A businessman arrested for lending fraud and forcibly recovering factory, vehicles

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A prominent Ethiopian businessman and one of long-term regime’s associate has been arrested on suspicion of money lending scam. Abiy Abera, owner of Addis View Hotel, and close friend of the ruling party’s external relations department head, Sekou Toure Getachew, was taken into police custody in Addis Ababa on Friday, for “forcibly taking away other’s property and violating lending regulations”. Police searched his house and hotel.
Abiy faces minimum of fifteen years if found guilty of conducting illegal lending business, swindling to appropriate assets and deliberately violating state laws on economic management. He, among other things has been charged of taking away forcibly from a certain investor, Dawit kebede a-180,000 dollar worth nail manufacturing plant and three vehicles after the latter failed to repay him 800,000 birr (34,106.4 USD) that he lent him few years ago. According to witnesses, Abiy, took the 1,500 care metres factory from Ato Dawit by force and sold it to a third party. Abiy is also accused of taking away Toyota Safari, Grand Vitara from Dawit, saying that the latter has failed to repay the entire loan. The victim told Radio Fana that he has been paying eight percent interest for six months per agreement. He lost his factory and vehicles and to his further chagrin few years later when his wife trying to give birth, he had no money to take her to hospital and she died afterwards.
Authorities have tolerated underground lending as a way to support entrepreneurs who create jobs and tax revenue. But they began cracking down in recent years, apparently concerned about the large scale of borrowing.
(photo of Addis View hotel, courtesy of Mathias Mack.)

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