The Ethiopian Federal Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (FEACC) has arrested the minister in charge of Revenue and Customs Authority, Melaku Fenta, and 12 high-profile government officials on alleged graft charges.
FEACC official Ali Suleiman told the Ethiopian Parliament on Monday in Addis Ababa that “among those arrested were minister Melaku Fenta, who doubles as Director-General of the revenue and customs authority, and his deputy, Gebrewahed Woldegiorgis.“
Suleiman said the officials had been under intelligence surveillance for over two years.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) learnt the latest move against the minister marks the country’s first high-profile arrest on corruption related charges since 2001, when the former defence minister, Siye Abraha, who is currently an opposition official, was similarly detained and later sentenced to six years imprisonment.
Ethiopian police made the arrests on Friday, May 12, after a court issued a seizure and search warrant on the minister leading to the recovery of an undisclosed sum of money, including foreign currency, from the residents of the ministers.
Others taken into custody included heads of customs offices, a prominent businessman and customs employees.
The commission said the arrests were made possible due to collaboration with the National Intelligence and Security Service as well as with the help of the public.
In a recent report, the Federal Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission revealed that it had recovered more than 1.1 million dollars and other government assets, including buildings and land, lost in corruption during the last 10 months alone.
NAN also reports that during the last 10 months the commission had investigated 339 corruption cases with verdicts given to over 164 cases.
NAN learnt that among 409 defendants, the commission had found 293 of them guilty of graft and related charges.
Ethiopia is ranked 113 out of 176 of the most corrupt countries worldwide, according to Transparency International’s 2012 report.