Ethiopia is among the top ten poorest countries in the world. The primary reason for Ethiopia’s abject poverty is the vampire political leadership that is sucking the life blood of the country. One of the signs that Ethiopian politicians are some of the most corrupt in the world is the kind of wealth they have amassed while on government salary. Their thievery comes out in the open when ever they become entangled in an internal power struggle. A few months ago, for example, the state media that is controlled by the ruling party exposed how two of the country’s top customs officials have stolen tens of millions of dollars. These two officials, Melaku Fanta, Director General of the Ethiopian Revenues and Customs Authority with the rank of Minister, and his deputy, Gebrewahid Woldegiorgis, were close confidants of the late dictator Meles Zenawi and his wife Azeb Mesfin. If these two underlings of Meles Zenawi and Azeb Mesfin can steal tens of millions of dollars, as reported by ETV, one can imagine how much looting is going on by their higher-ups in the ruling party hierarchy. It is thus not surprising that more than half in this year’s list of the 10 richest Ethiopians are members of the ruling junta.
The 10 Richest Ethiopians in 2013
- Mohammed Al Amoudi – Controls gold mines and massive tracts of fertile lands that were handed to him by Meles Zenawi, after their owners were kicked out and displaced. Estimated net worth: $10 billion.
- Azeb Mesfin – Widow of the late dictator Meles Zenawi, commonly known as the “mother of corruption,” has ownership interests in many of the biggest companies in Ethiopia. Estimated net worth: $4 billion.
- Berhane Gebrekiristos – The closest and most trust friend of Meles and Azeb; launders their loot out of the country. Estimated net worth: $2 billion.
- Sebhat Nega – His fortune has been declining after he was kicked out of the TPLF politburo and the Endowment Fund for the Relief of Tigray (EFFORT) by Meles and Azeb; he is currently rebounding. Estimated net worth $2 billion.
- Seyoum Mesfin – Current Ethiopian ambassador to China, former foreign affairs minister, used his chairmanship of Ethiopian Airlines and diplomatic status to smuggle illegal drugs between Africa and Asia; he is perhaps the biggest drug trader in Africa. Estimated net worth: $1.8 billion.
- Samuel Tafesse – One of Azeb Mesfin’s business partners; their relationship has gone sour over the past couple of years, negatively affecting his construction business. Estimated net worth: $1.6 billion.
- Abay Teshay – A senior member of the ruling party, has blind partnerships with many of the big companies in Ethiopia. Net worth: $1.5 billion
- Omer Ali Shifaw – Owner of Nejat International, whose wealth has been declining after TPLF started to compete with his coffee exporting business. Estimated net worth: $500 million
- Eyob Mamo – CEO and Chairman of Capitol Petroleum Group, Washington DC. Estimated worth: $500 million.
- Suhura Ismail Khan – She has become the biggest khat trader in East Africa by establishing partnerships with TPLF officials and forging a close friendship with the late dictator Meles Zenawi. The TPLF-occupied Ethiopian embassies around the world are her main khat export routes to the Diaspora. Estimated net worth: $200 million.