Ethiopian ex-ministers up for corruption

2001-10-31 20:17

Addis Ababa - Several former ministers, including a dissident from the ruling coalition, have been charged with corruption in Ethiopia's supreme federal court, a pro-government news agency reported on Wednesday.

In all, a dozen people, including senior administrative figures and businessmen mostly held for the last five months, were charged on Tuesday, according to the Walta Information Centre (WIC).

They were accused by an anti-corruption body of abuse of power and of enriching themselves and their families.

Among the accused was former defence minister Siye Abraha, a key dissident from the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF, the main coalition partner) and a political opponent of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

His brother, Assefa Abraha, former head of the Ethiopian Privatisation Agency and former Prime Minister Tamerat Layne, already sentenced last year to 18 years in jail for corruption, were also charged.

Former deputy health minister Adem Ibrahim was charged in absentia.

Others charged included businessman and Daily Monitor publisher Fitsum Zeab Asegedom.

Under a zero tolerance policy on corruption announced in June, it is illegal to release corruption suspects on bail.

Lawyers defending the accused have asked to see the charges against their clients.

The case is due to reconvene in mid-November. - Sapa-AFP