Court amends charges on well-known businessmen

As per the rules of the Federal High Court, the Prosecution General Division of Ministry of Justice has filed its amended charges on individuals and companies in connection with criminal acts including; money laundering, financing of terrorism, illegally property confiscation and illegal money transfer.
It can be recalled that the then Federal Attorney General filed criminal charges on ten individuals and companies in relation to involvement with eight criminal acts in 2020.
The charge was filed at the Federal High Court- Lideta Criminal Bench and indicated that seven individuals and three companies had been sued on allegation of criminal acts that they did from 2016.
The individuals that were sued are Haregewoyne Tedla, Azeb Mihretab, Efrem Mulatu, Temesgen Yilma, Adefres Habte, Daniel Tibebu and Mesfin Asmamaw. The companies included on the charge file are: JJ Properties Management PLC, TTH Trading PLC, and Boston Real-estate.
However, as per the 3rd Customs Crime Bench of Lideta Division at Federal High Court ruling given on August 4, 2022, the Prosecution General of the Ministry of Justice has amended its charge and filed to the court last Friday.
As per the new charge, the Persecutor General has made Azeb Mihretab primary defendant and Temesgen Yilma, Adefris Habte, JJ Properties Management PLC, TTH Trading PLC and Boston Real-estate, and Mesfin Asmamaw as defendants from second to seventh respectively, while the rest who were mentioned in the previous charge have been excluded.
On its latest file the persecutor accused individuals and companies on the involvement of five criminal acts, of that, it claimed that the first two defendants have been involved on four criminal acts individually. The companies that are affiliated with them have also been included on some of the illegal participation.
The file argued that the individuals and companies had a role on abusing their power of attorney which they secured to administer Cosmo Trading PLC.
It said that the first and second defendants that have the right to administer the property of Cosmo Trading used the privilege and received a 61 million birr long term loan from Awash Bank,
“From the stated amount, the lender settled the 21 million birr for debt Cosmo owed Hibret Bank while the remaining 40 million birr was transferred to the company’s account at Awash,” it explained.
Besides the 61 million birr, Awash Bank has also approved and transferred additional 10 million birr for Cosmo Trade as over draft as a working capital.
Meanwhile, the prosecutor claimed that the defendants have used the money to benefit themselves or others rather than the benefit of the company.
Besides that the prosecutor claimed that the charged individuals and companies have a role for illegal banking activity, and money laundry besides breaching of trust.
The prosecutor has called 35 individuals as witnesses to testify the case besides 59 testimonial documents.
The court hearing is expected in October.
In another case, Haileyesus Mengistu, major shareholders of Cosmo Trading plc, has appealed to the Federal Higher Court Lideta Division 5th Civil Bench to lift suspended minutes regarding administrating the company on the aim to be able to operate the company’s day to day activity.

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