ADDIS ABABA – (BORKENA) – The 65 billion birr embezzlement of the former Metals and Engineering Corporation (MetEC), now the Ethio-Engineering Group (EEG), was high on the agenda of the side talks of this week-end.
The Private Weekly, the Reporter, has disseminated the report that 65 billion birr vanished into thin air from the coffer of MetEC. Take a pose here and think of what that huge amount of money means to this poor country, with its war-tattered regions, demolished education and health facilities… famine-crushed and displaced compatriots…
According to the news source, the huge loss of money was discovered by the state-owned enterprise, Audit Service Corporation. This amount of money was stolen by senior officials of the then MetEC through a variety of schemes within 10 years of its establishment (between 2010 and 2020). This shows that the country has been robbed of 6.5 billion birr annually in a row for ten years.
Dear fellow country men, if my poor mathematics is correct, we, as a nation lost 542 million birr in a month; 18 million birr in a day; 752,000 birr in an hour and 12,538 birr in a single minute or 208 birr in a second or in the blink of an eye for ten years in succession.
However, after all this loss, the newly appointed CEO of EEG, Sulieman Dedefo (ambassador) said that his office submitted a request to the Federal Government of Ethiopia so that the lost money would be written off from the balance sheet of history (sorry, I mean from the balance sheet of the state-owned enterprise). Following the request, it seems that the Federal Government did not take a breath before accepting the request to write off the loss… I am not clear with this thing, sir!
Here, people are asking in surprise the fools’ questions regarding this “write off” thing… Why did EEG request the cancellation or the write off of the lost money from the balance sheet? Is it an appropriate way of working? If yes, is it the mandate of EEG? Why did the Federal Government accept the request of cancellation immediately? Is it its mandate to allow the cancellation of public property? Just to ask whether the issue was discussed by the highest governing bodies, the Council of Ministers or the Parliament… Can anyone help here, please?
By the way, shouldn’t the culprits be held legally accountable for the loss? Shouldn’t there be further investigation if these allegedly responsible individuals have properties (fixed and movable ones like buildings, hotels, farms, heavy-duty trucks, vehicles…) that can legally be auctioned to compensate for at least a fraction of the loss?
The news report says that the former MetEC leaders are under police custody for their theft and embezzlement with the enterprise. If the loss is said to be written off, what is the significance of keeping the officials under arrest?