Crony tax evader runs to Tigray to flee court warrant


Ghion Hotel, Bahir Dar

ESAT News (November 17, 2016)

A close relative of the former dictator Meles Zenawi, who leased the Ghion Hotel, a landmark in Bahir Dar twenty-two years ago without public auction, run to his hometown in Tigray to hide after a court warrant was issued to arrest him.

Woldu Wolde-Aregay was given the Ghion Hotel on a miniature lease payment of about $250.00 due to his connection to the powers that be.

The Supreme Court in the Amhara region found Wolde-Aregay guilty after a federal revenue authority in the region brought a case of tax evasion against him. He was sentenced to 7 years in jail. No sooner Wolde-Aregay was thrown in jail than he was released on bail thanks to another heavyweight in the oligarchy, Sibehat Nega.

Wolde-Aregay run to Adwa, his hometown in Tigray after he was released on bail. Attempt by the Amhara Regional Police that went to Tigray to arrest him was to no avail.

Not only the Amhara police were told by the authorities in Tigray that they would not handover one of their own, they were beaten and detained. They  were released on Tuesday and were told to leave Tigray immediately, which they did, according to ESAT’s sources.

Wolde-Aregay’s son, Bisrat, who manages Ghion Hotel, has allegedly harassed and threatened the mayor of Bahir Dar after his bid to buy and own the hotel with the help of Tigrayan generals has failed.

“Tigrayan security forces go anywhere in Ethiopia to arrest people without a court warrant but they wouldn’t handover a felon when it comes to one of their own,” said a close observer of the case.

“Tigrayan forces have arrested several people in the Amhara region. But their attempt this past summer to arrest Col. Demeke Zewdu, the leader of a movement in north Gondar to reclaim areas annexed to Tigray, has sparked an uprising against the regime,” he recalled.