Ethiopia arrests 27 senior military officials over allegation of mass corruption

Berhanu Tsegaye

Berhanu Tsegaye

Ethiopia’s Attorney General Berhanu Tsegaye said on Monday that 27 senior military figures had been detained over the weekend over allegations of mass corruption.

In a press conference given in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, Tsegaye said the corrupt activities, which had a span of six years from 2011 to 2017, involved purchases without tender bids of goods worth 2 billion U.S. dollars including a plane, ships and cranes.

Tsegaye said the military-linked conglomerate Metal and Engineering Corporation (MeTEC), which is building several mega infrastructure projects, is suspected of being responsible for the vast majority of corrupt practices.

“MeTEC officials and civilians close to them were involved in the illicit purchases of a plane, ships, cranes and other equipment and pocketed a portion of the purchased money,” said Tsegaye.

The Attorney General also said 36 other suspects, mostly intelligence officers, had been arrested over alleged human rights abuses including torture, murder, rapes and enforced disappearances.

Tsegaye said many of the human rights abuses were committed in seven secret prisons located inside Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

“Some of the suspects have already been presented before court for preliminary criminal hearings, while we are currently searching for other fugitive suspects,” said Tsegaye.

He said some of the fugitive suspects are believed to be hiding inside the country, while others are suspected to have escaped to foreign countries.

Tsegaye didn’t disclose the identity of the detained suspects. He also declined to disclose how many suspects are believed to be on the run. -Xinhua

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