Kipchoge Keino narrowly escapes disgrace by the skin of his teeth

The legacy of iconic runner Kipchoge Keino is rich, and has been built over decades and decades of victories and achievements. He ranks alongside other sporting legends such as the Brazilian footballing giant Pele, and American boxing great, Mohammed Ali. However, all this came so close to being blown away in a puff, as he risked joining the list of respected personalities such as Bill Cosby who have fallen from grace after years and years of enjoying distinguished and eminent status.

While two-time Olympic gold medallist and former NOCK chief Kipchoge Keino was a key prosecution witness in the case that ended with the sentencing of former Sports CS Hassan Wario to six years in prison, it will be a relief for the running legend that the case has been concluded without any fresh charges being preferred against him after he was earlier acquitted of charges of misappropriation of more than $545,000 meant to fund Kenya’s team at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

In the sentencing, Nairobi chief magistrate Elizabeth Juma found Wario guilty of abuse of office and misuse of public funds, and sentenced him to six years in prison, or a fine of 3.6 million.

Wario, who served as the country’s sports minister from 2013 to 2018, was one of six Kenyan officials charged with abuse of office and the misappropriation of 55 million shillings ($545,000) during the Rio Olympics.
Four other officials, including the former secretary general of the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) Francis Kinyili Paul, were acquitted of all charges.

Keino was one of seven current and former officials initially accused in prosecution documents that were forwarded to court when the case first opened. It threatened the reputation of one of track and field’s most revered figures. He is the only one of the seven not to appear in court and be formally charged in front of a judge.

In one of the accusations against him, prosecutors had claimed Keino gave his son nearly $25,000 and included him in Kenya’s official Rio Games delegation. Keino’s lawyer Miller disputed that and said Keino’s son, Ian, had never received any money. Instead, Keino’s and his son’s trips to the Olympics were paid for by the International Olympic Committee.

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    Written by Joshua Wanga

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