Mahlet Fasil (Addis Standard)
Addis Abeba, January 15/2019 – Investigating police have told judges at the federal high court 10th criminal bench that they have already filed corruption charges against Ermias Amelga at the 15th criminal bench and asked the judges at the 10th Criminal bench to close the file and transfer the case to the 15th criminal bench. Earlier today Ermias was brought to the court to hear the preliminarily police filing on his arrest last week.
The police accused Ermias, founder of Access Real Estate S.C, of selling Imperial Hotel, which he and other shareholders once owned, at a price of 75 million birr, which the police said was an “inflated price.” The police insist the value for the hotel should have been 51 million birr and accused Erimias of colluding with officials at MeTEC, which bought the hotel, to sell the property at inflated prices without competitive bidding.
On his part Ermias (struggling with his tears) told the court that the police have arrested him last week on Wednesday after calling him in (for the fourth time) to give a witness testimony through the attorney general’s office about the purchase of the hotel. He told the judges that Access real Estate S.C had bought the hotel for 60 million birr and explained that his share of the hotel was a mere 5% in what was owned by more than 6, 000 shareholders. He also insisted he has cooperated with the police to provide all the necessary information regarding the transaction. “I drove myself to the police but they arrested me.” Ermias also expressed his reservations that the police office who took his witness testimony was the same police officer “who detained me for 128 days without evidence of a crime.”
The police however asked the judges for extra ten days to remand and investigate him. The judges have therefore adjourned the case for this afternoon to give their verdict. However, before judges delivered their verdict on whether or not to give the police the extra ten days, the police, through the registrar office, said they have already filed corruption charges based on evidence they already collected. They asked judges at the 10th criminal bench where the preliminary hearing was booked, to transfer the case (case number 229495) to the 15th Criminal Bench, where judges are presiding over the recent high level corruption cases involving MeTEC.
It is expected that the charges against Ermias will be read this afternoon at the Federal High court Lideta Branch 15th Criminal Bench. AS
ED’s Note: This story will be updated once the charges against Ermias that the police said were filed at the 15th criminal bench are read to the defendant.