Yet again, last week saw another season where federal authorities...

Nov 21 , 2018

Yet again, last week saw another season where federal authorities made a wave of arrests of senior government officials suspected of alleged corruption. This time around though members of the deep state - the high brass military officers - have been rounded up, including Kinfe Dagnew (M. General), former chief of the state-owned Metals & Engineering Corporation (MetEC).

He was arrested, alongside Teklebrehan Woldearegay (M. Gen), former head of the Information Network Security Agency (INSA), through the joint operations of police in the Tigray Regional State and federal police forces, according to gossip. Nonetheless, since there was no court warrant issued to arrest Teklebrehan, he was released subsequently, claims gossip. Kinfe was brought to Addis Abeba the same day, transported with a yellow military chopper and handcuffed upon disembarking.

It was not also the first time for a senior official from the most feared intelligence agency, the National Intelligence & Security Agency (NISA), to be taken in custody, gossip recalls. However, the arrests last week of a large number of people from the law enforcement community (police, intelligence and prison administration) makes it an unprecedented occurrence, more so that many suspects are being held under police custody on allegations of massive human rights abuses, gossip observed. The list included Yared Zerihun, deputy director of NISA.

It is interesting to note that the wave of arrests of no less than 60 suspects preceded a very vital decision the political leadership of the EPRDF made a week ago, gossip revealed. Not publicly announced or reported by the media - unusual for such a meeting - the Executive Committee meeting of the ruling EPRDF was called on November 6, 2018, gossip disclosed. It was during this meeting that members of the top leadership of the party were presented with findings by the Attorney General, Brehanu Tsegaye, disclosed gossip.

It ought to have been one of the most trying times for members of the top leadership to walk the talk of the party’s pronounced desire to hold those allegedly responsible accountable, claims gossip. Many of the arrested have been loyal defenders of the regime in crucial security and police agencies, says gossip.

It remains unclear whether or not a list of names was presented at the Executive Committee meeting beyond the results of a five-month investigation by the police and the Attorney General in relation to alleged misuse of funds at MetEC and abuse of power at law enforcement agencies. However, some in the gossip corridors claim that a list of close to 126 suspects was revealed during the meeting, signalling that the news of more arrests is in store for the days to come, according to gossip.

Some of the high valued suspects may loom large; but a number of them may have parliamentary immunity that is required to be revoked before arrests are made, gossip says. Such sessions in the federal parliament are expected to take place in the days ahead, claims gossip.

The consensus made in the inner circle of the EPRDF was for the Administration of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) to take the investigations against allegations of graft and abuse of human rights as far as it may go, gossip says. An agreement has been made not to shield in the form of party and ethnic affiliations and to wrongdoers accountable, gossip disclosed.

There will be little if any surprises if the scope of the criminal investigation expands to other areas such as the power, telecom, transport and broadcasting sectors, gossip foresees. Thereby, Abiy’s administration’s determination to take the probe deep and cover the full course of this matter will be seen in due time, claims gossip.

PUBLISHED ON Nov 21,2018 [ VOL 19 , NO 969]

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