Airport Enterprise officials deny corruption charges

The two co-defendants of the Ethiopian Airports Enterprise high officials Teshome Dejene, Human Resource Manager and Nega Wondimu, former Market Development Corporate Manager who appeared before the Federal High Court second criminal Lideta bench on Tuesday, December 4, denied the corruption charges filed by the Federal Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (FEACC) prosecutor. The defendants said that there was no wrong doing in the process of awarding the bid of Bole International Airport duty free shops. The charges are related to a 1.3 million birr loss the enterprise sustained due to inappropriate bid award. The third co-defendant, Legesse Tesfahun a businessman didn’t plea against the charges saying that he needs to consult a lawyer before responding. Accepting his request, the court ordered Legesse to respond to the charges made against him in the next proceeding. Teshome and Nega were released on 10,000 birr bail while Legesse paid 30,000 birr as bail for his release. 
The first defendant, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ethiopian Airports Enterprise, Shiferaw Alemu didn’t appear before the Court on Tuesday and was reported to be out of  the country. It was learnt that on a previous court hearing held on November 30, he has informed the court about his duty tour. This was not his first time to travel abroad after the case was formally submitted to the court in July 2012, as he travelled to Dubai after he was released on bail together with all the other three defendants at the time. 
The prosecutor accused the three defendants for illegally awarding the businessman Legesse Tesfahun the service contract to own a duty free shop at Bole International Airport when he did not win the bid.  According to the charges read in court, the different services given to the businessman made by the management and the business deals signed with him did not follow the proper procedure and that also gave way to corrupt practices.
The prosecutor argued that the request for the quotation from participants was clear. It presupposes for any participant to submit the renewed current Business License with evidences of paying the season’s duty, TIN certificate and VAT Registration Certificate. This call officially appeared on the government Amharic daily Addis Zemen newspaper in April 2009. But the winner Legesse Tesfahun didn’t fulfill this requirement.
The court on Tuesday was adjourned ordering to hear the prosecutors witness on December 27, 2012.

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