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What Does the US Embassy’s Tweet About the AfDB Crisis in Ethiopia Suggest?

Yonas Biru, PhD

Yesterday, the US Embassy in Ethiopia tweeted the following:

“The U.S. Embassy highlights the importance of all nations observing and protecting the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations to ensure diplomats around the world can carry out their missions in safety. We are concerned by the assault and detention of African Development Bank (AfDB) personnel and call for those responsible to be held accountable.”

Soon After the Embassy of Canada retweeted:

“Canada remains concerned with the assault of @AfDB_Group diplomats in October, regrets that those responsible have not yet been held accountable, and is dismayed the AfDB have withdrawn foreign staff. Diplomats cannot do their job without the full protection of the Vienna Convention.”

Almost simultaneously, the British Embassy tweeted a similar message. The purpose of this article is to shed light on the timing of these and other similar statements. But first we need to briefly discuss two points: (1) The assault and detention of two AfDB officials by Ethiopia security forces, and (2) the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) system.

The Assault and Detention

Ethiopia was supposed to transfer $5.2 million to AfDB. The Ethiopian government sent the $5.2 million that was earmarked for AfDB to an unknown account in Panama. People who know about the Panama Papers know Panama is one of the money laundering Mecca of the World. For those who do not know about the Panama Papers, they are 11 million leaked documents, containing personal financial information, including 12 world leaders, 128 public officials and politicians, and wealthy individuals involved in illicit financial transactions from 200 countries.

The US’s Access to the SWIFT

The SWIFT is the system that facilitates and manages most international money and security transfers.
An insightful article by a Nobel Prize-winning Princeton economist, Paul Krugman, sheds a bright light on the US’s access to the SWIFT and its implications. The famed economist who is known for his lucid writing revealed two critical information.

  • Though the SWIFT is located in Belgium, the US has access to it after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
  • “Most of the world’s fiber-optic cables, which carry data and messages around the planet, travel through the United States. And where these cables make U.S. landfall, Washington can and does monitor their traffic—basically making a record of every data packet that allows the National Security Agency (SNA) to see the data. The United States can therefore easily spy on what almost every business, and every other country, is doing.”

Krugman concluded: “Santa may not know whether you’ve been bad or good, but the NSA probably does.”

The Diplomatic Debacle and the Aftermath

The AfDB wanted to know why the Ethiopian government has not sent the $5.2 million. The government insisted it has sent the money. On October 31, the Minister of Finance, Ahmed Shide, summoned the AfDB Country Director to his office. During the discussion it became clear that the money was not sent to the AfDB account. Instead, it was sent to an unknown account.

The same evening, Ethiopian security officers went to the AfDB country director’s resident and told him he was under arrest. At the time, one of the AfDB international staff was at his house. The Country Director reminded them that he has diplomatic immunity and that the Vienna Convention prohibits them from entering his house and arresting him. They beat him up and his visitor and took them to prison. The AfDB President had to call PM Abiy to intervene to secure their release.

Subsequently, the AfDB evacuated all its international staff until a transparent investigation is undertaken and the report is released. Though the PM promised that he himself will follow through the investigation, it became clear that he was not serious about having a transparent investigation.

After over a month, the President of the AfDB sent a high-level delegation to ensure the investigation is conducted as agreed. Their effort was to no avail. The PM tried to smooth-talk the President, saying “my brother, you have to trust me…” It did not work. The world knows the PM is a pathological liar.

The PM’s failure to keep his words escalated the issue to the AfDB Board. On December 19, nearly 7 weeks after the assault, the AfDB Board decided not to return its international staff to Addis Ababa until a fully transparent investigation is conducted and the report is released. To date, the PM has refused to conduct such an investigation.

There are two possible explanations. Either the PM himself or the Oromo mafia group that is ransacking the nation is involved in the $5.2 million scam. If the Mafia group is the culprit, the PM knows that throwing them under the bus will have serious repercussions. The mafia group knows he is deeply involved in looting the nation and its members will not go down alone.

Why did the US Embassy issue a public statement yesterday?

It is to be remembered that in an earlier investigation the US found that federal government officials were involved in looting and exporting wheat from international storages intended to feed starving Ethiopians. Consequently, the US discontinued food aid to Ethiopia until a transparent investigation is conducted and the results are released. The PM failed to have such investigations.

Considering that the US has access to the SWIFT system and controls the world’s fiber-optic cables through which all global financial information flows, it is plausible that it may have found out to whose account the $5.2 million is deposited. This is plausible because the source of the money is known. Tracking down its footprints and identifying the account number and owner of the account is not a difficult undertaking.

The reason the US and other western countries are taking a strong and coordinated stand is to pressure the PM. They know he cannot survive a truly independent and transparent investigation.


6 thoughts on “What Does the US Embassy’s Tweet About the AfDB Crisis in Ethiopia Suggest?”

  1. The Nigerian Mafias are known to steal billions of dollars from different Countries including
    USA, Australia ,Canada and others for the last many years since an online business is invented.

    I do not blame Dr. Abiy Ahemed and Ahemed Shide for the money transfer to Panama
    where Nigerian Mafias are protected in wrong doing.

    Why USA and Canada has to comment on African issues??
    Leave Africans alone!!!

    The vienna Convention?
    How many journalists were killed by Israel in Gaza war?

    Almost 2million Gazans are forced to leave their home and 20,000 of them killed
    including 7,000 Children.

    Where are Americans and Canadians to show their concern on the violation of international Law by
    benjamin Netanyahu?

    Where is the arest warant for Benjamin Netanyahu by International Criminal Court for Killing all those People and children?

    President Putin was convicted for taking Children from war zone to Safety and the Arest Warant was issued on him.

    How long can the World work on lies and frauds and on hates of others way of life and culture ???

    Shame upon Neocolonialists!!!

    1. Weigh guud!
      Isn’t this the classic case of red herring fallacy?
      Instead of attempting an explanation or defense of the activities you are bringing in Nigerians and what not to the table.
      Complete idiocy, I say!!!

    2. Are you accepting such a theft from Ethiopia by high level government Mafia?

      Are you applauding the PM for his incompetence to deliver a transparent investigation? I mean he should be highly concerned than Afdb.
      The Gaza story you are mentioning has nothing to do with this.

  2. Peace and security have spiraled out of control, exemplified by the assault and detention of two officials from the African Development Bank by Ethiopian security forces. On top of that The PM’s reputation as a habitual liar is widely recognized globally. Picture this: According to Dr. Yonas’ statement, after more than a month had passed, the President of the AfDB dispatched a high-level delegation due to the PM of Addis Ababa, known as the boy king, reneging on promises to address a pressing issue. This failure led to an escalation of the matter to the AfDB Board, involving Canada, Britain, the United States, and global concern persists until a comprehensive and transparent investigation is conducted. Despite this urgency, the PM has adamantly refused to authorize such an inquiry. It’s important to recall that a prior investigation by the US revealed the involvement of federal government officials in the illicit looting and exportation of wheat from international reserves meant for starving Ethiopians. Once again, the PM, often referred to as a boy king, has failed to initiate necessary investigations. Those who stand by Abiy seem to view Ethiopia as isolated from the rest of the world, but it’s truly shameful to witness these individuals who have pledged allegiance to Abiy.
    Abiy is the father of all lies and he cannot even finish a sentence without contradicting himself! His associates, such as Ahmed Shide, are also in that category.
    Some of Abiy’s lies in flashbacks:
    It is the Oromo who is being killed in Welega
    We do not arrest without checking first.
    We will be united. 
    We will eliminate ethnicity.
    I cried when a French woman asked me to marry her. 
    TPLF is a scattered flour in the air and no negotiation at all.

    And to cite a few international news narratives about Abiy:
    Washington post – from noble hero to driver of war
    NY times- wielding hunger as a war
    The economist – using starvation as a weapon.
    The Telegraph UK – deliberately starving Tigray to death.
    Within the last five years, hardworking Ethiopians have no food to eat and no clothes to wear and they are alienated and made stranger in their own country by the tribalist Abiy and his cronies and he is making fun of eating once a day.
    Inflation and consumer prices are going through the roof. Peace and security have spiraled out of control, exemplified by the assault and detention of two officials from the AfDB by security forces. There are 21 credit score tiers, and Ethiopia currently occupies the 21st position, marking the lowest tier. It is so shaming Ethiopia has defaulted for the first time in history. This occurrence is unprecedented in Ethiopian history and coincides with the tenure of the current prime minister of Addis Ababa, who is often referred to as the boy-king.
    Abiy is coward and has no education or talent to lead a county. He just copied and pasted Machiavellianism of the 15th century and applied it in the 21st century to promote his unethical and opportunistic ways of manipulating the innocent and poor Ethiopian people.

    When is Abiy lying? Whenever his lips moving!

  3. The so-called pp activists are talking nonsense always!!!! they should not be allowed to have an opinion on matters that they have no idea at all. I hope you are joking when you accuse the West for Palestine…….. Really? After supporting a government that carried out the most devastating war on its people, and murdered more than a million youngsters, by the way, it is recorded as the most brutal war after WW2,

  4. Thank you Brother Yonas for your revealing report. If that is true it may come as something shocking to many readers. But it does not surprise me a bit. Such egregious behavior comes with the territory when all facets of governance are set up exclusively on ethnic lines. When you have a structure like that those with decision making authority are usually old buddies whose friendship goes way back to their places of birth. With a little of luck and audacity they will manage to wrestle away the mantle of running a region and the country. Then they have everything on their own with the nation’s coffers stuffed with billions of dollars within their reach. Well, one of them will dip his sticky fingers in the coffers with others turning blind eyes at the heist. You don’t expect them to out one of their own! That ain’t gonna happen. In fact after watching those sticky fingers of their beloved friend some of them may feel that they are being left out and will join the frenzy. That is what you get when you have a governance and constitution not based on the rights of the individual first and foremost. Commies designed and put it in place in 1991 and their after-births are reaping the end results now; which is rampant malfeasance. I ain’t surprised!!!

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— U.S. Embassy Addis (@USEmbassyAddis) December 27, 2023
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