Ethiopia arrests 59 officials over corruption, economic sabotage


Sahle-Work Zewde, Ethiopian president

Sahle-Work Zewde, Ethiopian president

Ethiopian Attorney-General, Berhanu Tsegaye, on Friday said 59 government officials were arrested on suspicion of corruption and economic sabotage in the latest sweeping crackdown by the administration.

Tsegaye said those arrested in an operation on Thursday included the head and other staff of the government’s Public Procurement and Property Disposal Service, while others worked in what was previously the Finance, Economics and Cooperation ministry.

“We found properties, such as title deeds of houses held by the suspects, which are beyond their income,” Tsegaye said.

After taking office in 2018, Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, promised to clean up state-owned firms and the military, and canceled many contracts for its military-run industrial conglomerate of Metals and Engineering Corporation (METEC).

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In November, Ethiopia arrested more than 60 officials, some from the intelligence services and some from METEC.

In January, the former head of METEC was charged with corruption, making him the most senior official to be charged after the arrests.

The latest arrests follow a three-month investigation, and included officials from the Pharmaceuticals Fund and Supply Agency and the Ethiopian Water Works Construction Enterprise, Tsegaye said.

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