Corruption crackdown finds unfair bidding on meds, tech, wheat
Attorney General Berhanu Tsegaye says federal security forces foiled a planned terrorist attack plotted throughout the country and slated to occur over the last two weeks. The terrorists targeted crowded meeting halls, city squares and roads.
“Letters, photos, passports and other evidence indicate that an attack was imminent and attempts would be made to kill many people. Foreign based terrorists were involved, including Al-Shabaab’’ he said during a press briefing.
Berhanu did not say how many people have been arrested so far in relation to the terrorism case but he said they are searching for more suspects.
The Attorney General went on to say that 59 government officials, business people and other middle men have been arrested for corruption.
Those in custody include Haileselassie Bihon, the former head of the Pharmaceutical Fund Supply Agency, Yigezu Daba, director general of the Public Procurement & Property Disposal Agency, officials of the Food & Drug Administration Agency, the Pharmaceuticals Fund & Supply Agency and the Ethiopian Water Works Construction Enterprise are also under custody.
Public Procurement & Property Disposal Officials sold 400,000 metric tons of wheat to a foreign company who offered USD 94 million but the procurement should have been given to another firm which offered a lower bid of USD 75 million.
The officials neglected to transport the wheat using Ethiopian ships which cost the country USD four million. In addition, they are accused of allowing a local company to buy computers, which had not been proved to be technically competent.
Pharmaceutical Fund Supply Agency employees were arrested for buying 79 million birr and USD 479,000 worth of drugs from one company without issuing a bid. They were also charged with buying 92 million birr drugs from one company even though other companies offered lower prices in their bids.
Higher officials from the Ethiopian Water Works Construction Enterprise are also part of the crackdown suspected of buying 58 million birr worth of steel without getting approval from their board.
“Some of the suspects have left the country while others are here but we will work hard to find them and bring them to court,” the Attorney General said.
Berhanu says that violence is occurring in the country because people don’t understand the law.
“When we are telling people we are in a changing process to make a better country, some people violates the rules and damage their own country. By no means can we tolerate violence but we must have evidence to charge somebody. We are working to prosecute those involved in the recent violence in Amhara and Oromia regions.’’