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Ethiopian police have arrested a minister and 11 other people on corruption charges, an official and state media said on Saturday, in the country's most high-profile swoop against graft for more than a decade.
Businesses in the region regularly complain of corruption as an obstacle to their work. Transparency International ranked Ethiopia 113 out of 176 nations worldwide in its 2012 perception of corruption index, where No. 1 is considered least corrupt.
That ranking puts Ethiopia above most nations in the Horn of Africa and east Africa regions, although Rwanda is ranked 50.
Melaku Fenta, a senior ruling party member and director general of the revenue and customs authority with the rank of minister, was arrested on Friday alongside two other officials from the authority, government spokesman Shimeles Kemal said.
"They were under investigation on suspicion of corrupt practices," Shimeles told Reuters, without giving details.
The spokesman said there were further arrests as well but did not give a total. The state news agency reported 12 arrests overall. Independently, newspapers said the arrests included a prominent businessman and customs employees outside the capital.
Global Financial Integrity last year said Addis Ababa lost $11.7 billion in outflows of illegal funds in the past decade.
Melaku is the most high profile suspect to be arrested on corruption charges since Siye Abraha, a former defense minister who was released in 2007 after six years behind bars. However, he was already out of government when arrested.
(Reporting by Aaron Maasho; Editing by Edmund Blair/Mark Heinrich)
Friday, May 10, 2013
Monday, May 6, 2013
The Ethiopian government said that it released 74 leaders and members of little known rebel group, the Benshangul People’s Liberation Movement (BPLM) this week.
The move was part of a peace agreement signed last year between the Ethiopian government and the Benishangul rebels after more than two years of negotiations.
Kalayu Gebrehiwot, general director of conflict prevention and management within the federal affairs ministry said other remaining exiled members of the group are also expected to return home.
The group has in the past carried out a number of attacks in different parts of the Benishangul region bordering neighboring Sudan.
It has been reported that the released rebel members have expressed remorse for their previous actions and promised to actively engage in developmental activities.
According to the peace pact, the BPLM faction agreed to lay down their arms and end their armed struggle.
The rebel group had been active in the Benishanguel region for the past 17 years.
The agreement is believed to relieve the fears of possible attacks from the rebel group against the massive power plant, the grand renaissance dam, which Ethiopia is building on the Blue Nile River.
In recent years the Ethiopian government has reached a peace agreement with a faction of separatist group, Ogaden Peoples Liberation Front, as well as with the United Western Somali Liberation Front (UWSLF)