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US can’t find Ethiopia PM Assets to Freeze: Report

By Samuel Gabisso

As the United States government seeks to impose punitive sanctions on Ethiopian government’s effort to fight back against insurrection in Tigray, the US Department of Treasury is “unable to find any major financial assets to freeze, belonging to Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed,” according to an AG source investigation.

The investigation’s report says US Treasury & State Department policymakers are in disarray, as officials are concerned with public backlash if US sanctions damage the popular trade program African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which mostly benefits poor Ethiopian women workers. The Ethiopian diaspora has held massive protests in Washington DC asking Joe Biden’s administration to avoid sanctions, and instead condemn the rebel insurrection and atrocities by the Tigrayan Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF).
U.S. Trade Representative Katharine Tai had previously urged State Department to pursue alternative sanctions regimen, which includes on individual leaders in Ethiopia.

However, the Ethiopian Premier Abiy Ahmed’s family has no foreign assets that the US can freeze, according to the investigation. Before coming to power in 2018, Abiy’s family lived in a low-income “section 8” housing in the US state of Colorado. Abiy also has no assets in other countries, despite gaining government positions in the former TPLF-dominated regime, in which the ethnic Tigrayan elite became millionaires (and some billionaires) between 1991-2018.  After being assigned to lead the Information Network Security Agency (INSA), Abiy’s troubles reportedly began when he started to challenge spying and media jamming orders by former TPLF dictator Meles Zenawi, who led Ethiopia for 21 years before his unexpected death in 2012. According to associates of Abiy, he opposed TPLF’s policy of dissident media jamming & censorship, since Ethiopia was not in wartime at that period. As the agency’s internal disagreements began, Abiy’s family reportedly left the country, since the TPLF security apparatus was famous for using family members as leverage to control non-Tigrayans who were assigned power during the TPLF dictatorship.

Once in America, Abiy’s wife Zinash Tayachew (who has become an advocate for the disabled and Special needs children since becoming a First Lady) had modest life, living on public assistance for years and serving in her Evangelical church in Denver.

With US sanctions proposal facing such obstacles, the US government is also facing backlash for comments referring to Ethiopian Airlines. The State-owned but privately-run Ethiopian Airlines is one of the most successful, oldest and historical African companies: a rare black-owned corporation operating worldwide with footprints in many western capitals. Recently, it became a subject of controversy after CNN’s Sudanese journalist Nima Elbagir (who was accused of working with TPLF members and lobbyist Von Batten LC) accused the airlines of helping Ethiopian government transport its soldiers into Tigray. But her claims were later debunked by CNN aviation experts who said Ethiopian Airlines did not break any rules by doing so, as many American airlines perform the same operation as well.

As leaders in Africa and Asia continue supporting Abiy’s Ethiopian government, including during Security Council meetings, the Biden administration and a handful Western powers are increasingly isolated in the horn of Africa. Nonetheless, instead of calling the TPLF rebels to disarm, Western officials are likely to double down on the failed policy of sanctioning Ethiopia. Top Biden official Samantha Powers recently spoke of more punitive measures and scapegoating Ethiopia, despite UN officials blaming TPLF as the “primary impediment” for humanitarian aid delivery in Tigray.

Another potential target of US sanctions was Col. Demeke Zewdu, security head of Amhara special forces in Welkait and Humera. Despite being a half-Tigrayan, he became a pro-democracy leader opposing the ethnic cleansing of hundreds of thousands Amharas since the 1990s, after TPLF re-drew Ethiopian maps to create a new entity called “Western Tigray.” Any US financial sanctions or asset freeze will also not affect Col. Demeke as he spent many of his years being tortured by TPLF and languishing in prison before his eventual release, as Abiy came to power. Not knowing that he is half-Tigrayan himself, some western media and diplomats accused his forces of ethnic cleansing Tigrayans, allegations that had yet to be proven.

Another US sanctions proposal has been additional arms embargo on Ethiopia, which does not impact the TPLF rebels who want to overthrow the government. In addition to weakening the Ethiopian military against rebels, Western arms embargo on Ethiopia is expected to embolden and encourage Sudan & Egypt to escalate their military aggression against Addis Ababa, thus potentially intensifying the conflict and destabilizing the whole region.

Despite US blaming “both sides” of the conflict since the TPLF insurrection began, it is unknown if wealthy TPLF military leaders would be targeted by US financial sanctions. Forbes magazine previously revealed that former TPLF government officials transferred over $30 billion dollars overseas during their rule.  Despite such massive corruption, they were supported by the West since TPLF officials advanced various US foreign policy interests (including the 2006 invasion of Somalia that led to mass atrocities). Thousands more relatives of TPLF elites have since moved into Europe and America, with many of them accused of recently paying expensive lobbyists in Washington and London.

Several TPLF members in America also have networks with Western journalists and media, including recently broadcasting pro-TPLF promotional ad videos on CNN. One of the most prominent TPLF leaders is WHO Director Tedros Adhanom who was accused of using his podium to amplify pro-TPLF narratives as well as use his surrogates to intimidate UN officials working in Ethiopia. Two of the main UN whistleblowers who revealed Tedros’s involvement in aiding TPLF rebels, UN-IOM chief Maureen Achieng and UNFPA head Dennia Gayle got suspended this week by UN upper management. Due to decades of one-ethnic TPLF rule and with Ethiopia being the headquarters of African Union (AU), Dr. Tedros has built close relationships with several key Western officials, including Samantha Powers, Susan Rice, Mark Lowcock, Michelle Bachelet among others.

8 thoughts on “US can’t find Ethiopia PM Assets to Freeze: Report”

  1. Dear Samuel Gabisso,
    Thank you for this good report.
    I have often wondered why Susan Rice, Gayle Smith, Obamas, Alex de Waal, etc are so enamored of
    Tplf despite the latter being known for acts of terror against Tigrayans for over four decades.
    I also am aware of Tplf/Meles Zenawi’s wife Azeb doling out cash to struggling journalists and Tigrayan “scholars” and precious metals to politicians, diplomats, and world leaders. I think Abiy Admin should follow up on this matter and leak it to the media. Just last week Trump and his family were outed for receiving $48,000 worth of gift from Saudis (max allowed is about $400).

    US belligerence knows no bounds. Following 9/11 the US should have bombed Saudi Arabia, for almost all terrorists are Saudis. Instead US forces went to Iraq. Before doing so however they needed to build the narrative of Weapons of Mass Destruction! Instead the US did massive destruction to Iraq’s infrastructure, not to even mention of the millions displaced, killed, maimed. WMD was simply cover for stealing Iraqi oil. Same in Afghanistan, Syria, Libya.

    How about Ethiopia. What excuses should Obama/Biden come up with. GERD was totally financed by Ethiopians to provide escape route from American aid. Tigray is just another of Ethiopian regions. Ethiopian gov is mandated to keep the country together and not give in to a group that had looted the nation and tortured and murdered by the thousands over three decades.

    So what is the equivalent of WMD in the case of Ethiopia? It is “human rights!” It is “famine” once again, as in the days of Derg. Can you imagine American temerity as defender of human rights having just emerged from two decades of destroying Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Egypt, Libya, etc for no reason whatsoever other than that it could? And America is siding with a known terror group and demanding it sit down to negotiate on equal terms with a legitimately elected gov!!

    Individuals like yourself should keep defending our country as well as educating the US public beginning in their respective regions. That should include organizing to NOT vote for Democrats!! Biden/Obama and bribable politicians have been recklessly misleading American taxpayer into destructive wars that have no meaning and have resulted enormous casualties, not to say of wasted trillions!

    1. Ethiopia needs supernatural God’s intervention and guidance. We pray for a massive revival in Ethiopia. By returning to our maker God almighty. In Jesus Christ name.

  2. Great article, and great comment.

    Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely! Example, US power.

    US officials seem to be controlled by certain gods – gods of destruction! They get sleepless when they are not bombing a country far away. The powers that drive them, the corporations that manufacturer arms and contractors + the cruel gods that are addicted to the blood of innocents.

  3. Wow! I am somehow gobsmacked to find out Abiy’s family had lived here in the USA as refugees let alone to had been so poor they needed assistance from the welfare department. This is very contrary to other accounts about Abiy and his wife’s lives I had been told that he had a long and rewarding career in the military receiving one promotion after another including but not limited to all his college tuitions were covered by the government. His wife was also in the military performing in the band. We were told that was where the two met. So when did she live here in the USA and for how long? Was Abiy with her then here too? If the author’s account is the right one then Abiy’s ascend to the top of the political food chain is an amazing feat and may or may not affect my perception about him. So when did Abiy’s wife and current First Lady leave Ethiopia to live here in the USA? I assume Abiy had stayed behind. How long did she live in public housing here in the USA? I now started smelling a rat and that dog don’t hunt for me in here! I am not saying the author’s account is wrong or just made up but the details are missing for me. Otherwise it is a well articulated article. Thank you sir!

  4. It’s a travesty and a noxious practical jock of the 21st century, being staged by the acclaimed mother of all democracies, the United State of America, to go to the troubles of searching for assumed and none existing assets of Pm. Abiy Ahmed’s of ETHIOPIA, for absolutely no apparent reasons what so ever, while the USA, England and the European Union looks the other way and stays silent about terrorist TPLF’S millions of dollars looted, stolen assets from the ETHIOPIAN people and the country, stashed, amassed in American banks and all over the European banks, as well as invested in lucrative various sectors of the American economies, including in real state. The disingenuous American politicians and the hierarchy of American government lunatics must take full responsibility for the miscarriage of transparency, democratic values, including the rules of international laws and the Geneva convention mandates.

  5. Dear Editors,

    I would appreciate it very much if you use your enormous journalistic acumen and find out when Abiy’s family fled Ethiopia to live here in the USA and how long did they live in Denver. Please note that Abiy had a rewarding career in and out of the military and we can justifiably assume that he was well paid. According to his biography he was never unemployed retiring from the military with a rank next to a major(I heard he was a colonel). He could afford to provide for his family. He was the director of INSA, board member of the behemoth nation’s telecom and also elected member of the parliament. All those positions don’t come with just chum change. That dog don’t hunt for me on this story. I will keep checking back.

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