May 8: Simon jailed 6 years
A Supreme Court in Ethiopia’s Amhara regional state today handed down a six-year jail term to one-time communications Minister, Bereket Simon.
A co-defendant, a former top civil servant, Tadesse Kassa; also bagged eight years. They were also slapped with a fine of 10,000 and 15,000 birr respectively. The sentence could be appealed, the court added.
The two were arrested on allegations of corruption in early 2019. The court convicted them early this week and reserved judgment for today. Their sentence starts from January 23, 2019 when they were arrested.
Meanwhile, as part of COVID-19 containment measures, the Supreme Court today extended the partial closure of courts by a further three weeks.
May 4: Ethiopia court convicts ex-minister, Bereket Simon, over corruption
A top court in Ethiopia’s Amhara regional state on Monday found a former minister of communications, Bereket Simon, guilty of corruption charges.
Simon’s trial has been going on for over a year since he was arrested in January 2019 at his residence in the capital, Addis Ababa.
Privately-run Addis Standard portal reported that the Amhara region’s Supreme Court passed a guilty verdict against Simon and a former top civil servant, Tadesse Kassa. The Supreme Court adjourned the sentencing of the duo for Friday May 8.
Simon was found guilty on two counts whiles Tadesse was found guilty on three counts of the four charges levelled against them. A third co-defendant, businessman Daniel Gizaw was cleared off all the charges.
Simon was a founding member of the former ruling coalition, the Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front, EPRDF. His party in the EPRDF, now the Amhara Democratic Party ousted him from executive committee membership in 2018.October 2017: Why an E.U. MP insisted Bereket be prosecuted
Bereket resigned his position in government in October 2017 at the time as an advisor in charge of Policy Studies and Research to ex Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.
Later in December the same year, the state-affiliated FBC reported that Bereket like then Parliament Speaker Abadula Gemeda, had rescinded their resignations. He eventually exited after PM Abiy Ahmed came to power in April 2017.