Corruption News

Ethiopia: News – EPRDF Veteran Bereket Simon Released Five Months After Due Date – Family Expects His Arrival in Addis Abeba Today

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Addis Abeba — Bereket Simon, one of the founding members of the former Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM) and a senior official of the EPRDF-led government, is released on parole today from a prison in Bahir Dar, the capital of Amhara regional state, after completing his probation, his defense lawyer Hiwot Lilay told Addis Standard.

A close family member who also confirmed the release of Bereket, told Addis Standard that his family members are expecting him to arrive in Addis Abeba today.

According to defense lawyer Hiwot, Bereket should have been released in September on the account of probation in the regional law, which allows a prisoner to be released after serving one third of the jail term, but Bereket hasn’t been given that opportunity.

Bereket Simon was detained in 23 January 2019 along with former TIRET Corporate CEO, Tadesse Kassa, A.K.A. Tinkishu, and subsequently charged in April with corruption surrounding the management of TIRET Corporate, an endowment organization established in 1995 and was owned by then ANDM. Both were charged on suspicion of embezzling more than 2.2 billion birr during their leadership roles at TIRET Corporate, which has since been placed under the Amhara regional state government.

A third co-defendant, businessman Daniel Gizaw, was cleared off all the charges while Bereket and Tadesse continued defending the corruption charges until May 2020, when both were sentenced to six and eight years prison term & 10, 000 & 15, 000 birr fine respectively. Although the they can appeal the sentencing, their appeals were not accepted and Bereket’s released today is based on the completion of the probation period.