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The Office of the President which leased a 400,000 birr monthly residential house for the former President Girma Woldegiorgis has agreed with the owner of the house to terminate the deal as of October 17. The former president will then move into a wide green compound located in western Addis Ababa.
Even though the two parties signed a two year contract on September 20, 2013, reliable sources stated that they have now agreed to break the deal harmonically.
Solomon Girma, businessman and owner of Mesale Bar and Restaurant, told Capital that he has agreed with the office to terminate the deal, despite the fact that they signed a two year contract.
He confirmed that he received a letter from the Office of the President about the contract termination.
Sources close to the issue told Capital that the former President is allocated a residential house from the Agency for Government Houses (AGH), which manages business and residential houses in Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa.
Habtamu Sisay, Director General of AGH, confirmed that his agency has assigned a house for the Office of the President, but declined to give further details.
“The president’s office would be the appropriate body to provide details about the issue, because we have already transferred the house to them,” he said.
Apparently former President Girma Woldegiorgis’ new abode will be located in the Tor Hailoch area in front of the Netherlands Embassy. Capital observed some construction already in progress at the large residential house, which features a compound with a diverse array of trees and flowers.
Sources said that the Office of the President is undertaking additional construction including a service quarter in two different parts of the compound.
Capital’s attempt to get detailed information from Biruk Gizaw, head of the Office of the President, and Gebru Abraha, Public Relation and Communication Affairs Head in the office was not successful as both were not available for comment.
Sources stated that the villa has been a residential unit used by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). They rented the house until it was transferred to the office a few months ago.
The former President, served for 12 years after, Negaso Gidada (PhD), resigned from his position in 2001.
For one year he lived in the ground plus two house located around Axum Hotel, on Haile Gebresilase Avenue.
As per Ethiopia’s laws, outgoing presidents are entitled to retirement benefits including a presidential standard residential house, as long as they do not engage in political activities.
The ‘Proclamation No. 255/2001 Administration of the President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia’ states that the government has to supply an up-to-the standard residential house and other facilities for the outgoing head of state. The September 2009 proclamation no. 653/2009 further states that the government will provide benefits for an outgoing head of state, heads of government and other top government officials.
According to the proclamation number 653/2009 under the article ‘Rights and Benefits of Outgoing Heads of State and Government, Senior Government Officials, Members of Parliament and Judges Proclamation’, an outgoing President, Prime Minister or Deputy Prime Minister shall be provided with a residential house having four-to-five bedrooms, the administrative costs of which, including remunerations of housekeeping staff, shall be covered by the government.