Kipchoge Keino of Kenya pictured at the Laureus World Sports Awards 2016 in Berlin. Photo: REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

NAIROBI – Two-time Olympic gold medallist Kipchoge Keino was one of seven Kenyan officials charged Monday in a scandal involving the mismanagement of funds during the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Four of the suspects were in court while the others, including former sports minister Hassan Wario and Keino - who headed the Olympic committee - were charged in absentia.

Magistrate Douglas Ogoti said he would issue arrest warrants against the absent parties if they did not turn themselves in by Thursday.

Wario is out of the country, as he serves as Kenya's ambassador to Austria.

Two-time Olympic gold medallist Kipchoge Keino is also a former head of the Kenya Olympic Committee. Photo: Thomas Mukoya/Reuters
Two-time Olympic gold medallist Kipchoge Keino is also a former head of the Kenya Olympic Committee. Photo: Thomas Mukoya/Reuters

Those present pleaded not guilty and were released on bail of one million shillings ($9,900, 8,500 euros).

The men were slapped with charges ranging from abuse of office to failing to comply with laws on the management of public funds.

They cover the alleged crimes of embezzlement, the purchase of unauthorised air tickets, overpayment of allowances and expenditure on unauthorised persons, all to the amount of 55 million shillings. 

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Graft is rife in Kenya, with millions of dollars of public funds going missing each year, and the country was left red-faced in 2016 over graft during its Olympic campaign which also saw athletes' team uniforms stolen by officials.

Agence France-Presse (AFP)