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Ben Ekumbo now offers to repay Olympic cash

Friday November 25 2016

National Olympics Committee of Kenya first vice chairman Bernard Ekumbo at the Nairobi Milimani Law Courts on November 25, 2016 where he was charged with stealing $10,500 from the Ministry of Sports. PHOTO | PAUL WAWERU |

National Olympics Committee of Kenya first vice-chairman Ben Ekumbo, who has been locked up till December 6, 2016. PHOTO | PAUL WAWERU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

RICHARD MUNGUTI
By RICHARD MUNGUTI
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National Olympics Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) first vice chairman Bernard Ekumbo was on Friday charged with two counts of conspiracy to steal $10,500 about Sh1,050,000) jointly with others and theft of assorted 2016 Rio Olympic Games kit for Team Kenya.

But appearing before senior principal magistrate Joyce Gandani, the Olympic boss denied the charges and offered to return the Sh1.05m he says he found deposited in his account without his knowledge.

Ekumbo presented two cheques of the monies he is charged with stealing from the Ministry of Sports, Arts and Culture to the court.

“ I am willing to  refund $10,500, the money paid to my account without my knowledge,” Ekumbo told the court.

He said the money was deposited to his account when he was in Rio de Janeiro attending the Olympic Games in August where he was Team Kenya’s deputy chef de mission.

“ Upon return from the Games, Mr Ekumbo noticed that the money had been deposited into his account and was willing to refund it,” his lawyer Stephen Muhia said.

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But a state prosecutor Duncan Ondimu declined to receive the cheques saying “I will consult with the Asset Recovery Agency (RAA) then advice him (Ekumbo) into which account he will deposit the money.” Ondimu told the magistrate that Ekumbo had mentioned to him that  he had been willing to repay the money on  Tuesday when he first appeared in court.

Ekumbo, is also being investigated over claims of sexually molesting female swimmers. He is also the chairman of the Kenya Swimming Federation.

Ekumbo was remanded in custody until Monday. The prosecutor said once investigations were completed the  case would be consolidated with another in which senior officials of NOC-K have already been charged and the case is listed for hearing December 9.
Contested investigations

But Ekumbo contested those investigations saying, the incidents occurred five years ago and had been handled by a committee that he appointed.

Ekumbo was arrested on Monday in a dramatic raid on his house in Nairobi where bales of sports equipment supplied by Nike for use by Team Kenya at the Olympics were recovered.

A report has been prepared by a probe committee constituted by Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario over the 2016 Rio games debacle.

The report is currently with the President. Sources say it implicated several officials in financial impropriety and mismanagement.

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