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Top Kenyan official in court over Rio kit ‘theft’

Kenyatta sends off the Olympics team. A kit scandal has hit the team after the games.
Kenyatta sends off the Olympics team. A kit scandal has hit the team after the games.

Nairobi, Kenya | AFP | 

The chairman of Kenya’s Olympic committee appeared in court on Tuesday after police uncovered boxes of Nike kits at his apartment which had gone missing during the Rio Games.

Bernard Ekumbo is the latest official from the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) to be arrested over the scandal, one of several which overshadowed Kenya’s best performance at a Games.

He was arrested on Monday during a raid on his apartment in which boxes of Nike wear were found, including swimming and athletics gear.

Ekumbo was not charged and prosecutors requested he be held in custody to give them more time to complete their investigation into theft, abuse of office and neglect of official duty.

In September Kenya’s Rio Olympics manager Stephen Soi was charged with four counts of stealing more than $250,000 (235,000 euros) destined for athletes and officials in Brazil.

Two other NOCK officials, vice-chairman Pius Ochieng and secretary-general Francis Kinyili Paul, were also charged with fraudulently acquiring the Team Kenya kit from Nike.

Controversy kicked off Kenya’s Olympics this summer when athletes appeared at the opening ceremony in mismatched gear because those provided by kit sponsor Nike had gone missing. Dozens of boxes of the gear later turned up in a raid on Kenya’s Olympics headquarters.

Further embarrassment ensued when it emerged someone had forgotten to book a plane ticket for javelin world champion Julius Yego — who went on to win Olympics silver — while 200m sprinter Carvin Nkanata’s accreditation was submitted late meaning he almost missed his race.

A parliamentary probe into the mismanagement of the Games was told in September how $20,000 was wasted as officials booked rooms for President Uhuru Kenyatta and the sports cabinet secretary aboard a cruise ship which were never used.

Despite the scandals Kenya scooped 13 medals, including six gold, in its best performance at the Olympics.

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