Ethiopia: 50 Charged with Graft in Nile Dam Project

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Ethiopian Federal Attorney General charged 50 people with corruption and abuse of office in relation with the construction of a dam on the Blue Nile river, the Ethiopian News Agency (ENA) reported Sunday.

Ethiopia Electric Power company (EEP) in Addis Abeba. (Photo: David Bailey MBE (cc-by-sa-2.0))

Ethiopia Electric Power company (EEP) in Addis Abeba. (Photo: David Bailey MBE (cc-by-sa-2.0))The charges were filed against Azeb Asnake, the former Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP) CEO, Colonel Mulu Woldegebriel, deputy director general of the country’s military-run Metals and Engineering Corporation, METEC, as well as against another 48 people — former METEC officials and employees of private companies.

Asnake and Woldegebriel, according to the report, were charged in relation to a 5.1 billion birr (US$160 million) contract awarded to METEC to “clear a forested area where water from the dam on the Nile river is planned to flow.” They reportedly abused their power to gain personal benefit from the deal.

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), as The New Arab news outlet reminded, was set to be Africa’s largest hydro-electric dam – 5,150 Megawatts strong – expected to provide electricity across the country.

Launched in 2011, the cost of the project was estimated at $4 billion. Allegations of corruption and mis-management have been reportedly associated with the project since its conception.

In September 2018, Asnake was forced to resign as the EEP’s CEO amid allegations of corruption and bad management, while two months later, in November, Ethiopian authorities arrested dozens of intelligence officers and high-level officials from METEC, on charges of graft and human-rights abuses.

A total of 63 people were arrested back then — 27 for alleged corrupt practices and 36 for human-rights violations.

An investigation into procurement processes at state-run METEC revealed that for six years the corporation allegedly made international procurements totaling $2 billion without competitive bidding processes.

Following such findings, in August last year the Ethiopian government ended the METEC’s involvement in the GERD project.


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3 Responses to Ethiopia: 50 Charged with Graft in Nile Dam Project

  1. The TPLF strategy has been exclusive empowerment of the Tigray elite in all the economic and political lives of the country. Now the Tigraians control about 70 percent of the economy in the country. The extent of corruption and nepotism under the TPLF was unprecedented. The empire of corruption and nepotism the TPLF has been building in Ethiopia includes all the economic spheres.

    January 1, 2020 at 9:01 am

  2. I prefer to wait until the detail of the charges is made public and how this female engineer is implicated. The sudden charges against her make me wonder a lot. Was it her choice to remain passive of all what was going on around her that brought these charges against her? I can imagine with all the hordes of misogynist thugs around her, what power she would have to stop them from looting. Any thug could just walk into her office and tell her what he and his former ‘comrades’ from their years in the bushes had decided for this or that project that she did not have to worry anything about it. I remember what one countryman told me a few years after 1991. He came here to pay a visit to a relative. He told us that he had to look the other way in order to be able to raise a family and provide for them. There were millions like him who opted to stay indifferent to anything political just to raise a family just like what he was doing all those years during the Mengistu era. Was this female engineer in the same category of such people? The article above does not tell us if she is in jail or out on bail. All what it tells us was she was charged. Charges of what kind? Negligence? Not saying anything about the carnage unleashed by the despots on the nation’s coffers? I want to know the details of the charges against her. Did she benefit financially from the loot? If she had done that then she should pay for her criminal action. From what I hear about her is that she was an accomplished engineer and I hope she did sully it all up with repulsive act of corruption. Emptying of a nation’s coffers just does not make individuals filthy rich but it kills citizens. How so you may ask? That is because the looted money could have been used to build roads where sick people can rich hospitals sooner before it is too late. Clinics can be opened at close distance where citizens can get treatments to killer diseases like malaria, typhoid and many other infectious maladies. In countries like Ethiopia, to me looters of the nation’s coffers are not only ordinary thieves but outright murderers. They are demons of the third kind and should be sent to prisons(not death penalty) for a long time. I wish someone will be able to post copy of the charges that included this very accomplished engineer so we can see and read all about it!!! Until then I will refrain myself from passing any judgment on this engineer.

    With the obvious environment and deeply rooted patriarchal tradition that still hold down our very capable women down in bondage, someone has to show me hard evidence that this engineer had committed malfeasance where she used her office for personal gain. How much of the looting is she accused of? When, how she looted and where did she deposit it? These days all what I have been hearing is a slew of charges. We know innocent citizens were savagely hacked to death and their places of worship were torched to the ground with clerics inside but I have not seen one mug shot of those accused of committing such horrendous crimes. Such barbaric crimes were committed in Oromia that will make me live in shame the rest of my life in its sunset. Now similar savage crimes are being committed in Amhara region and all I hear is the rounding up of those suspected of carrying it out. Has anyone seen any mug shot or list of names? I tried to search for the nation’s Attorney’s office and found its website. What a disappointment!!! There is nothing on it. Then I searched for the ministry of justice just to end up with another disappointment. I am sure they have heard a thing or two about internet and website. May be they are busy feeding these savages who torched down churches and mosques, murdered citizens just because there were not one of them. I have not seen a single measure taken by the officials there as a deterrent for these savages. Who knows they will be allowed to go free on the occasions of one of these holidays.

    Ittu Aba Farda
    January 1, 2020 at 2:27 pm

  3. Punishing few people for doing the jobs the late Crime Minister Meles ZeNazi hired them to do and not punishing others for doing what the late Crime Minister Meles ZeNazi hired them to do is not justice or upholding the rule of law.

    Simegnew was free all his life not accused of any crime now all of a sudden after all these time 50 people METEC this that get arrested trying to find out things , maybe after Hailemariam Desalegn , Azeb Mesfin & the rest of all the TPLF officials pass away certain employees of TPLF military INSA EFFORT will get arrested for doing the u be when ch the TPLF’s officials hired them to do in the last 28 years.

    January 5, 2020 at 2:24 am

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