Editor's Note:- Dear Ewnetu, your brave fight to free Ethiopian Telecommunications Corp (ETC) from corruption
is commendable. Your relentless campaign will bear fruit if the anti-corruption ferver catches fire, goes nationwide, and
brings about a regime change. The self-acclaimed Eritrean gang in power - Meles, Sebhat, Bereket - runs a huge business empire
built upon widespread and entrenched corrupt practices. Remember, these are men who have turned famine into a business worth
millions of dollars. Take EFFORT. There are an estimated 100 businesses under this secret group controlled by Sebhat Nega. The business
conglomerate established under the cover of "rehabilitating Tigray" has never been audited. Those in power have a voracious
appetite for power and money even they turn famine into a revenue-generating scheme. They are audacious that they create even
artificial famine in a bid to make millions of dollars.
They have to re-cycle famine year in year out to beef up their personal fortunes. Forget everything, even famine,
the tragedy, is a very lucrative business for them. In this regard, they have several years of experience that dates back
to their rebels days when the Business of Famine was booming along the Sudanese border throughout the '80s. Hence little
wonder if the small sharks in charge of small offices or corporations in Ethiopia today are soaked in corruption
themselves. You may ask where is Transparency International (TI), the Berlin-based group that investigates and reports on
govenment corruption. But you know what? Those in power are not fools either. TI's country representative is Amare Aregawi,
owner of the Reporter newspaper. And this is reminiscent of the Amharic saying, "Yayit Misikir Dimbeet." Or, birds
of a feather flock together.
We fought the corruption at the Ethiopian
Telecommunication Corporation (ETC) for almost five years. We tried to alert the so-called corruption watchdog about the nature
and intensity of the corruption sweeping ETC. In the stead of the guilty, the innocent lost their jobs; and from bad to worse,
they landed in jail with trumped-up charges. That is justice - TPLF style!
It is a drawn out fake trial
still going on though no evidence to back up the prosecution. The main purpose was to tell corruption whistle blowers that
exposing corruption is not tolerable by the government and its officials. The message conveyed to the corruption whistle blowers
was that such act i.e. exposing corruption is not worth repeating. The anti corruption activists never gave up.
They knew the truth shall
somehow prevail someday. They rather intensified their struggle. Protests started cropping up all over the country for half
a decade, 2002-2007. This protest against the naked and sickening corrupt practice –better described by the AAU scholars
as a ‘broad day light robbery’ – was/is given sufficient attention by the private media and the general
public. The corruption at the ETC was the full time occupation of the now defunct ex CEO of ETC who was practicing it with
undiminished force, power, or vigor.
The ETC employees got organized,
developed a website (http://gce-etc.tripod.com) , intensified their exposing campaign in the local private print media, they
even posted different and consecutive articles on the most famous and most widely visited website ethiomedia; and yet the
corruption kept on Sustaining an original intensity and force with no decrease. The most powerful corruption empire, however,
crumbled finally by its own momentum and from the weight of its own.
ETC’s own incompetence
due to the politically driven choice of executives and systemic and approved corruption, leading to wholesale loss of minimum
social acceptance as a trusty worthy company in the eyes of its own customers forced the current ETC managers to distance
themselves from the corrupt ex ETC officials and Board members who are still untouched for they are the politically untouchables.
The “politically untouchables” still disseminate lies and shamelessly argue corruption under the present government
is the work of a few bad apples like Tesfaye Biru in the public service, whereas in fact corruption is a state policy and
sanctioned at the highest levels of the executive branch.
The ex CEO is at present
one scared of his own shadow and never dares to come back home. If he just decides to come back home, I am very positive he
will not be charged with corruption charges for its ramification is very far reaching and complex. This tells the fact that
what is prevalent in present day Ethiopia
is KLEPTOCRACY, literally rule by THIEVES.
The ex CEO disregarded specific
company rules on tender and procurement as well as internationally accepted business norms in the exercise of self-granted
unlimited and unchecked power to purchase any item that involved any amount of money without the consent of the Board of Directors.
The Board of Directors was/is not empowered under the law to delegate all its powers to the CEO and idly seat back to watch
a corruption drama to which, actually, it is a party and a beneficiary of whatever it trickles down in the form of a reward
for facilitating the conditions for the grand theft of the millennium.
Now, Tesfaye Biru has absconded.
He is enjoying looted money abroad. Maybe, he absconded from the messed up and intentionally crippled, made imperfect and
incompetent criminal justice system of the present day Ethiopia
. He has not, however, absconded from the court of public opinion which is more powerful and effective in present day Ethiopia.
He is now in Germany . He will soon reach USA . He is expected to petition for asylum claiming to be OLF supporter and one
forced to flee from his country fearing prosecution due to his political stance. This will be the best joke of the millennium.
I humbly want to urge my fellow Ethiopians residing abroad to follow this blood sucker to his grave. I humbly want to request
OLF not to give shelter for this individual just because he claims to have some “percentage” of Oromo blood in
his genealogy. Actually, he accused the Oromo elites at the ETC of being OLF supporters and they were imprisoned, maimed,
killed and some were dismissed from their jobs. This is an easily verifiable fact which is on the record. The Oromo intellectuals
at the ETC are living witnesses for these heinous crimes perpetrated by him.
The writer, Ewnetu
Tessema, is a senior communications engineer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org