25 charged over loss of 6.5 billion USD in Ethiopia

Commercial Bank of Ethiopia
Commercial Bank of Ethiopia

Tamiru Tsige, (Reporter) –  Prosecutors of the Federal Ethics and Anti Corruption commission has charged 25 suspects alleging that they have  made and used a falsified Western Union’s payment receipt and two Commercial Nominee’s seals which prohibited the entrance of USD 6,546,699.57 to the country. The commission’s prosecutors filled the charge to the Federal High Court First Criminal Bench at Lideta on April 19, 2011. The charge alleges that the suspects committed fraud on the employees of the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) by presenting the forged documents and getting an export permit to export khat.

The suspects prohibited the entrance of the USD 6,546,699.57 to the country and used it to their own intent and this has damaged the county’s economy, the charge alleged. The charge also states that the suspects committed fraud and also made and used falsified documents.

According to the Charge, Commercial Nominees plc PC operator/ verifier, Ali Mohammed, its general service and real estate head, Moges Getahun, its driver Mekonen Gebremedhin and CBE’s International Trade Services and Customer Relations officer, Yonas Wondwossen are some of the 25 defendants.

It was stated in the charge that Ali Mohammed, after having made the forged/falsified seal, accepted Western Union’s payment receipt from Mekonen Gebremedhin who was ordered to distribute those receipts to the different branch offices. Ali also gave the falsified documents to Nasir Mohammed, one of the defendants, by filling the names of his eight accomplices, which are also among the suspects, falsified money transferring numbers and some amount of money, prosecutors alleged. The charge also states that Moges Getahun gave two forged seals to these eight accomplices.

The prosecutors charged the suspects alleging that they committed corruption by getting an export permit without concluding any contract to export khat with foreign buyers and without paying pre-payment, committed fraud on the employees of CBE by producing a falsified document which shows that they fulfilled all the requirements to get export permit. The prosecution also presented, 57 witnesses, 12 documents, among some as evidence the court. The case was adjourned for May 10.