November 15, 2018 - Major General Kinfe Dagnew, former head of Metals and Engineering Corporation (METEC), was in federal high court 10th criminal bench today. He is said to have requested for court appointed attorney to represent him. The court, however, rejected his request to get a public defense lawyer.
Major General Kinfe Dagnew told the court yesterday that he can’t afford to pay for a defense lawyer. He said his income is 4,000 birr per month and can't afford a lawyer.
However, police told the court today that they have evidence showing General Kinfe Dagnew deposited and withdrew 100,000 Birr from his bank account between 24/10/ 2018 and 29/10/2018.
In opposing his request for public defender, police also presented as evidence properties owned by Major General Kinfe Dagnew, incluidng a 80,000 Birr vehicle, a house in Bishoftu town, and various shares in companies.
The court adjourned the next hearing until November 19, 2018.
The court, however, accepted a request by Fitsum Yeshitila, another defendant and former employee of the Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation (EBC), to get a public defender. She is accused of receiving 954,770 birr from METEC in an illegal sponsorship deal.
In another development, Yared Zerihun, former Deputy Head of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) and Commissioner General of Federal Police Commission, appeared in court today on charges of abuse of power and corruption.
He is accused of jailing people in secret prisons, pulling males genitals with pliers, exposing prisoners to ants, forcing prisoners to travel to Eritrea and bring weapons and lay the blame on them.
Yared Zerihu, who is from Southern Ethiopia region, is also accused of accumulating large amount of wealth, according to the police.
He was taken into custody by police yesterday in Dukem, some 30 km south of Addis Ababa.
Similarly, Colonel Gudeta Olana, head of security division at the Ethio-telecom, has been apprehended by police.
Arrest warrant is still outstanding for former head of NISS, Getachew Assefa, who was also accused of gross human rights violations by the Attorney General of Ethiopia. His whereabouts are currently unknown.