Top placed sources within the Somali Regional State Administration of Ethiopia in Jijiga have told our reporter that when top officials of the Ethiopian Defense Forces come to the Region, they engage in a large scale wealth accrual together with the officials of the Regional State.
Currently, one of the richest people in the region and based in Jijiga, Miss Hawa, is the second wife of Major General Yohannes Gebremeskel, a top official of the Ethiopian Defense Force, and the mother of his child. Credit goes to her lover Yohannes; the lady has been able to change from being an ordinary Khat trader to amassing hundreds of millions in wealth, the sources added. General Yohannes came to know Miss Hawa when he was a Colonel as the Head the Western Gode Zone. Yohnnes had helped Hawa amass over 100million birr by letting her company subcontract the Canal Cleaning bid that the National Defense Force was made to win.
As the love affair between the General and Hawa grew, she even went to the extent of harassing and threatening the Region’s tax officers and clearing herself from taxation.
Hawa has built two big buildings in Jijiga with her lover, General Yohannes. In addition to this, she has been allowed to handle other projects in the Region that are worth hundreds of millions. Some of the projects include the Kabri Dehar Water Provision, Degehabur Water Provision, Jijiga Teachers Training Expansion, Regional Education Bureau Project, Modern Meeting Hall, and other expensive buildings. Although Hawa is at the forefront of managing the wealth, sources say, it is General Yohannes who controls the construction of the region’s projects.
General Yohannes has built a very modern apartment building in Bole Medhanealem area in Addis Abeba.
In a related report, a drinking water project in the birthplace of the Region’s President has reportedly failed after a colonel of the Ethiopian Defense forces, also a member of the TPLF, signed a 120 million birr contract and started the project. Sources said the Colonel was paid 22 million birr from the Regional Administration’s account.
Staff members of the Regional Administration also said that people that have direct connection to the Regional Administration have been the main profiteers during the recent the 8th Ethiopian Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ Day celebrated last week in Jigjiga winning most of the contracts.
Our efforts to get the responses of the Regional President, Abdi Mohammed, have been unsuccessful.