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Six individuals in the Benishangul Gumuz region were sentenced to 6-15 years in prison for practicing corruption. They were involved in bidding to expand Assosa Technical and Vocational College and Tana Beles Boarding School for girls. The bid on the two facilities was worth 79 million birr.
Two of the convicts, Yaregal Aysheshu, and Habtamu Hika, worked in the regional council. Yaregal was Head of the Benishangul Gumuz Regional Government and the Federal Union Project Agency. Habtamu served as Director of education and the former Councilor of the Council.
They helped Gedion Demeke, Owner and General Manager of Gedion Demeke Consultancy win the bid. Gedion and his advisor Assefa Gebeyehu were also convicted of corruption.
According to the region’s monetary transaction policy, whenever a contract is signed involving more than 300,000 birr, the region’s finance and economic development bureau must ratify it. However, Yirgal and Habtamu made sure that Gedion Demeke Consultancy would win without notifying the bureau.
Gezahegne Adege and Mekebeb Moges are the other defendants involved in the case. They were the contractors for job. They received seven million birr for the project which the court found excessive. Besides this they and the consultants were accused and found guilty of constantly bribing public servants.
In relation to this, more than five million birr was given to the consultancy which would not have met the requirements for the bid because it was not up to the standards stipulated in the proposal. In the contract, the company signed, they promised to finish construction within 13 months but it took them five years to erect the building.
Yaregal was sentenced to seven years in jail and a 20,000 birr penalty. Habtamu and Assefa, got 15 years. While Habtamu will have to pay a fine of 45,000 birr, and Assefa must forfeit 60,000 birr. Gedion got 14 years of prison time and a 60,000 birr penalty. Gezahegne Adege and Mekbeb Moges each have to serve six years and pay a fine of 25,000 birr.