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Ethiopia Lifts State of Emergency Imposed in October

By Aaron Maasho

State of EmergencyADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ethiopia has arrested its state minister for finance on suspicion of corruption, state-run television said on Friday, part of an anti-graft drive that the government says has led to dozens of arrests in the last two weeks.

Alemayehu Gujo is the highest-ranking official to have been detained so far in the sweep that has also involved business owners. Zayed Woldegabriel, Director General of the Ethiopian Roads Authority, was also detained on Friday, the state-run Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation (EBC) said.

In an emergency session, Ethiopia’s House of People’s Representatives lifted Gujo’s immunity from prosecution, the EBC said in a breaking news announcement.

“A warrant was then issued and led to his arrest,” the broadcaster said, citing the Attorney General’s Office.

Friday’s arrest followed the detention of more than 40 officials from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Cooperation, the capital’s housing development agency, the state-run Ethiopian Sugar Corporation, and the Ethiopian Roads Authority.

Charges brought so far include embezzlement and the siphoning off of billions of birr.

The anti-corruption drive is partly a response to unrest that wrecked the Horn of Africa country in 2015 and 2016 and which was sparked by a scheme to development and expand the capital, Addis Ababa. The protests turned into broader anti-government demonstrations over politics and human rights abuses.

The violence included attacks on businesses, many of them foreign-owned, including farms growing flowers for export.

The government subsequently acknowledged that maladministration and abuse of power was rife and that it needed to broaden political participation.

On Friday, it lifted a 10-month state of emergency that was imposed in the wake of the unrest.

(Reporting by Aaron Maasho; Editing by Katharine Houreld and Catherine Evans)


1 Comment

  1. That is something never needed anyway but now citizens can go about doing their daily chores without the need to look over their shoulders. It is very sad though that those who went out there and shoot senselessly at every youth in sight during the protest are not brought to court. I am saying this because the government’s own body tasked to investigate the violence had reported the use of excess force by the police. All we hear is detentions and prosecutions of those caught protesting. What I am also hearing now is that those who gave the order to shoot protesters are now moved to different job assignments so they are no more in public view.

    All in all, I welcome the lift.

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