November 13, 2018 - Former Director General of state-owned Metals and Engineering Corporation (METEC), Major General Kinfe Dagnew, was arrested, according to FBC report.
According to the report, citing Ethiopian Attorney General Berhanu Tsegaye, General Kinfe Dagnew was arrested as he was trying to flee to Sudan via Humera in Tigray regional state.
He arrived in Addis Ababa today in a helicopter. He is expected to appear in court no later than 48 hours after his arrest.
Video recorded by Ethiopian security forces, and shown on Ethiopian Television, shows General Kinfe Dagnew surrounded by secuirty people. He was then boarded onto a military helicoper and flown to the capital in handcuffs.
Major General Kinfe Dagnew resigned as head of METEC in April 2018, soon after Dr. Abiy Ahmed became Prime Minister of Ethiopia.
The Attorney General office alleges that METEC conducted domestic and international procurement worth US $2 billion dollars without formal procedures, in some cases up to 400% higher than market prices. It is also alleged that ships and passenger aircraft were purchased and their whereabouts are unknown.
In earlier report, there were unconfirmed reports that Major General Tekleberhan Woldearegay, founder and former head of the Information Network Security Agency (INSA), was arrested. He was reportedly captured along with Major General Kinfe Dagnew. However, these reports are not true and Major General Tekleberhan Woldearegay was not arrested, although latest reports indicate that he was with Kinfe Dagnew when he was arrested.
Major General Tekleberhan Woldearegay is the founder of INSA and its first head until he went abroad for higher studies. He recruited the current Prime Minister, Dr. Abiy Ahmed, to lead INSA on his behalf while he was away. He became head of INSA again soon after his return. He resigned from his position in April this year soon after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed became Prime Minister of Ethiopia.
With the arrest of Generals Kinfe Dagnew, a key figure from the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front (TPLF) security establishment, and dozens of others, the government of Abiy Ahmed seems to be starting a new escalation in the deteriorating relations with the TPLF. The TPLF has not responded to the current developments.
The whereabouts of the other major figure, Getachew Assefa, is unknown. Getachew Assefa led the Ethiopian National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) for about two decades. He is currently a member of the Polit Bureau of the TPLF. Heis believed to be in Mekelle city in Tigray. Yesterday, he was accused of serious charges by the Attorney General of Ethiopia, Berhanu Tsegaye, of basically planning the grenade attack against Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on June 23, 2018.
During a rally in support of PM Abiy Ahmed, bombs exploded killing two and wounding more than a dozen others. In late September this year, the government had briefed reporters that the grenade attack was planned and carried out by supporters of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). The TPLF was not mentioned as culprit in that investigation report.
The Attorney General also disclosed that 36 people suspected of corruption have been detained, including former METEC Director General Kinfe Dagnew, and METEC Deputy-Director General Tena Kurnde.
27 other suspects were detained in connection with human rights violation, including Addis Ababa Security Head Goha Atsbeha.
The suspects appeared in court yesterday. The court adjourned hearing until November 26, 2018.