Ben Ekumbo, Kenya’s deputy Chef de Mission at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, will be detained for three days as an investigation continues after stolen sports kit was found inside his apartment.
Ekumbo, first vice-chairman of the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) and a member of the International Swimming Federation’s (FINA) ruling Bureau, was reportedly found hiding under a bed in his home !!! in Nairobi.
Police investigators allegedly recovered boxes containing athletics shoes, tracksuits and bags supplied as part Kenya’s sponsorship deal with clothing giants, Nike.
It is alleged that equipment supposed to be for athletes was embezzled by Ekumbo and other administrators.
The official, who also President of Kenyan Swimming Federation, is now being investigated for theft, abuse of office and neglect of official duty.
He will be detained for three days as the probe continues.
It had been hoped that Ekumbo would be remanded for seven days to allow the investigation to be completed, but a magistrate at Nairobi Milimani Law Court granted only a three-day window before charges must be brought or the case dropped.
Photo: Ben Ekumbo has been arrested as part of the investigation into the National Olympic Committee of Kenya ©YouTube/FINA
FIVE OFFICIALS HAS BEEN ARRESTED SO FARE IN NOCK.
He becomes the fifth official in Kenya to be arrested as part of the investigation.
Others to have been detained include: Chef de Mission Stephen Soi, team manager Pius Ochieng, NOCK secretary-general Francis Paul and treasurer Fridah Shiroya.
Charges against Shiroya have since been dropped, with it expected she will now testify against her colleagues.
NOCK chairman Kipchoge Keino, a double Olympic gold medallist, is the organisation’s only senior official not to have been arrested. How is it possible that he was the only one to not know?
Kenyan Sports Minister Hassan Wario decided in August, following Rio 2016, to dissolve the national governing body.
Photo: Kenyan Sports Minister Hassan Wario initially dissolved the NOCK in August ©Getty Images
Officials were accused of key accommodation and travel mishaps, including the “mishandling of accreditation”, as well as kits which allegedly never reached athletes.
According to Reuters, a report by the Rio 2016 Probe Committee has found that more than KES870 million (£7 million/$8.4 million/€7.9 million) set aside for Kenyan air tickets for the Games was misappropriated.
Kit said to be worth KES126 million (£988,000/$1.2 million/€1.1 million) per year since 2013 was also diverted, it is alleged, out of money designed for athletes.
It revealed this month that the NOCK is receiving $5.7 million (£4.5 million/€5.2 million) as part of an eight-year contract with Nike.
The NOCK has been given a deadline of the end of the year by the International Olympic Committee to hold fresh elections and resolve its problems. That can be difficult to make for NOCK within that deadline. It means NOCK risk to being suspended for violating autonomy rules.
Ekumbo also becomes the third FINA Bureau member accused of wrongdoing in recent weeks.
Leading swimmers including three-time Olympic champion Katinka Hosszu have called for the resignation of the FINA vice-president Tamas Gyarfas from his position as Hungarian Swimming Federation President due to the alleged lack of support he has given them.
Bureau member Coaracy Nunes was also removed as President of the Brazilian Aquatic Sports Confederation late last month as part of an investigation into corruption and fraud, before a court ruling allowed him to return to the post.
“FINA has learnt by the news in the media the situation involving Ben Ekumbo, President of the Kenyan Swimming Federation (KSF),” the world governing body told in a statement.
“FINA immediately requested additional information from KSF on this matter, so that we can further review this case.
“No further comment will be made until the Kenyan justice procedure has been concluded.”