Ethiopia: Anti-corruption drive falls short of public expectations
September 25, 2017
An anti-corruption drive that threw dozens of mid-level government officials and private business owners into prison has once again fallen short of catching long known highly corrupt individuals like Azeb Mesfin, the wife of the late tyrant, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.
"Anything short of arresting Azeb Mesfin and her partners in the ruling party like Abai Tsehaye, Seyoum Mesfin and retired TPLF guru Sebhat Nega" is a mockery of justice," an observer who has long studied TPLF and EPRDF tells Ethiomedia during a phone conversation.
"I try to make ends meet," Azeb said during a recent radio interview with a ruling party propaganda worker. "I raise my kids with the salary the government pays me."
The children of Meles and Azeb have been going to a private school in London, and yet "Azeb mocks at our conscience by telling the Ethiopian people how she struggles to manage her family life from the money she gets as a salaried one.
Azeb is the CEO of EFFORT, a business empire that has several multi-billion-dollar business establishmensts and yet has never been audited. Recently, Azeb awarded a soccer club in Tigrai region about 30 million Birr as bonus.
"Whether Meles, my children or I don't have any property at all," Azeb told the radio, which the public treated as more of a comedy than a serious interview.
In an article 'Azeb Mesfin: The woman from Gadarif" - prominent Ethiopian journalist Abebe Gellaw (and current CEO of the satellite-based TV - ESAT) wrote,"Despite the fact that she claimed to be suffering from poverty, Azeb is now overseeing multi-billion dollars projects and juggling too many balls simultaneously. One of her most important projects she manages is an expensive grand palace being built at an outlay of over 80 million birr. According to Edwardo Molano, Africa correspondent of the Spanish newspaper, ABC Internacional, Azeb spent 1.2 million Euro in one shopping spree in Europe. As Azeb Mesfin has not come out to deny the report or file a defamation lawsuit against the paper, one can take the silence as an admission of guilt. Now that she is fully in control of the purse of EFFORT’s multi-billion dollar business empire, the cost of Azeb’s annual shopping sprees will probably be enough to feed millions of starving families."
It is with this very limited background information that the recent corruption drive shied away from threatening to arrest the powerful sharks in power. And as long as Azeb, Seyoum Mesfin, Sebhat Nega, Abai Tsehaye, Arkebe Okubai, and many others remain untouched, the anti-corruption drive is nothing but a political stunt more to deceive the international community than the silenced domestic audience.
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