Getu Gelete, three others to be tried in absentia

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Addis Ababa, January 6 (WIC) – Getu Gelete, founder and major shareholder of Get-As International Plc, who is wanted on corruption charges, is to be tried in absentia.
The Fifteenth criminal bench of the Federal High Court passed the order today on Getu and three other defendants. This came after the quartet failed to appear before court after a public summon published on Addis Zemen newspaper dated January 31.
Getu reportedly fled the country before the charges were filed to the court’s registrar and he is believed to be in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates.
He is among the sixty plus defendants facing grand corruption charges in an unprecedented sweep by the Federal Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (FEACC) last year involving senior government officials and prominent businessmen.
Getu is named a defendant in two separate charge files which also included Melaku Fenta, former director general of the Ethiopian Revenues and Customs Authority (ERCA), and his former deputy Gebrewahid Gebregiorgis.
Get-As International Plc, a durable goods importing company founded by Getu, is also named a defendant in one of the charge files. Although Getu failed to appear before court two defense lawyers are representing his company.
The court resumed session this morning to accept written objections of defendants to the prosecution’s charge.
While many of the defendants gave a copy of their objections to the court and the prosecution team, some defendants including Melaku and Gebrewahid, through their lawyers, requested for more time to finalize their objections.
Their appeal for more time was accepted by the three presiding judges and the court adjourned the case for February 17, 2014.