Federal Judges have granted Police appeal to keep under custody Kinfe Dagnew (Maj. Gen), former head of Metals & Engineering Corporation (MetEC), who is suspected of grand corruption, yet for the third time.
Presided by Judge Christian Baylegne, the 10th Criminal Bench of the Federal High Court has granted police additional 14-day. Kinfe was arrested on November 14, 2018, and appeared before the Court the following day along with his brother Essayas, former chief operating officer of Ethio Telecom. During their first appearance, Judges gave police additional days of investigation and adjourned the case to December 3, 2018.
Two weeks ago federal investigators probing the case presented a 13-page preliminary claim with 12 allegations against Kinfe. Appealing they need more time for further investigation, investigators have requested the Court for additional days of custody right, which was accepted by the Judges.
During the latest session that was started to be heard on Monday, investigators appealed for additional days submitting a 19-page preliminary claim with another six counts of allegations against Kinfe. It includes allegations of graft on the electromechanical works of the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), the procurements of engines and different vehicles and scholarship opportunities. Investigators are looking into allegations that MetEC received full payment for the electromechanical contract but delivered on only 25pc of the work.
Lawyers of Kinfe, Zeresenay Misgina and Habtom Tesfaye, have argued that in the last session Police was granted additional time to conduct investigations on the former 12 counts listed in the preliminary claim; hence, the investigators have brought additional allegations without getting ruling from the Bench. They appealed for Judges to order investigators to stop bringing new allegations in each court session. The two lawyers have also requested the court to rule for the merger of Kinfe’s case with the file of 26 other suspects of MetEC officials.
A hearing of three days, the Judges gave police additional days for further investigation, adjourning the case to December 31, 2018.
A day earlier, the same Judges looked into the case of Essayas, who is also suspected of allegedly amending project contracts for mobile and CDMA network sites construction in Somali Regional State and Bale Zone, in favour of MetEC. Essayas is also suspected of awarding MetEC a tower construction project valued at 321.7 million Br.
Yesterday the Judges granted police additional 10 days for the investigation. The judges passed the ruling with the dissenting opinion of one of the judges, Genenew Assefa, who argued that Police had sufficient time to finalise the investigation on Essayas.