Ethiopia Charges 14 Over Suspect Ship-Buying at Conglomerate

(Bloomberg) -- Ethiopian police charged 14 former employees of Metal & Engineering Corp., a key military-industrial conglomerate, with alleged corruption related to the purchases of two ships.

Former METEC Director-General Kinfe Dagnew was among those charged Monday at the Federal High Court, accused of playing roles in the misuse of more than 544 million birr ($19.1 million), Fana Broadcasting Corp. reported, citing proceedings. Bloomberg wasn’t able to reach Kinfe’s lawyer for comment.

METEC, a company once run by retired military personnel, had until recently played a crucial role in projects to develop Africa’s fastest-growing economy. After Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office in April some of its contracts were canceled, while in November two dozen officers who’d worked there were arrested amid allegations of 37 billion birr in procurement irregularities.

Four of the 14 charged, including a colonel, haven’t been arrested. The case was adjourned until Jan. 28 to receive arguments from the defense.

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