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The Federal High Court 15th criminal bench in its session held on January 3 adjourned until January 18th the verdict for 20 suspects in the Seife Desta Gold scam case. The suspects are accused of being masterminds or accomplices to one of the nation’s most shocking scams.
On January 3, 2012 the court listened to some of the defendant’s complaints. One suspect was authorized to have evidence from the Ethiopian Geological Survey incorporated in to his case.
There were 20 defendants and a corporate defendant in the Gold scam case. One of the accused, Girma Anteneh, has since passed away. Nureedin Ahmed has been acquitted.
The first six defendants are National Bank of Ethiopia employees, while three other defendants are employees of the Ethiopian Geological survey, which is a division of the Ministry of Mines. Three defendants; Caff Mohammed, Mehadi Jemal and Abdulmajid Hayredin are being tried in absentia.
Among the numerous charges are: impeding governmental work, failure to supervise the transportation of gold, transporting fake gold, and failure to inspect the said gold.
The court has heard up to this time from 18 prosecution witnesses and 26 defense witnesses.
The Gold scam case, one of the biggest scams in the Ethiopian history is alleged to have happened between October and November 2007, where it is alleged the country was scammed 63 million birr having paid for 3.2 million grams of fake gold.
The case was first held by the Federal Police but was taken over by the Federal Anti Corruption and Ethics Commission (FEACC).
A separate group of six suspects are also being tried in connection with the gold scam. Their case is being heard at the 15th criminal bench and their trial is still ongoing.