Oromiya Officials Jailed
Within the Oromiya region, in the town called Sebeta Hawas in the Addis Ababa special zone, more than 15 OPDO officials, town council administrators and civil engineers have been arrested on allegations of corruption related to land sales. The detainees were taken to a temporary prison in Dukem town and have been denied visitation rights for the duration of the ongoing investigations, say sources in Sebeta.
The detainees, who were arrested suddenly three weeks ago, were employees and administrators of the areas known as Sebeta, Alem Gena, and Woletei. The detainees were allegedly engaged in corrupt activities related to land sales for a long time. The sources also indicated that these people were said to have been arrested following the accumulation of evidence in the case.
According to our sources, beginning from the eve of the 2005 election, land in the towns of Woletei, Alem Gena and Sebeta was given to relatives of the administrators and to reward political allegiance. But, say the sources, the federal and regional governments remained silent on the issue, accruing political benefits in return.
The sources further revealed that these employees, administrators and engineers have accumulated considerable wealth over the past five years, competing among themselves to acquire cars and furniture from Turkey. The sources indicate that this publicly lavish lifestyle has forced the government to take sudden action.
The sources also note that in addition to the illegal wealth confiscated in kind from these officials, more than 10 million Birr was found in the personal bank account of each of those arrested in connection to the corruption charges.
Our reporter has observed that the offices of the Sebeta, Alem Gena, and Woletei town administrations have remained closed since the arrests.