Former top government officials, Bereket Simon and TadesseKassa appeared at the Amhara Regional State Court, under suspicion of wasting USD 90 million. The charge is damaging the public’s interest.
A 51 percent share of Dashen Brewery was sold to Duet Investment Group, a UK company, in 2012 for USD 90 million. Prosecutors say this was lost from the account of the subsidiary TIRET.
At the moment of the transaction, the two suspects were top officials both at the brewery and the conglomerate, according to regional prosecutors. Bereket Simon was a board chairman of Tiret Corporate and Tadesse was a CEO of the conglomerate. Both were members of the board of the brewery, claimed the prosecutor.
Prosecutors requested more time for further investigation of the brewery and the conglomerate.
Tiret, which was established in 1995 with 26.1 million birr capital, has its headquarters in Addis Ababa. This brought the jurisdiction into question.
Prosecutors opposed this because the wasted money is in Amhara regional state where the company is located, and its employees are.
The endowment was established with the funds raised from the former Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM) and 25 other founding members and it has various companies under its umbrella including Kombolcha Textile Company, Ambasel Trading House Plc, Belesa Logistics and Transit, Zeleke Agricultural Mechanization Plc and TikurAbay Transport Plc.
The suspects said they should be granted bail because of their health condition and concerns about security in the prison that they are being kept. Berket stated that he was insulted by youth while being investigated and added that he has a mistrust in the rule of law in the Amhara Regional State. He also asked why their case was not seen on January 24, 2019, stating that they were told they would appear.
Prosecutors responded that case was not seen on Thursday as the file was not presented to the court.
Bereket Simon was a former communications minister and a top government official on various boards including the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia.
The court has reviewed the investigation file of the prosecutors and after hearing the two parties adjourned the case until February 8, 2019, while ordering the security to be tight in the prison the suspects are kept in.(Capitalethiopia)