State finance minister arrested on corruption charges

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State Minister at the Ethiopian Ministry of Finance and Economic Cooperation (MoFEC), Alemayehu Gujo arrested on corruption charges. He is part of a group of ten individuals from the ministry detained in connection with a multi-million dollar integrated financial management information systems project, according to state media. Alemyahu and the others are accused of awarding the project to private company called Transnational Computer Technology without bid and causing around 1.1 billion birr damage. They have also illegally awarded another project for the implementation of the project on 125 government offices to Techno Brain, a Nairobi-based company, according to the charges. In an emergency session, Ethiopia’s House of People’s Representatives lifted Alemayehu’s immunity from prosecution. He has denied any wrongdoing.
Zaid Woldegabriel, the former Director General of the Ethiopian Roads Authority, was also detained on Friday, according to reports. The state-owned Sugar Corporation former vice director and the current deputy director general of irrigation & housing infrastructure, Kiros Desta, was also arrested. Around 50 people have been arrested as a part of the regime’s anti-graft drive in the last two weeks. Critics express concerns about alleged state corruption and mismanagement on the regime’s watch. Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn recently said the government has done much to expand democracy and improve the lives of Ethiopians, though he admitted that corruption, factionalism and other problems were hurting the party in power. Observers says the corruption clampdown is not done in earnest and targets the small fish. “The fish stinks from the head,” a commentator wrote on Facebook. Even the regime’s enthusiast and apologist, Daniel Berhane wrote on his Facebook page that that “the recent events are just minor blips without fundamental implications. EPRDF remains devoid of the political will to take critical steps,” he wrote.

Arefayné Fantahun
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