Kip Keino denied wrongdoing in the Kenyan Olympic corruption scandal in an interview with The Associated Press and didn’t appear in court as expected Friday, with prosecutors given more time to investigate if he was involved in the misuse of more than $545,000.
Keino was one of seven Kenyan Olympic and government officials initially accused by prosecutors of corruption and abuse of office relating to money for Kenya’s team at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. But he is the only one yet to be charged.
Three former sports ministry officials, including former minister of sport Hassan Wario, were charged with corruption and abuse of office Friday. They denied the charges and were released on $10,000 cash bail each.
The three others were charged Monday.
Keino’s appearance was delayed, lending weight to speculation that the two-time Olympic champion and honorary IOC member will be a witness in the case and not a defendant.
In the interview with the AP earlier, Keino denied wrongdoing, saying he didn’t have control over any of the more than half a million dollars of government money prosecutors say was embezzled and misappropriated. He appeared to blame the former officials in the government’s sports ministry.
“I was not writing any government checks,” Keino said in the phone interview. “It’s their people who did it. That’s what I know.”
Asked if had any involvement in the misuse of the money, he replied “it had to do with what those who were in charge.”
Keino’s lawyer, Cecil Miller, explained his client’s absence in court Friday, saying police and prosecutors needed to review a statement given by Keino that shows he wasn’t responsible for signing any documents that controlled the money.
Prosecutors released documents last weekend saying Keino and the six others should be charged over the embezzlement of more than $200,000 and misuse of more than $300,000 of Kenya’s Olympic money.
Prosecutors say more than $150,000 of the misused money went on unused air tickets to Rio, nearly $150,000 was used in overpaid allowances, and tens of thousands of dollars were spent on “unauthorized persons” — people who were not Olympic officials or athletes.
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