Addis Ababa — After six years of trials, Tamrat Layne, the former prime minister, and Seye Abreha, ex-defence minister, along with his younger brother Miherete'ab, were found guilty by the Federal Supreme Court on corruption charges on Friday, June 29, 2007. The third brother, Assefa Abreha, who was also a part of the inner circle of the ruling party, had been charged under the same file, but managed to escape scotch-free.
In July 2002, the Federal Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission brought forward four cases against Tamrat and two cases against Seye. Each was found guilty on one count.
Seye's younger brother, Assefa, was found not guilty on the two cases brought by the Commission, whereas the other young sibling, Mihrete'ab, was found guilty by the Court on the one case filed by the Commission.
Convicted for a 16 year prison term, out of which 12 has been served, Tamrat was accused by the Commission of aiding Kahsay Abay to receive unlawful gains by importing five used vehicles duty-free while he was serving office. The two other defendants, Seye and Assefa were also accused under this case. However, the Court found the latter two not guilty of this charge.
The Court accepted the case presented by the Commission, finding Seye guilty of helping his young sibling, Mihrete'ab, unlawfully benefit from the partially sate-owned company, AMCE, and bought 13 trucks at a 19pc discount.
Assefa, who was found innocent on charges under Tamrat's file, was found guilty last week on the charges under another file with Beshahe Azmete, Fitsumzeab, his brother in-law and Heraier Behsnilian of Hagbes, that he used the power he was given by the public to advance unlawful gains.
Tamrat was the founder of the former Ethiopian People Democratic Movement, one of the off-springs of EPRDF, and later was chairman and founder of the Amhara National Democracy Movement. Soon after the Military regime was ousted by the EPRDF forces, he served as the Prime Minister of Ethiopia for the Transitional Government and, when he was arrested in 1998 under suspicion of high-profile graft, he was the Deputy Prime Minister of Ethiopia.
Seye, who joined the former Prime Minister four years after the latter was arrested, was one of the founders of the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) and later Defence Minister.
Seye's sisters, Timinet and Fiseha were also arrested with him but were subsequently acquitted.