Jail time extended for real estate tycoon: High Court overrules First Instance Court’s decision to release Ermias on bail

Ermias T Amelga, founder, first CEO and former board chairman of Access Real Estate’s (ARE)

Ermias T Amelga, founder, first CEO and former board chairman of Access Real Estate’s (ARE) will remain under custody, after the High Court overruled the First Instance Court’s decision that he be released on bail.

On Friday March 25, the High Court ordered for the embattled businessman to stay under custody following police’s appeal of a lower court decision to set him free on half a million birr of bail.

The Arada Division of the Federal First Instance Court ordered for Ermias’ release on bail on Thursday March 24 afternoon. The First Instance Court dismissed claims by police that more time is needed for further investigation, stating instead that there has been an adequate period of time for investigations since Ermias was arrested in mid January.

The former CEO of Acess appeared at the First Instance Court seven times with the court extending his time in custody, until Thursday. The High Court accepted the police appeal who claimed it need more days for further investigation.

Ermias has been arrested on suspicions of mismanaging 1.4 billion birr collected from over 2,500 home buyers eight years ago, and then failing to deliver a single home to ARE’s clients.

The former CEO has been also been accused of issuing bouncing checks for homebuyers who demanded refunds for their payments on homes. The suspect is expected to appear tomorrow at the Federal High Court at Arada Division.