Stephen Soi, right, has been acquitted of his corruption charges ©Getty Images

The Kenyan High Court has ruled Stephen Soi to be innocent in the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games corruption case following his appeal.

Judge Esther Maina decided to rule him not guilty as she decided that his defence had not been taken into consideration in the original trial in September 2021.

"If it [the previous court] had done so, it would have arrived at a different conclusion," she said, as reported by The Star.

"They instead decided to use other means and that was of course beyond Soi.

"He could not do anything about it."

Soi, who was formerly a National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) official and was the country's Chef de Mission in Brazil, was initially found guilty of unlawfully approving payments of up to $151,500 (£125,500/€142,700) to the team.

He was ordered to pay a fine of KES105 million (£700,000/$850,000/€800,000) or serve a 17-year jail sentence.

The original court decided that he failed to disclose that there had been a double payment to NOCK officials and that he also authorised the cancellation of plane tickets, resulting in a KES9.7 million (£65,000/$78,500/€74,000) loss of public funds.

Soi argued that he was condemned for the cancellation of tickets despite multiple officials failing to turn up to the airport.

The ruling means that Stephen Soi has avoided a 17-year jail sentence or KES105 million fine ©Getty Images
The ruling means that Stephen Soi has avoided a 17-year jail sentence or KES105 million fine ©Getty Images

He said that the majority of these people were senior Government officials who were not under his authority or supervision.

In terms of the allowances, Soi found it unreasonable that athletes were set to be paid $200 (£165/€190) per day when at London 2012 they had been paid $250 (£205/€235).

He then decided to pay them $297 (£245/€280) each day, explaining to Judge Maina that most of the athletes were police officers and prison wardens and they were already being underpaid with $250.

"I found that explanation plausible and found that he could not have been faulted for reducing what was being paid," Maina said.

"In any event, we got evidence from one of the prosecution witnesses, that the allowances were not set by Soi but by the steering committee and it was a unanimous decision of the committee that the allowances be paid that way. 

"So I do not see how Soi could have been faulted for paying the allowances at that rate."

There was also an allegation that Kenya's Rio 2016 delegation had too many members.

Soi disputed this saying that the team needed doctors and physiotherapists and that some people were entitled to have support staff.

The court agreed, saying: "I would rather give him the benefit of doubt rather than convict him for that offence."