(Addisfortune) The Federal High Court, last week, granted the Federal Ethics & Anti-Corruption Commission (FEACC) 14 days to investigate further into the cases of four senior managers at Assela Malt Factory. The four were arrested by the Federal Police for allegedly allowing the purchase of low quality barley and embezzling close to five million Br.
Daniel Assefa, who was appointed as the general manager of the factory a year ago, was arrested at Bole International Airport, while trying to fly abroad. Negussie Mulatu, Asegedech Seifu and Abebe Kelefo, all senior managers, were also taken into custody.
This comes three weeks after Melaku Fanta, director general of the Ethiopian Revenues & Customs Authority (ERCA); his deputy, Gebrewahid W.Giorgis and chief prosecutor, Eshetu Woldesemayat, were taken into custody on allegations of tax-related corruption. After that, a series of arrests followed, bringing the total number of suspects to 58, including the managers at Assela Malt Factory.
Established 29 year ago, the factory currently has a production capacity of 360,000ql, which is three times higher than the capacity was in its initial stage. A year ago, the factory underwent a massive expansion project, at a cost of 300 million Br, in order to increase its production capacity from 220,000ql a year.
The expansion project enabled the factory to meet 55pc of the demand from the five brewers operating in the country.
The factory purchases barley from farmers in Arsi and Bale zones, known for their barley production.
The alleged irregularities, which took place while purchasing barley were the cause of the arrests, after the Commission, aided by auditors and inspectors, investigated the issue, according to the Commission’s claim.
Inspectors discovered that the barley purchased by the factory was of a low quality, not meeting the expected standards, said investigators of the Commission.
The money made through this collaboration with suppliers, the Commission claimed, contributed to the personal gains of the top management, who are now in custody.