Two of the four businessmen who were under arrest since December 2008 fighting criminal charges in connection with Nile Insurance S.C. were rearrested on Thursday afternoon, May 7, 2009.
Granted a bail bond for 50,000 Br and 30,000 Br by the Federal High Court, Abebaw Desta and Menweyelet Atinafu, respectively, were taken by investigators back to the Forensic Department of the Federal Police, a.k.a Maekelawi, on Dejazmatch Belay Zeleke Street.
The two businessmen appeared before the Federal First Instance Court at Arada Criminal Bench on Friday, May 8, 2009. Police filed an appeal to the court asking to be granted 14 days to keep the suspects under custody for further investigation.
The latest probe against these businessmen is based on claims by the Bank of Abyssinia (BoA) lodged to the police on March 4, 2009, according to the letter of appeal. The claim alleges that the suspects were responsible for the loss of 57 million Br the bank claims to have suffered.
The suspects had only just emerged from the prison facility down in Kality when they were taken back into custody, according to eyewitnesses’ accounts. They were not allowed to go home and join their families they had been separated from for five months. Abebaw and Menweyelet were rearrested in front of their family members who were waiting for them at the exit of the Kality prison centre.
“Policemen came and told them that they were under arrest, and put them into a car while their families were waiting for them,” an eyewitness among the people waiting for the two businessmen told Fortune.
Together with their co-defendants – Worku Megra, and Temesgen Mehari – the two businessmen were denied release on bail by the Supreme Court up until prosecutors are done with the witnesses they have brought before the Federal High Court where the case of Nile Insurance is on trial. The Supreme Court on March 6, 2009, ruled to keep four of the 12 people indicted in Nile Insurance saga in custody after prosecutors had argued that the four people could influence witnesses in their favour if they were released.
Hearing of the testimonies from 18 witnesses came to an end on Thursday morning, where Judge Aysheshum Meles of the Federal High Court, Sixth Bench, granted 50,000 Br bail bond each to Abebaw and Temesgen, and 30,000 Br each to Menweyelet and Worku.
“I’m very delighted to join my family” Temesgen told Fortune after his release on Friday. “It was rather tough on them.”
Worku, a shareholder at Star Business Group (SBG), where Abebaw and Menweyelet are founders, was although released on the same day. He was not available for comment.
Lawyers of the suspects argued on Friday that police had received the letter of complaints from the Bank of Abyssinia (BoA) two months ago, thus could have pursued its case earlier for where the suspects were was obvious. However, the court has granted police seven days; it adjourned to May 14, 2009.
- By Abiy Wendifraw | Addis Fortune
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