Ethiopia Drops Charges Against 63 Individuals Including Business Magnate Ermias Amelga

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The government has decided to drop charges of 63 individuals with alleged corruption and other forms of crimes. The Attorney-General has released the names of the individuals today who have benefited from the amnesty.

The list includes Ermias Amelga, the founder of Zemen Bank, Christian Tadele, Head of Political Affairs of National Movement of Amhara (NAMA), and Colonel Biniam Tewelde, former INSA deputy director.

Ermias was arrested two years ago with a corruption case related to selling his property to METEC. He is one of the innovative businessmen in Ethiopia who is well known for introducing new business ideas in the Ethiopian market. Christian Taddele was suspected of being part of the June 22 ‘coup d’etat attempt in the Amhara the region,’ while Colonel Biniam had been charged with corruption and money laundering.

According to the press release of the Attorney General, the government chooses to drop cases considering the positive impact on the reform in the country, national unity, and the benefit of the country and the public.

The cases include corruption allegations in Metals and Engineering Corporation (METEC), Ethiopian military corporation. The charges resulted in the arrest of dozens of employees, including Kinfe Dagnew, the head of the corporation. Some of them have now been released after more than a year in custody.

 

Additionally, allegations in connection with the June 22 case,  mass attack, and human rights abuse in Somali, strike in Benishangul Gumuz, and Sidama dispute had been dropped for those 63, says the statement. Fekadu Tsega, director of border-crossing crimes directorate in the Federal Attorney-General, noted that some of the released individuals had been charged with alleged human rights abuses. But they had no leadership role.

 

Moreover, Nigussu Tilahun, the Press Secretary of the Office of the Prime Minister, told the state media that the government decided to drop the cases ‘accommodating the requests being raised and noticing that the lesson has been taken.’

 

The regional government of Tigray had been criticizing the federal government claiming the detention was pointed to ethic Tigray officials. And last week, ethnic Tigray members of the Prosperity Party requested prime minister Abiy Ahmed on the issue. The prime minister promised that the government would consider the possible release of the persons, which have no direct relation to the crimes.

 

The government managed to detain only half of the suspects of multiple crimes, including corruption and high-level human rights abuses. Fekadu said that the government would work to bring the suspects into the authority of law without any precondition. Getachew Assefa, the former security chief, is one of the suspects of human rights abuse, and the court gave a warrant for his arrest about two years ago.