Archaeologist Bares Charge Traveling with 19,000 Br

The prosecutor wrote a letter to the Attorney General recommending him to close the case

An American citizen and archaeologist Simpson Scott Wilson (PhD), faces a criminal charge for attempting to leave the country carrying 19,000 Br, which is 19 folds higher than National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) Birr holding limit, without a permit.

The Archaeologist, who has been conducting researches in the Afar Regional State along with his two fellow researchers from Addis Abeba University (AAU) for 14 years, was caught at Bole International Airport on February 27, 2018, carrying the cash in his bag, while he was departing to the United States.

Before police finalised the investigations Wilson had stayed in prison for two days. On March 1, 2018, the prosecutors of the Economic Crimes Department of the Office of the Attorney General filed a suit against him to the Tenth Criminal Bench of the Federal First Instance Court.

On his first appearance before the Court, Judge Ahmed Seid granted him the bail right of the defendant with 100,000 Br and 300,000 for bail and return bonds, respectively. Ahmed, the presiding judge of specialised custom offences bench, adjourned the case for the charge to be heard on March 30, 2018.

In the latest court session, scheduled to hear the charge, a week ago, the defendant did not appear in the court as he was on medical treatment in the United States, according to his defence lawyer.

Judge Ahmed ordered his lawyer to bring documentary evidence which proves he was on medical treatment on the stated date. He also adjourned the case to May 15, 2018, when he will hear the charge.

The Ministry of Culture & Tourism (MoCT) and his co-researcher Hassan (PhD) wrote a letter calling Getachew Ambaye, the Attorney General to intervene in the proceeding and order for the closure of the charges.

In their letters, the MoCT and his colleague clarified that the defendant had been engaged in research in response to the government’s call to study the evolution of the human being.

Upon receiving the letters, the prosecutor wrote a response to the Attorney General recommending to him to close the case. In the letter, the prosecutor stated that even though the defendant committed the crime, the Office shall set him free considering the public interest and his genuine understanding of the committed mistake.

The case is pending before the Attorney General.


Published on Apr 06,2018 [ Vol 18 ,No 936]



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