By Ewnetu Tessema
November 12, 2007
The ambivalence i.e. to be more specific and lucid, the avoid-approach type of discord in the minds of the high officials
of Zenawi’s minority regime on ETC’s corruption issue is beyond description and beyond belief. The Zenawi’s
regime contradictory attitudes or feelings are not without a reason. If the corruption is pursued all the way to the end,
they know who will, at the end of the day, stand on the dock.
This would be tantamount to digging
their own grave. On the other hand, there is enormous pressure from the West to fight corruption. The Zenawi regime has to
somehow convey a false message that it is fighting corruption. Otherwise, the resource to be looted will partly dry up.
To ensure a constant and uninterrupted flow of aid money and loan, the Zenawi regime should
present itself to the outside world as one fighting corruption very vehemently. This is the whole game and the sole reason
behind Zenawi's intermittent attack against corrupt officials.
It is to be recalled, the government on the record made known to the Ethiopian people that the
corruption network at ETC is taken to pieces and the culprits would soon face trial. Many credulous individuals and groups
took the government seriously. Actually, the government did this after those who pillaged Ethiopia to death left for Europe
and America unobtrusively.
The Prime Minister officially announced the corrupt officials at ETC would soon face the full
force of the law. As a sort of bogus public confidence building measure, the government sacked higher non-cores and one core
official of ETC. The sole core official i.e. a telecom engineer worked on that high and core position for about 3 months only
and it is very dubious as to whether or not he is the real culprit. When the short period of time he stayed on the position
is taken into account, it is more doubtful he is in it.
It is this person only who is still in the country among the dismissed ex core position officials
of ETC. This per se tells a lot. Many ETC employees seriously suspect he is rather being used as a scapegoat or a sacrificial
lamb. The case of the other non core high officials of ETC is very appalling. The ex- CEO of ETC, Tesfaye Biru, used to force
all at the higher management group to sign on each multi million dollars contracts and the related purchase documents. Some
refused to go along with this modus operandi and refused to sign on all matters that were outside their area of responsibility
and expertise. They were told to leave the company or sign such documents. Those who washed their hands of such cases were
removed from their position and subsequently dismissed or forced to resign. The rest complied with the illicit order of the
Ex CEO and now are paying their debt for their courage failed them to stand firm on principle issues. One of the dismissed
non core high official was chief finance officer. He was treated like a cashier instead of a finance officer.
Many agree he was mistreated, belittled and abused by the ex CEO of ETC. He was abused because
he allowed the person to abuse him. He had to be firm and had to refuse to pay all those billions of dollars. Some 4 years
before, ETC had a very senior and seasoned finance officer by the name of Ato Kebede Kiros. The ex-CEO tried to enjoin him
simply to effect payment anytime when and if ordered to do so. Ato Kebede Kiros unflinchingly told the ex CEO that he is a
finance manager, but not a cashier.
The ex-CEO, Tesfaye Biru, joined hands with the then Board Chairman and resorted to dastardly
activities and could ultimately somehow manage to force Ato Kebede Kiros resign from the company he served for almost four
decades. This didn’t satisfy the then ETC officials. He followed the person even after he left the company. He connived
with the so called Anti Corruption Commission and wanted to prosecute him on trumped up charges. This was how ETC was managed.
A passer by raised from the dust, hand picked from the street, anointed telecom expert by those who appointed him assumed
key position and caused all these damages. Ato Kebede Kiros is now in exile in America . We, the ETC employees, remember him
for being firm on core principle issues.
At this juncture, what is shocking and hard to believe is the fact the so called Anti Corruption
Commission is instructed not to take legal action against the real culprits. As the result, a guy who looted Ethiopia to death
was a week or so before on “vacation” in Ethiopia , freely roaming the streets of Addis, untouched and enjoying
his immunity from prosecution. This is the legacy this government wishes or “works hard” to leave behind. The
legacy of committing a crime with impunity.
Ethiomedia Editor's Note: Despite a series of accusations by this writer, former
ETC chief Tesfaye Biru has never bothered to react and get his views published on Ethiomedia. The above writer can be reached