'No evidence' against former KCA chairman January 28, 2006

Ghai acquitted of stealing $3.3 million


Sharad Ghai, the former chairman of the Kenya Cricket Association, has been acquitted of all charges in the theft of millions of dollars belonging the now-defunct board. A Kenyan court made their ruling on Friday after a trial lasting three days.

Ghai, who was chairman until May 2005, had been charged on two counts of conspiring with unknown others to defraud the association of 240 million shillings ($US 3.3 million).

Prosecutors had accused him of stealing the money that the association had raised from selling television rights to a 1999 tournament in which Kenya, India, South Africa and Zimbabwe played. But Nairobi's Chief Magistrate, Aggrey Muchelule, ruled that there was no evidence to prove that Ghai was guilty of the charges.

Ghai's defence was strengthened after one prosecution witness, Jimmy Rayani, the KCA chairman at the time of the tournament in question, said the association had received all the payments it was due.

"The agreement provided for how KCA was to benefit from the arrangement and indeed benefited," said Muchelule. "There is no evidence. I refuse the application."

The KCA was disbanded earlier this month and replaced with a new governing body, Cricket Kenya, after being hit by a wave of financial scandals, including Ghai's case, and mismanagement.