Ethiopia arrests minister, 11 others over corruption

ADDIS ABABA Sat May 11, 2013 10:27am EDT

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ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - 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)

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Comments (3)
ETER wrote:
I was in Ethiopia for the last 3 years, beautiful country, people and culture. But unfortunately majority people are extremely corrupt and it runs down from family that people don’t really realize that corruption is not good. Same in DC area, many Ethiopians have tried to corrupt the taxi system and they were caught by FBI, they became each doing cash business, like parking lots or 7-eleven not to pay tax.I feel so bad that we are dooming our reputation. We need to wake up and be tax paying and law abiding citizens where ever we reside.

May 11, 2013 7:12pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
kukumolekote wrote:
Go Ethiopia. That’s one way of boosting the economy. PROUD. Keep puting them theifs away so the honest and the well educated can have their spot. HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY.

May 13, 2013 7:46am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Abel2 wrote:
Just another ruse to appear tackling deepening corruption to milk US taxpayer cow but primarily to get rid of political opponents. This is a passing episode and will not include the late-Prime Minister and his wife or ex-foreign minister Seyoum Mesfin or Bereket Simon, etc.

May 14, 2013 11:54am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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