The Greek Community School accuses the government of trying to illegally seize its property.
As the situation heats ups, the school’s board of directors has now resorted to taking matters to its own hand by filing a lawsuit against the government, claiming that it had no legal right to take possession of the property.
In a press conference given by the school on Wednesday, June 7, 2023, regarding the current situation, the school’s lawyer, Zenebe Fikre stated that, “Our right to be heard has been denied, and our property has been confiscated by the government without our knowledge.”
As the lawyer indicated, the issue, which started three years ago in relation to taxation, has now reached a stage where the government has decided to take over the school illegally.
On March 20, 2015, the Ministry of Justice, based on the letter sent by the Ministry of Education (MoE), in a letter written to the Civil Society Organization Authority (ACSO) stated that the Hellenic Greek Community, which manages the Greek school, is not properly managing the school, and further requested the authority to establish a temporary board. Following the statement, the authority established a board which had 6 members from 4 ministerial offices, and one from the school’s parent committee and one from Olopikos Hellenic Athletic Association Greek Club to administer the school until it registered its endowment property.
The school lawyer now claims that despite the community’s great management of the school, the government has seen it otherwise, “On April 24, 2023, the court issued an injunction to stop the Ministry of Education and ACSO from setting up a new board to take over the school, for further investigation. The court is now considering the ownership and legitimacy of the school thoroughly.”
“Whilst this was pending, on last Friday June 2, 2023, the prosecutor filed a lawsuit and when we were appearing at the high court for a scheduled hearing; the court passed a decision without hearing our answer. The court ultimately ruled in favor of the government. As a result, those who claim to be the administration, we do not know where they are from have since been in the compound since Saturday,” the lawyer expressed, puzzled by the decision made.
Over the years, there have been multiple allegations against the school over corruption for close to 30 years.
“We had two appointments in court; no one was able to present any evidence. As a community school, the school exercises its right to write about taxes. However, the school uses collected funds for operations and is prepared to accept responsibility for any unlawful actions,” the lawyer underlined.
“Currently, the aim of these parties is to take over the land under the disguise of an endowment; this action was forced upon the school administration by MoE, ACSO, and others for their personal gain,” Zenebe pointed out.
The lawyer also alarmed that the school license which expired as of March 2023, has not been renewed by MoE, “On the other hand, when accusations arose, the school made the decision to change by becoming an international school and did everything required of it. However, the Ministry still didn’t approve our request.”
The doors of the Greek community school have been opened since 1985 and are in the community premises located around Olompiya. Currently, the school has more than 1100 students, who are mainly foreigners. The school has been well-known to the Ethiopian government, Greek Embassy, and MoE.
Capital’s efforts to contact the Ministry of Justice for an exclusive were unfruitful.