Former Government Minister Bereket Simon Detained
January 23, 2019 (Ezega.com) - The Amhara regional state of Ethiopia disclosed it has detained former Government Communications Minister Bereket Simon.
According to a press release, the former government minister was arrested in connection with corruption, allegedly during his tenure as official of the regional state of Amhara.
Also apprehened was Tadesse Kassa who served as head of TIRET, an endowment organization owned by the Amhara Democratic Party, one of the coalition partners of the ruling EPRDF.
Bereket Simon is one of the founding members of the ANDM (Amhara National Democratic Movement, now renamed ADP - Amhara Democratic Party). He was also one of the founders of the ruling coalition, EPRDF (Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front).
He served in several high profile positions in Ethiopia over the years, and he was one of the key right-hand men of the late Ethiopian Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi.
In August 2018, the ADP suspended Bereket Simon and Tadesse Kassa from its central committee based on what it said was suspicion of corruption at TIRET Corporation.
In announcing the arrest, Zigale Gebeyehu, the Anti-corruption Commissioner of the Amhara Regional State made the arrest in collaboration with Addis Ababa and Federal police.
The suspects were detained based on audit of five of the seven companies, which found financial waste and violations of procedures. He said financial audit is still being conducted on the remaining two companies.
According to the Commissioner, the suspects will be tried in Amhara regional state.
Berket Simon was a very vocal critic of the current administration in Ethiopia of late, criticizing what he believed was the systematic underming of an established order from within.
Recently, he criticized the central government of collaborating with external forces, including the Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki, to neutralize potential opponents.
The arrest of Bereket Simon marks yet the highest escalation of offense against the old order within the EPRDF.
The new arrests will surely ignite fresh round of suspicions among many who saw the real motivations of these detention as primarily politically motivated, directed against those who are outside the good graces of the current rulers.