Ethiopia: Thirteen arrested following fraudulent land loan scandal

 

ESAT News (December 27, 2016)

Thirteen officials in the Gambella region, western Ethiopia, have been arrested following controversies over land loans with investors from the Tigrayan region, who are accused of unfairly taking land and loans.

News of the arrest of the Gambella officials came as a surprise to many as the investors from Tigray have been the ones accused of unfairly taking land displacing the locals and  besides siphoning off millions of dollars in loans for personal enrichment.

A report issued by a team to probe into the case found out that most of the investors, who are from the Tigray region, fraudulently took multiple loans on a single plot of land.

The investigation found that nearly 400 of the 623 investors who took land for development in the Gambella region have reportedly taken multiple loans  on a single plot of land.

The Development Bank of Ethiopia, which issued the loans, said it is investigating cases where multiple loans were issued on a single plot of land.

It was not determined how much money was squandered but 200 of the investors took 50 million dollars in loans. Only about 15 percent of the 630,000 hectares of land has been developed as of this year.

The investigations found that machineries imported duty free in the name of the investment were not found at the development sites.