Two members of the disbanded National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) have been granted bail after appearing in a Nairobi court over alleged mismanagement of the country’s team at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Bail for NOCK secretary general Francis Paul and NOCK vice-chairman Pius Ochieng, both of whom were arrested at the weekend, was set at $2,000 (£1,500/€1,800).
The pair are being investigated for theft, abuse of office and neglect of duty along with Stephen Arap Soi, the Kenyan team’s Chef de Mission in Rio de Janeiro who has already been released from police custody for medical reasons and is due to have his bail set tomorrow.
Prosecutors had requested Paul and Ochieng be remanded in custody for 21 days, but the magistrate, Charity Oluoch, said there was no reason to deny them bail.
"I am alive to the fact that this matter has elicited public interest, at the same time," said Oluoch.
"I appreciate that the suspects have a right to liberty and the right to be released on bond unless there are compelling reasons not to."
Paul and Ochieng, who are expected to reappear in court on September 19 for formal charges, have been asked to deposit their passports with the court as part of their bail conditions.
Both they and Soi are blamed for a series of alleged problems facing Kenya’s athletes, which led to the nation's Sports Minister Hassan Wario announcing the disbanding of the NOCK last week.
Wario cited a catalogue of logistical and mismanagement issues which "damaged the morale of athletes" during Rio 2016 as the reason for the move.
It has been claimed there were key accommodation and travel mishaps, including the "mishandling of accreditation", as well as kits which never reached athletes.
The disbanding marked another breakdown in relations between an NOC and a National Government, something the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had sought to avoid by tightening its rules on autonomy and Government interference.
Ireland's Patrick Hickey was appointed as the IOC autonomy delegate in 2014, but was arrested in Rio as investigations continue both in Brazil and in Ireland over his alleged involvement in an alleged ticketing scandal surrounding the Olympic Council of Ireland.
The IOC said yesterday that they were "extremely concerned" by developments.
Problems in Rio for Kenya also included a doping scandal which saw a coach expelled from the Games for impersonating an athlete, as well as selection issues and tension between Athletics Kenya and the NOC.
Many team members were reportedly made to wait in Rio after the Olympic Village closed, allegedly because the NOCK decided to wait in order to book cheaper flights.
While most other teams returned home with chartered jets and welcoming parades, Kenyan Marathon runner Wesley Korir claimed the team had been forced to move into a poor standard of accommodation after leaving the Village.
An eight-person panel was convened to carry out an urgent investigation and recommendations for further action.
This is due to be completed by September 30.
Despite the problems, Kenya won six golds, six silvers and one bronze medal, all in athletics, to become the leading African nation on the Rio 2016 medal table.