SLAP ON THE WRIST ON CORRUPTION AS FORMER SPORTS MINISTER ESCAPES JAIL TERM BY PAYING FINE

A Nairobi court on Thursday only fined 3.6 million shillings to former sports minister Hassan Wario or else attend to a six year jail term after finding him guilty of abuse of office.

Mr Wario was released after paying the fine in the 42 million shillings funds embezzlement case that also included National Olympic Committee member Stephen Soi who at the time was the head of mission during the 2016 Rio Olympics.

“They took advantage of their offices to include strange people in the Kenyan delegation to Brazil and paid them allowances which caused the loss of taxpayers’ money. I find them guilty as charged and convict them accordingly,” ruled chief magistrate Elizabeth Juma at the Nairobi anti-corruption court.

The magistrate found Wario guilty of all the three counts of abuse of office in which the charges stated that he used his office as the Sports CS to improperly confer a benefit to Adan Omar, Richard Abura and Monica Sairo by including them into the Rio 2016 Olympic Games Kenyan delegation.

According to the magistrate, the late inclusion of the three individuals to the travelling party to Brazil by the former CS showed that he did not use his authority properly which resulted in loss of public funds.

Ms Juma, however, acquitted Wario in the first count of engaging in the Olympics Project without prior planning, ruling that there was evidence the planning started way back in 2012 after the London Olympics.

Soi who was the Chef de Mission for Team Kenya to Rio 2016 Olympics bore the greatest responsibility as the magistrate found him guilty of four counts of abuse of office and mismanaging funds leading to the loss of Sh42 million.

Ms Juma ruled that Soi wilfully failed to comply with applicable procedures and guidelines relating to management of public funds by unlawfully authorising the purchase of unutilised air tickets amounting to Sh19.5 million.

In another count, the magistrate ruled that the prosecution had proved beyond reasonable doubt that Soi improperly granted a benefit of Sh5.3 million to Vincent Kinyili, Kipchoge Keino, Francis Kinyili and Ian Kipkosgei to travel to Brazil which resulted to the loss of public funds.

According to the ruling, Mr Soi will serve 12 years in jail or else pay 105 million shillings fine and Hassan Wario to pay 3.6 million shillings or serve a six year jail term.

The former sports minister Mr Wario, immediately paid the fine and walked away majestically without seeing or even touching the doors of jail, something that has now raised eyebrows among critics on the war of corruption as the mighty and the rich avoid paying their debts to the community that they once abused while in office.

By Shadrack Andenga Odinga

Shadrackandenga@gmail.com

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