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The Federal High Court First Criminal Bench freed Kassim Fite, former manager of the Land Administration and Management Office of the Addis Ababa City Administration, from corruption charges.
During the hearing on Thursday April 29 at Ledeta two other members of the administration were also acquitted of similar charges.
The court found that there was insufficient evidence to try Kassim and two others (Gebreyes Kidane, Lease Collection Supervision officer, and Bekele Gebre, Land Allocation Performance Sub-Process head).
The court ordered the three individuals to be released. They had been in custody since last August. The Federal Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (FEAC) had alleged the individuals committed acts of corruption when they held their respective offices. FEAC claimed the officials transferred a plot of land that was owned by another individual illegally to another party.
The Anti-Corruption Commission said Kassim deliberately allowed Yohannes Derseh, a hotel owner, to lease 500 square meters of land illegally in Woreda 3 of Bole Sub City, initially leased to Girma Afework for the construction of a 12-storey luxury apartment block about ten years ago.
The Anti-Corruption Commission previously asked the House to revoke Kassim’s immunity on August 2, 2013 so as to be able to formally investigate and potentially file charges against him.
The court also ruled that a fourth defendant Tesfaye Zemedkun, investigation and prosecution officer of the Addis Ababa City Administration Justice Bureau, defend a charge based on penal code of article 420, 1,‘any public servant who fails to carry out their duties in a proper manner, to the prejudice of state, public or private interest’, instead of the previous allegations of corruption.