We, Will, Get You Whatever You Are- Attorney General Berhanu Tsegaye

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Ethiopia’s Attorney General Berhanu Tsegaye sends shockwaves to a nation that was eagerly waiting to hear details about the recent arrests of people involved in state-level corruption and human right abuses. The briefing focused on the METEC, Intelligence, and Justice Department. The press briefing was conducted in a room that was fully packed with local and international media. The briefing startedexactly at 3:00 PM EAT. Hours before the press briefing all media were invited to signup for the briefing on the official Facebook page of the Attorney General Bureau. 

Ato Berhanu presented his findings in three parts focusing on human right abuse, terror attacks, and corruption. The press briefing concluded with Q&A with the media. The press briefing was nothing like the country has ever seen in terms of detail. We present you the summary of the report as follows.

  1. Human Rights Abuse

While presenting the human right abuses that have resulted in the arrest of former federal prosecutor among many others, the attorney general shared gruesome details that exposed the existence of 7 ghost prisons in Addis Ababa.  That were used to abduct people and torture them for days before presenting them to court and these techniques were used to make people confess to crimes they never committed. During interrogation prisoners were subjected to rape (gang rape on women and male prisoners being raped by a male), In some cases, prisoners were subjected to waterboarding, left in the bush naked, tied with animals, fingernail removal and castrating.

As a result of this 36 people have been arrested, including higher officials. The atrocities were committed with the knowledge of people at a higher level and with theirs approval.

  • June 23 Bombing

According to the attorney general in the June 23 bombing, that was intended to assassinate the Prime Minister. The former security head (National Intelligence and Security Service) had a direct involvement more or less implicating Getachew Assefa the former invisible head of the organization. In which he recruited people from Kenya and who were mainly Oromos to give the impression that Oromos even disapprove their own PM.

  • METEC Robbery

Former officials from METEC were alleged in a mass state-level corruption in which the country has never seen before. The investigation unraveled 2-billion-dollars worth of purchase in the past six years without any formal bid. Most of the procurement were inflated up to 400%. In some cases, an organization made from 40 up to 50 times of purchase.

Billions of dollars were lost for a country thatmainly struggles with foreign currency tobuy medicines. The robbery was conducted in an organized way in which people were using their relative ties and brokers to conduct their operation.

Also related to METEC the attorney general shared details with regards to the purchase of ship and airplanes that violates the organization purpose.

Ship– METEC purchased two ships that served over 28 years from Ethiopian Shipping Lines. Even though the ship value at 3.3 million-dollar METEC made the purchase at a cheaper rate. Contrary to their initial reasoning of buying the ship to use the metal, METEC renovated the ship at a cost of 513 million birr and start operating the ship in Somalia and Iran shores without having official papers andflag. Finally, METEC sold the ship at 2.6 million USD but the money was not transferredto the corporate account.

Airplane– Without any formal bid, METEC has purchased an airplane at a cost of 11.7 million birr. Also, the corporation has caused a 24 million birr bankruptcy by purchasing value at airplanesthat don’t work. Currently, the government couldn’t trace the whereabouts of one ofthe airplanes.

In relation to the corruption charge, 27 people were arrested and are believed to be involved in money laundering, hotel purchase, and organized corruption. Police were able to confiscate bomb, weapons, house documents, and car documents.