By Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban
Ethiopia’s former Communication Minister, Bereket Simon, has been arrested by the Amhara regional government at his residence in the capital, Addis Ababa, multiple news sources, state and private, have reported.
Simon is also a founding member of the ruling coalition, the Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front, EPRDF. Multiple local mdia channels are reporting that his arrest is in connection with corruption.
Another arrested official is Tadesse Kassa, a former top civil servant. Simon was a member of the Amhara regional bloc in the EPRDF.
Zigale Gebeyehu, head of the regional anti-corruption bureau told local journalists that Bereket and Tadesse were detained on suspicion of corruption and that both are now held in police custody in BahirDar city, the capital of the region. ·
Bereket was known among other things for his adamant defense of gov actions, including the killings of 193 protesters in Addis by state security forces during the 2005 election massacres. He is also the man who in 2012 announced to the world that Meles Zenawi had passed away.
Arrested with him is Tadesse Kassa, a colleague of Bereket’s at both the Amhara National Democratic Movement party, and Tiret, the conglomerate accused of monopolizing the Amhara region’s business sector. Tadesse has been involved with Tiret for decades.
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Later in December, the state-affiliated FBC reported that Bereket like then Parliament Speaker Abadula Gemeda, had rescinded their resignations. He eventually exited after Abiy came to power in April 2017.
October 2017: Why an E.U. MP insisted Bereket be prosecuted
Bereket Simon, a former top advisor to Ethiopian Premier Hailemariam Desalegn must be prosecuted for crimes against Ethiopians.
This is the view expressed by a Member of the European parliament, Ana Gomes, after news of the Bereket’s resignation was announced on earlier this week.
The Portuguese politician who doubles as a Socialist Member of the European parliament also had hard words for the former advisor to Desalegn in charge of Policy Studies and Research Center.
She described him as ‘cynical and a cruel totalitarian,’ during dealings with him. She added, ‘(He) Should be tried for his crimes against Ethiopians.’ It is not known the nature of the dealings both had and what crimes she is referring to.