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Ethiopians question investigation result into the death of Simegnew Bekele

Simegnew Bekele
The late Eng. Simegnew Bekele

September 8,2018

As the funeral procession of Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam project manager, and Engineer, Simengew Bekele was underway, Ethiopians protested demanding for an answer into his killing and police had to fire tear gas to stop them hurting many protestors.

The Ethiopian government has been under pressure ever since but was claiming that the investigation is not completed.

Today, Ethiopian Federal Police disclosed the result of the investigation. It turns out that the evidence analyzed seems to suggest that the engineer took “his own life,” claimed police.

Police commissioner Gen. Jemal Zeinu further remarked that the engineer might have been under immense pressure due to project completion delay and additional cost that it will incur.

However, the police report brought more questions, even stronger skepticism, than answers to millions of Ethiopians and opinion is divided.

Some Ethiopians incline to the view that the credibility of police has been damaged in the past and that the result of police investigations into the killing is seen in that light. This group tends to say that Ethiopians need to accept police investigation.

On the other hand, there seems to be a stronger voice, even in terms of numbers, that is skeptical of the report as they believe that the engineer was assassinated meticulously.

One of the circumstantial evidences led the Federal Police to conclude that Ethiopia’s most valued engineer committed suicide is that the handgun recovered from Simegnew’s vehicle where his body was found, and which was parked at Meskel square in the city center. The handgun was registered under his name, says police.

Police also points to forensic evidence to claim that the bullet he died from is like a bullet from his handgun and that his fingerprint was found on the gun.

With regards to the situation of Simegnew Bekele a day before his death, the telephone conversations he had with his secretary and his children incline to have a tone of farewell, added the Federal Police

The late Simegnew also allegedly gave his driver an envelope to be dropped to Federal Government Communication Affairs Bureau the day he died but the content of the letter is not disclosed to the public yet.

Engine of the car was on and the doors were locked when police arrived on site, the police commissioner added.

However, the evidence considered to rule out the case a suicide did not convince many Ethiopians and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government is likely to have a problem in that regard.

“Why would he drive all the way to the center of the city just to commit suicide?” is one of the questions that many Ethiopians are grabbling with.

Others say that the fact that Simegnew died of a bullet like what he uses for his handgun and that the car was locked “from inside” are not best evidence to reinforce police conclusion that he took his own life. The argument is that these things could be easily planned on the part of an entity that needed to carry out the assassination.

Still other, point to gloves that were allegedly found near the vehicle, but police commissioner said in his statement today that police officers used gloves to open the car.

Clearly, most Ethiopians are not convinced by the result of police investigation and that could have a serious impact on Abiy Ahmed’s political asset; public trust. During a visit to the US, Abiy Ahmed told Ethiopians “those who killed Engineer Simegnew cannot stop Ethiopia from building the dam.”

Federal police have announced that it will continue the investigation.

Engineer Simegnew Bekele oversaw Ethiopia’s multibillion-dollar dam project over the Nile which was initially planned to be completed in five years. He was found dead on July 28. The project is already delayed by two years and might take a few more years to be completed.

Fana Broadcasting Corporation investigative report aired this week unveiled nearly six-billion-birr scandal by METEC, government-owned contractor that was hired to work electro-mechanical work of the project

Photo : SM

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