By Staff Reporter
November 29, 2019 (Ezega.com) -- The Ethiopian federal high court ordered former Major General Kinfe Dagnew and three other former officials of Metals and Engineering Corporation (METEC) to present their defense on alleged grand corruption charges leveled against them.
The suspects, namely Major General Kinfe Dagnew, former METEC director-general, Lieutenant Colonel Tsegaye, former manager of high tech industry, Colonel Shegaw Mulugeta, former head of the board’s secretariat, and Colonel Mohammed Berhan, former ethics and legal affairs head of the military conglomerate have been accused of purchasing 111 substandard radars and subjecting the nation to embezzlement of 214 million Ethiopian Birr.
In a court hearing on Friday, the court also read 17 other charges under the file of Major General Kinfe Dagnew and Brigadier General Tena Kurundi against 74 former METEC employees.
The charges include purchase and maintenance of ships that were done without legal bid procedures and that led the government to lose 544 million birr. The suspects have been accused of embezzling 1.4 billion birr during the construction of Tana Beles Sugar Factory.
The charges include the misuse of power and waste of the country's foreign currencies and offenses committed in relation to Ravera Hotel, PPC profile, Imperial Hotel and purchases of tractors without legal procedures that left the government in the red for another 415 million birr.
The purchase of 14,000 tractors and spare parts at a cost of 181,076,621 USD for the Adama Agricultural Engineering Industry since 2011 outside the legal procedures of the government was cited as one of the major corruption cases against Major General Kinfe Dagnew and his associates.
The charges said the tractors were of poor quality having different technical problems. Thus, more than 6,000 of those tractors which could not attract buyers are kept idle on the premises of the Adama Agricultural Engineering Industry.
The government has lost another 300 million Birr due to damages caused by rain and sunlight since the tractors were parked in 2011.
Prosecutor of the federal high court 18th criminal bench has presented 23 witnesses, 19 document and email exchanges, and different photographs as evidence against the suspects.
According to information obtained from the court, verdicts have already been passed on some of the defendants while hearing continues on the majority of the suspects.
The court has adjourned the cases of all suspects on grand corruption to December 11, 2019.
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