Addis Ababa is abuzz with rumor that Samuel Tafesse, construction mogul and the multimillionaire business partners of Meles Zenawi’s wife Azeb Mesfin, has been arrested in Ethiopia. The rumor started when he disappeared for several days starting early this month and his colleagues began to ask questions.
After transferring the day-to-day operations of his company to his deputy Yitbarek Getahun in February, Samuel quietly came to the U.S. where he recently confided to his friends that Azeb — who is commonly known us “the mother of corruption” — is giving him a hard time and that he might close every thing down in Ethiopia and move to the U.S.
Samuel recently finished building a $5 million house for himself in Alexandria, Virginia, a suburb of Washington DC.
The reason he is having troubles with the ravenous Azeb Mesfin is not clear, but Samuel is not the only business partner of Azeb Mesfin who is facing hard times. Almost every major business in Ethiopia, from flower export to real estate, must make Azeb a partner in order to have any chance of making profit. One of these businessmen who have fallen hard times recently is founder of Zemen Bank, Ermias Amelga who has been forced out of the bank’s chairmanship for an unknown reason, as reported here.