Capital FM (Nairobi)

Kenya: Ex-KBC Bosses Freed in World Cup Rights Case

Former Kenya Broadcasting Corporation Managing Director David Waweru and ex-Corporation Secretary Hezekiel Oira have been acquitted over abuse of office charges and failure to observe procurement laws regarding the 2010 World Cup rights.

The two, who had been accused of unlawfully procuring direct broadcasting contracts with Radio Africa and Royal Media Services to co-host the 2010 World Cup tournament, were set free by trial Magistrate Lucy Nyambura due to insufficient evidence to necessitate a conviction.

According to the magistrate, the two did not contravene any FIFA rights because the rights are not procurable.

"The prosecution failed to demonstrate that acquiring broadcasting rights from FIFA is a procurable process," she ruled saying that FIFA was the only body that could have demonstrated the breach and no official from FIFA was called to testify.

Nyambura further held that there was no evidence that the State corporation lost any money but instead made Sh26 million in profit.

Waweru and Oira had denied failing to comply with procurement laws and directly procuring contracts with FIFA and African Union Broadcasters (AUB).

During the hearing, the court heard that the decision by KBC to sign a memorandum of understanding with FIFA for purchase of rights was in good faith.

Waweru is said to have directed the marketing department to write to local media houses to express their interest.

Despite interest from the Nation Media Group, Standard Group, Radio Africa and Radio Salam, KBC decided to partner with Radio Africa but a day before games started, Radio Citizen was also granted rights to re-broadcast the games after paying Sh500,000.

Radio Africa had accused the State broadcaster of breaching an exclusive agreement signed in 2009 for the transmission of the matches.

Radio Africa CEO Patrick Quarcoo testified said that the media house had agreed to share 50 percent rights for each match relayed and that KBC breached the contract when they allowed Citizen Radio to broadcast the tournament.

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