NOCK disbanded by Sports CS Hassan Wario
Sports Cabinet Secretary Dr. Hassan Wario on Thursday bowed to public pressure and disbanded the embattled National Olympics Committee-Kenya (Nock) following its mismanagement of Team Kenya that excelled at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
At a press conference held in the ministry headquarters in Nairobi, Wario cited powers conferred upon him by the Sports Act Number 25 of 2013 to take action against the discredited body and appointed a committee to carry out an independent inquiry into the Rio 2016 fiasco.
Immediately after he left the boardroom, Nock Secretary General, Francis K Paul, who was present was categorical the Minister did not have the powers to make such a decision saying they would communicate with the International Olympics Committee (IOC) and go to court to fight the move setting the stage for a bitter tussle to manage the body.
“I do hereby disband the National Olympic Committee of Kenya with immediate effect and transfer their responsibilities to the Sports Kenya as the interim custodian, who will ensure the adoption of a new constitution and setting of the election calendar,” Wario said in his brief address where he declined to field questions thereafter.
The eight-member probe committee has retired athletes, Moses Kiptanui, Elizabeth Olaba, Rose Tata-Muya and Ibrahim Hussein alongside Paul Ochieng (Dean of Students, Strathmore University/National Archery), Japson Gitonga (Department of Sports), Moses Mbuthia (KSSSA) and Charles Nyaberi (National Sports Council).
It was set a September 30 deadline to report back to the minister with recommendation for action.
The officials are accused of mismanaging accommodation and travel plans of the team, taking a huge number of joy riders to the Games and selling off kit from Nike, allegations Paul dismissed laying the blame of the scandal at the doorstep of the Ministry.
“First of all, we will inform the IOC and secondly we go to court if necessary. We have not given our report and from it, maybe you may find other things and you may find we were not in the wrong because we will give an account of all uniforms that we received and all the uniforms that were distributed and to whom,” the Nock secretary asserted.
“We did what we were supposed to do and you should ask the right people for answers. We did our job very well. We will not move from our offices, we do not occupy a Government building and we pay our rent, we are going nowhere,” he insisted with the strain of pressure visible in his face.
Before his declaration, Wario sought to clear the air on a number of issues as he put federations among them swimming, basketball, hockey and cricket on notice, promising stern action against incompetence.
“NOCK officials assured that kits and accommodation were in place. Enough is enough; we cannot keep implementing the Sports Act while the perennial problem keeps pulling us back. It not only violates the Sports Act but also the Olympics Charter,” Wario said.
The Minister disputed reports that he had been grilled by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) saying action was being taken on the officials at his request.
“The Olympics are organised through National Olympics Committees. In our case, Nock, was assisted by a steering committee chaired by Richard Ekai (Principal Secretary, Sports). They are the ones who gave us a list of 177 to travel to Rio,” Wario charged.