced a “probe committee” to look into the allegations, becoming at least the third senior official to declare an investigation.

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