Ethiopia’s Ex-Communications Minister, Bereket Simon has been sentenced to six years in prison for corruption.
The ex-minister who was a close ally of late prime minister Meles Zenawi was sentenced by a court in Bahirdar, north Ethiopia.
He was arrested at his residence in the capital, Addis Ababa, in January 2019 and taken to Bahirdar, capital of the Amhara region – the second largest of Ethiopia’s nine states.
Bereket has been in detention until found guilty on Tuesday. Some of his supporters had said the charges were politically motivated.
He was a powerful figure in Mr. Mele’s administration and was often described as the chief ideologue of the ruling coalition, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), which came to power in the early 1990s.
It consisted of the Amhara Democratic Party, the Oromo Democratic Party (ODP), the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), and the Southern Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement.
In 2018, Bereket was ousted from committee membership by his party, Amhara Democratic Party.
The EPRDF has since been re-branded and restructured as the Prosperity Party under Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed – and no longer includes the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).