Ethiopia: MeTEC, family of Meles Zenawi implicated in land grab and embezzlement in Somali region

by Engidu Woldie
ESAT News (November 26, 2018)

Officials with the Somali region in Eastern Ethiopia say army generals and officials of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and the Metals and Engineering Corporation (MeTEC) were involved in the embezzlement of the regional budget and massive land grab for the last ten years.

Jamal Diriye, legal advisor to the regional president told ESAT that the massive corruption was revealed during the president’s working tour to various zones in the region. Diriye said during the visit by the regional president, Mustafa Omer, it was discovered that hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts have been awarded to TPLF officials, army generals and family of the late dictator Meles Zenawi.

Diriye said MeTEC, a military industrial complex at the center a corruption scandal, was awarded $1B birr ($36M) in contracts. The visit by the regional president revealed that MeTEC has been paid in full for the contract but never completed and delivered the project.

Army officers of the TPLF have also taken over 100,000 hectares of land and used it as collateral to borrow huge amount of bank loans. Among those implicated in land grab include the family of ex-prime minister, Meles Zenawi. Diriye said work is underway to give the land back to the rightful owners.

He also said a full report on the massive corruption in the region would be released soon.

The regional budget for the last ten years has been embezzled by TPLF officials in the name of project contracts, Diriye said.

Army generals of the TPLF who were at the helm of the management at MeTEC have been arrested and thrown into jail for wasting millions of dollars in contracts. It was revealed that MeTEC has performed purchases worth $4.6B without legal tenders. It also owe banks hundreds of millions of dollars in arrears.