Ethiopia: Arrest of army general suspected of embezzling 8 Million USD

ESAT News (August 3, 2017)

State and ruling party media reported the arrest of a general in connection with the embezzlement of 8 million USD from a government sugar project.

Brigadier General Ephrem Bange, an Oromo, and three others were arrested on Tuesday and brought to a court in Addis Ababa today. It was not immediately clear what connection the General has with the Omo Kuraz Sugar Project or if he held any official position with the project.

The charges read at the court indicate that the General and his accomplice who are still at large have pocketed 8 million dollars.

Also brought to court today were former head of the Tendaho Sugar Project, Yoseph Begashaw for misappropriation of 3.6 mill. dollars and head of procurement with the Ethiopian Roads Construction Corporation, Kassahun Kachi for siphoning off 1.1 mill. USD.

The arrest of the General followed a similar arrest of over 40 technocrats and business people in the last two weeks. Critics however say that the crackdown against corruption had avoided the big culprits in the higher echelons of the TPLF who have allegedly squandered billions of dollars from sugar and other development projects. Birgadier General Kinfe Dagnew of the Metals and Engineering Corporation and Abay Tsehaye, one of the founders of TPLF and a man with great power of influence are two names frequently mentioned allegedly squandering millions of dollars.

Last week, authorities released the names of 40 people whom they say have misused millions of dollars in procurement, contract awards and sale of lands among others. The suspects include former and current executives of the Addis Ababa as well as the Ethiopian Roads Authority, Tendaho Sugar Factory, Metehara Sugar Factory and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Cooperation.