by Engidu Woldie
ESAT News (January 23, 2019)
The anti-corruption commission for the Amhara region says Bereket Simon, the former board chairman of TIRET, the regional business conglomerate, and its former CEO, Tadesse Kassa, would soon be brought before a court on suspicion of misappropriation of millions of dollars.
The duo were arrested today at their residences in the capital Addis Ababa and whisked away to Bahir Dar, the capital of the Amhara region.
In August 2018, the central committee of the Amhara Democratic Party (ADP), formerly the Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM), removed founding members of the Movement, Bereket Simon and Tadesse Kassa also widely known by Tadesse Tinkishu from membership in the central committee.
The regional anti-corruption commissioner, Zigale Gebeyehu, said in a press statement soon after the arrest of the duo that auditing performed on five partner companies show that buying of shares, purchases and down payments had been illegally performed, resulting in loss of millions of dollars to TIRET.
Gebeyehu said shares were bought without any “feasibility studies” and TIMRET had even made payments of shares on behalf of its partners. He mentioned La Palma Mineral Company, Beyeda Chemical plc, Bahir Dar Motors, Istanbul Gas Manufacturing and Dessie Medado Water Factory as some of the companies that had been audited. The commissioner said purchase of shares of these companies and other financial activities were performed illegally.
Bereket Simon also worked at various capacities with the federal government – spokesperson and minister of information among others – and was seen as the right-hand man for the former Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi. He was particularly remembered for his role in the 2005 rigged election where security forces shot and killed at least 200 people who simply demanded for their vote to be respected.
Upon the death of Zenawi, Bereket’s role in politics faded away.
“So. Finally that criminal Bereket Simon, ex-Goebbels of dictator Meles Zenawi, has been arrested in #Ethiopia. Many can breath better now,” tweeted Ana Gomes, a Portugeses member of the European Parliament, who was the head of the EU election observer team in the 2005 election.
“I will never forget his cruelty on 8 June 2005, with hundreds massacred in Addis Ababa, after stolen elections of May 15. I am for Truth Commissions, but worst criminals must go to trial,” she added.
The commissioner meanwhile said they have enough evidence to file charges against the two suspects. He also said further investigation were also underway.