Al Amoudi business in Ethiopia seem to be safe as is the case for his business elsewhere outside of Saudi Arabia
Ethiopian government was mum for nearly a week regarding the detention of Ethiopian born billionaire Mohammed Al Amoudi. For the first three or four days, state broadcasters even avoided to report his detention although it was making headlines among many Ethiopian and African publishers.
As it turns out, the government was rather quietly following the matter through diplomatic avenues exploiting its diplomatic leverage power. In a press statement to local journalists, prime minister Hailemariam Desalegne disclosed on Friday that his government has been communicating with different levels of Saudi government to fact check the matter in relation to Ethiopian billionaire arrest who is known to be a patron of TPLF politics.
Pointing out that he is of Ethiopian origin , “has a great love for Ethiopia” and that he has invested a lot in Ethiopia, Hailemariam Desalegne told journalists that government will continue to follow up the matter.
” As a sovereign state, the Saudi government will follow its own procedures and process. However, in view of his investment in Ethiopia and his contribution for [‘the well being of’ ]Ethiopians, we will follow the matter closely taking the diplomatic path” Added Hailemariam.
Ethiopian government is aware that Al-Amoudi is arrested in connection with corruption along with princes, former Saudi high ranking government officials and business people.
It is not known at this point if the Saudi government transferred the arrested princes and businessmen from Ritz Carlton hotel, where they were detained since last week, in Riyadh to a prison.
For critics, Ethiopian government diplomatic effort in connection with Al Amoudi is raises a moral question as the regime claims to have unequivocal stand and determination against corruption. Those who follow that line of argument assert that Ethiopian government position on the detention of Al Amoudi is a litmus test for its stand on corruption.
However, there are critics indifferent to it as they think that Al Amoudi is corrupt in Ethiopia as well and the regime in power is a party to it. However, the claims about his corruption in Ethiopia is not substantiated with evidence.
On the other hand, there seem to be a view that the arrest in Saudi Arabia is politically motivated.
Al Amoudi is estimated to have net worth of well over US $10 billion of which US$3.4 billion is invested in Ethiopia in sectors including agriculture, hotel, gold mine, construction and real estate -among other things.
He is the second biggest investor in Ethiopia next to the ruling TPLF part which has invested more than five billion dollars.
Some Ethiopian publishers, Abbay Media for example, reported that Egypt has a hand in the arrest of Al Amoudi in Saudi Arabia.
Voice of America cited Tim Pendry, London based Al Amoudi’s spokesman, to report that Al Amoudi’s business outside of Saudi Arabia is not affected by the arrest.
Al Amoudi’s history indicates that he was born in Dessie, central Ethiopia, to an Ethiopian mother and a Saudi father and immigrated to Saudi Arabia in the 1960’s. He has a Saudi citizen ship.
Join the conversation. Like borkena on Facebook and get Ethiopian News updates regularly. As well, you may get Ethiopia News by following us on twitter @zborkena