The prosecution in the case of Addis Degefu against the legendary athlete Haile Gebreselassie was closed after the plaintiff dropped his charges. Haile was apparently accused of changing the lock on a door of one of the tenant’s, in order to vacate a company. Haile appeared for this particular case at the Federal First Instance Court, first criminal bench, Yeka District on June 6, 2012.
The two sides agreed to finish the case with a mediation in the presence of elders on Friday June 08.
Addis Degefu told Capital that both sides in the meeting agreed to suspend each other’s litigation, with Addis agreeing to pay 30 percent of the 92,000 birr demanded from him as rent arrears to be payable to the government as tax, while Haile agreed to return the computers and office accessories he had confiscated from Addis.
Capital could not reach Haile or his associates for further comment.
When the charge was brought on April 26, by federal prosecutor Terhas Gebre-Egzabher, the athletics star had been summoned to appear before court on May 18, for deliberations, but Haile’s no-show had prompted the court to issue an arrest warrant which was later reversed into a 1,000 birr fine.
The changing of the lock that led to the accusation of the famous sportsperson, who has also managed to become a prominent businessman, took place after Haile & Alem International Plc and its tenant, Addis Ababa Car Purchase, Sales, & Rental Plc, disagreed over the termination of their contract.
After the dismissal of the case, a visibly animated Haile said the aggrieved party, Addis, had given the prosecution a selective list of the contract gouging out the part that stated his prerogative to terminate the contract in case the tenant is found to have used the premises for purposes other than what was stated in the contract.
“People and journalists were asking me while I was trying to compete in Hengelo, Holland about a prison warrant and whether I was permitted to run at the competition while a judicial decision awnited me back home,” Haile said.
He also said immediately after the verdict that his name and reputation had already been wrongly defamed, even though he was exonerated, adding that he intended to take civil and criminal action against the plaintiff party.
Addis while admitting that he had been operating under the guise of his employees, an Internet café, said it wasn’t a separate business he opened, but one supporting his existing car rental and sales business.