No ODA Towers For Another Three Years

Chinese workers are frequenting the site but after 13 years there is still no construction activity

The 2694sqm plot of land where Abinet Geberemeskel Oda planned to build a commercial building named after his father, a project that is 13 years overdue, is now serving as storage area for the construction of what will be East Africa’s tallest building, the headquarters of the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE).

The headquarters and gas station of TOTAL Ethiopia used to stand on this plot, which is located between Gambia Street and Ras Abebe Aregay Street next to Ras Hotel. These properties once belonged to Gebremeskel Oda until they were nationalized; the Privatization & Public Enterprises Supervising Agency (PPESA) restored ownership to his heirs.

In 2003, the heirs, represented by Abinet Gebremeskel, a business ally of Saudi billionaire Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Ali Al Amoudi, announced their plan to erect a commercial business centre, but the site remained fenced without any development work until recently.

Abinet, President of St. George Football Club, was not available for comment, but Chinese construction workers have been in the compound for the last two months, according to locals.

“I think the Chinese are here leasing the plot that has been idle for more than a decade,” a man living in the area told Fortune, adding that they were storing construction material there.

The said Chinese are workers of the China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC), CBE’s contractor. The land is still registered in Abinet’s name, according to Befekadu Legesse, Kirkos District’s Construction Licensing & Regulation Officer.

The arrangement for the transfer is simply that of power of attorney for three years starting at the end of the last fiscal year, involves CBE, CSCEC and the heirs, authorizing use the plot for storage.

“We know that it is the power of attorney but know nothing of financial arrangements between the parties,” Befekadu said.

CSCEC is currently constructing the 46-storey, building scheduled to be completed in February 2019, at the cost of 5.3 billion Br. The agreement between the parties indicated uninterrupted use right for CBE and CSCEC until the construction of the HQ ends.

If the owner wishes to interrupt the arrangement, two months’ prior notice is required, without further remark on what happens if parties fail to act as per the agreement.

Power of attorney under Ethiopian law requires no consent from the agent side and revocation is the sole right of the principal.

Abinet, CSCEC and the CBE Communications Department were not available for comment.

FORTUNE STAFF WRITER. Misak Workneh Contributed to this article

Published on Feb 01,2016 [ Vol 16 ,No 822]



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