Citizen Television news anchor Waihiga Mwaura on Tuesday, July 16, denied receiving money from the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) that oversaw the scandalous financing of Team Kenya to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
Waihiga Mwaura told Nairobi magistrate Elizabeth Osoro that he “never received any facilitation from the NOCK officials or any Government agency”.
The award-winning journalist told the magistrate that he was informed he would receive Ksh100, 000 ($1000) from the NOCK kitty as “facilitation” for his travel to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, an arrangement he was not comfortable with.
“I wish to state that we came back to Nairobi on August 26, 2016 via Ethiopian Airlines. I carried more stories on Citizen Television related to ‘Rio Fiasco’,” Waihiga Mwaura told the court.
In May 2019, the trial of six people, among them former Sports CS Hassan Wario, started with the Prosecution promising to show how the officials mismanaged the team to Rio Olympics in 2016.
In her opening statement in May, senior principal prosecution counsel Maryanne Mwangi said they will be calling witnesses to show how the officials disregarded the law.
Journalist Waihiga Mwaura told the court that he is ready to cooperate with authorities in a bid to help unmask those who embezzled Team Kenya’s Rio 2016 funds.
“I wish to state that I also appeared before the Rio probe committee and I shared my side of the story,” he said.
The journalist said all his travel and accommodation expenses in Rio de Janeiro were catered for by his employer – Royal Media Services Limited.
The journalist said his name appeared in the NOCK list of those whose accommodation was to be facilitated by the body to the South American nation.
According to Mr Mwaura, he never — at any time –, initiated talks with NOCK or any other agency involved in the preparation of the Rio Olympics.
He further told the court that he was assigned to cover the 2016 Summer Rio Olympic Games by his editor Michael Okinyi.
“My employer was to facilitate for my air travel and accommodation while in Rio,” he said.
Waihiga Mwaura was testifying in a case where three NOCK officials have been charged with fraud and the theft of, among other public funds, Ksh25 million.
The three, Vice-Chairman Pius Ochieng, Secretary-General Francis Kanyiri Paul and the Head of Mission Stephen Arap Soi, have since denied the charges.
The court heard that Mr Kanyiri and Mr Ochieng committed the offence on diverse dates between June 1, 2016 and July 31, 2016 in Nairobi’s NOCK offices at Plaza 2000 Building within Nairobi County.
They were accused that jointly with others not before the court, and being officials of NOCK, omitted to make inventory of the NIKE KIT Uniform donated by NIKE Company to be used by team Kenya at Rio Olympics 2016.
Mr Soi was charged with stealing Ksh112, 000; the property of the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Arts on July 20, 2016 at Kencom House within Nairobi County.
He was again charged with failing to report conveyance of monetary instruments (valued at Ksh25 million) out of Kenya, contrary to the law on July 20, 2016 at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi.
The Chairman was also charged with several other counts of stealing over Ksh26 million; the property of the Ministry of Culture and Arts, contrary to the law.
The prosecution made an application to have the accused deposit their passports at the court for to ensure they don’t fly out of Kenya as the case continues.
The suspects were charged after the investigations that took three weeks were completed by the Prosecution.
The suspects are out on KSh200, 000 cash bail each or a bond of Ksh1 million.