Ethiopia has arrested its state minister for finance on corruption charges, state-run television said on Friday, but offered no further details.
His arrest was made possible after parliament lifted his immunity during an emergency session on Friday. The same session voted to lift a state of emergency imposed in October 2016 to quell anti-government protests in parts of the country.
Alemayehu Gujo becomes the most high-level government official detained in an anti-corruption drive announced two weeks ago.
He was appointed as far back as October 2010 by the late Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. A state minister in Ethiopia is ranked below the substantive minister.
Addis Ababa’s recent anti-corruption crackdown
Addis Ababa recently announced the arrest of 37 persons for their involvement in deals that allegedly led to the embezzlement of an estimated 1.1 billion birr – which translates to over $47.2 million.
The detained persons included senior government officials, business people and brokers. A federal high court denied all of them bail and granted police prosecutors 14 days to collect additional evidence.
The bail denial was based on the ability of the accused persons to tamper with sensitive documents. The case will next be heard on August 9 according to the trial judge.
State entities whose officials are involved include: Addis Ababa Roads Authority, Ethiopian Roads Authority, Ethiopian Sugar Corporation and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Cooperation.