Rio scandal: Stephen Soi breaks down in court

Team Kenya chief of mission in the 2016 Brazil Olympics, Stephen Soi Tuesday broke down into tears at the anti-corruption court in Nairobi while defending himself in the Sh88 million Rio graft scandal.

The court session was briefly interrupted as the magistrate allowed his wife to walk to the dock to console him.

The retired police officer told Chief magistrate Elizabeth Juma that the graft charges against him were witch-hunt and harassment of a senior citizen.

“I have served this country for 38 years and for 18 years I was a trainer of police at GSU and Kiganjo police colleges. On return from Rio de Janeiro I was surprised to be received by DCI officers. To date, I have never returned Team Kenya’s flag to the President (Uhuru Kenyatta),” said Mr Soi.

In his defence, Mr Soi denied charges abuse of office over the siphoning off of funds meant for the athletes.

He said he was not the accounting officer of the National Olympic Committee (NOC) during the Rio Games and that when the money was used in purchasing tickets for undeserving persons he was not in the country. The committee was chaired by Olympics legend Kipchoge Keino while Mr Soi was the deputy treasurer.

“My signature of authorisation for payment is not in the payment vouchers. At the time the payments were made I was in Rio. The charges are fake and confused as they do not disclose any offence,” said Mr Soi.

As he is accused of authourising payment of air travel tickets to undeserving persons to the detriment of the Team Kenya athletes, Mr Soi said the charge sheet does not disclose details of the said tickets.

“Am not a ticket agent and the charge sheet would have disclosed details such as I paid the air tickets to who. I was also not at the scene of crime –the NOC office,” he stated.

He further rubbished claims that he authourised payments to Mr Francis Paul and Kipchoge Keino, saying the two were his bosses and he could not confer benefits to them while their trips had already been catered for.

He pointed an accusing finger to the committee’s treasurer Ms Fridah Shiroya, whom he told court had been arrested but discharged and turned to be the prosecution’s witness.

He is charged alongside former Sports cabinet secretary Hassan Wario, former Principal secretary Richard Ekai, Haron Komen, Francis Paul and Mr Patrick Kimathi Nkabu.

Hearing continues.

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