December 27, 2019 (Ezega.com) — The Ethiopian Attorney General has charged 50 individuals, including former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP) Engineer Azeb Asnake, with grand corruption and alleged misuse of power.
The suspects include Azeb’s colleague Bireda Maru who served as portfolio manager in EEP, Colonel Mulu Woldegebriel, former Deputy Director-General of Metals Engineering Corporation (METEC) and his colleague Lieutenant Colonel Solomon Berhe who was serving as Corporate New Business Development Finance Administration Head in the military conglomerate.
According to the charges read at the Federal High Court Fourth Anti Corruption Bench on Friday METEC and EEP inked contractual agreement in 2007 at a cost of 5.1 billion Birr to clear the forest found at project site of the Ethiopian Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and make the land ready for the reservoir and other purposes. The charges, however, states that the contractual agreement was poorly executed.
The attorney general accused Engineer Azeb Asnake who resigned as CEO of EEP in August 2018 and her colleagues Bireda Maru and other employees of EEP for failing to take managerial action for the forest clearing job poorly done; endorsing full payment for a job that was only 30 percent accomplished, and embezzling over one billion birr of public money.
According to the charges filed by attorney general, officials of METEC, including Deputy Director METEC Colonel Mulu Woldegebriel and other senior officials of the military conglomerate, partnered with officials of EEP to embezzle the allocated budget of the forest clearing work.
The charges said other 37 managers of private construction companies were accused of involvement in the embezzlement of the public resources without delivering the job they were supposed to accomplish based on the contractual agreement.
Lieutenant Colonel Solomon Berhe has been accused of paying half a billion birr to 37 construction contractors for jobs that were partially or poorly done. Legal procurement procedures were not followed as the contractual works were awarded to the 37 contractors, the charges read.
Ezega.com learned that out of the 50 suspects, four of them heard the charges against them at the Federal High Court Fourth Anti Corruption Bench while the majority of the suspects, including Engineer Azeb Asnake, are at large.
The court adjourned the case for Tuesday, December 31, 2019.