Recap of Monday’s shocking news of the unfolding TPLF’s corruption, crimes and political scandal in #Ethiopia via Mohammed Ademo, Executive director of Oromia Broadcast Network (OBN) :
♦ 63 suspects accused of corruption and human rights abuses appeared in court on Monday. 27 of the detainees, including former METEC deputy CEO B/Gen. Tena Kurunde, are accused of years of embezzlement at the state-owned conglomerate; whereas 36 are former officials at the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), federal and Addis Ababa police officers, and prison administration officials implicated in egregious rights violations.
♦- Per Addis Fortune, one of the suspects brought before the judge today was a spouse of Yared Zerihun, former deputy head of NISS. She’s accused of (attempt) to help her husband flee arrest.
♦- A federal judge on Monday evening denied all of the suspects the right to bail. Investigators were granted 14 days to finish investigation/file charges. More arrests (reportedly higher up the chain) are expected in the days (and weeks) ahead.
♦- Ethiopia’s Attorney General @BerhanuTsegaye alleges senior leaders of NISS orchestrated the Meskel Square plot to kill PM Abiy Ahmed in June using paid Oromo agents. Pretext: The killing of the PM, an ethnic Oromo, by an Oromo would give the impression that his own constituents did not support him.
♦- A five-month long investigation by the AG’s office uncovered 7 CIA blacksite-style secret prisons (villas and houses) across Addis Ababa that were used by NISS agents to torture victims —particularly terrorism suspects and political opponents — in order to extract false confessions.
♦- Opposition party members were tortured at the 7 secret dungeons until they withdrew their memberships. Those who refused were severely beaten. Some died from the torture. Suspects were forced to confess to owning illegal weapons and to sign documents admitting to various crimes.
♦- Torture methods: Electric shock, pulling male genitals with pins or hanging bottle waters on them, rape, hanging suspects on a tree and beating them, tying naked suspects to trees and leaving them in the forest overnight, waterboarding, pulling fingernails, putting pen in suspects noses, etc.
♦- Suspects were held alongside wild beasts. Female interrogators peed on the faces of male suspects. Detainees were routinely forced to drink a pee and gang raped. Victims were denied medical attention for life threatening injuries. Some were amputated, paralyzed as a result.
♦- On METEC: internal and external procurement, $2 billions worth in 6yrs, made without any formal bidding. Traffickers, who are relatives of government officials and who were paid commission, intervened in procurement decisions at times demanding and forcing a 400 % price increase.
♦- METEC imported used cranes from Singapore and China without any bidding (ጨረታ). One of the five cranes is now being used by an individual. Individuals, companies and merchants known as “affiliates” were routinely called by phone to purchase materials at highly inflated prices.
♦- METEC purchased two old ships valued at $3.3 million from Ethiopian Shipping Lines at a reduced price…to use the ships to transport heavy metals. It renovated the ships at the cost of 513 million birr. But the ships may have been used to transport weapons and other contraband between Somalia and Iran.
♦- The Ethiopian flag bearing ships apparently had temporary permits only to move between ports for maintenance. Yet they made several unauthorized and illegal voyages, including to China, for unknown missions. METEC eventually sold the ships for $2.6 million but the money was never deposited into the company’s corporate account.
♦- METEC allegedly purchased a number of airplanes without any formal bid. The private rides were used by government officials, primarily METEC chair Gen. Kinfe Dagnew. At least one of the airplane is now untraceable. The extravagant purchase left the state-owned corporation at least 24 million birr in the red.
♦- In sum, the detained METEC officials are suspected of money laundering, illegal hotel purchase, organized corruption and other grand thefts. In court, the suspects reportedly complained they were arrested without a court warrant after being called to attend a meeting. During a subsequent operation, police recovered bombs, other weapons, house deeds and car titles. Many incl. Kinfe are still on the loose.
*Folks, this is but the tip of the iceberg of the heinous rights abuses, grand national theft and institutionalized robbery. More scary, mind-numbing and dizzying details expected to come to light as the investigation unfolds. Buckle up..!