The Ethiopian government on Saturday said it has arrested 32 individuals, including senior government security officials, in connection with “participation in illegal gold production, circulation, and trade.”
Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation (EBC), cited by the National Information and Security Services (NISS) to report, indicates that the arrested officials have been engaged in establishing relations with foreigners in a corrupt way , selling gold in black market and harming the national interest of Ethiopia.
According to the report, eight of those arrested are in the government security structures, seven of them are individuals who allegedly exploited business licenses as a cover to engage in illegal practice, and 17 of them are accused of circulating illegally acquired gold products.
However, the report did not disclose the identities of the suspects who are allegedly involved in the illegal gold trade.
It is said that the Ethiopian Defense Force-led council that draws membership from NISS, Defense Intelligence, Federal Police, and regional police is undertaking an operation to hunt what it called illegal groups.
The report also mentioned that it has arrested 29 foreigners about two weeks ago from Benishangul Gumuz region of Ethiopia over illegal gold production and trade.
Furthermore, the report indicated that illegal gold production and trade was happening in Gambella region, South West Ethiopia region and Benishangul Gumuz region.
Ethiopia’s intelligence unit, NISS, is making claims that it has established that arrested government security officials ditched their national mission and responsibility to engage in the “illegal practice.” It is making further claims that they rather exploited their government position as a cover to engage in the “illegal practice.”
The Ethiopian government says research conducted in the area revealed that illegal practice in the mining sector is extensive but no detail was provided as to when it was conducted and who was behind it.
Takele Uma, a senior Oromo region Prosperity Party official who was also in charge of the Mining Ministry at the Federal level of government, was excluded when PM Abiy Ahmed made new appointments in January this year.
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