Court acquits Kassim Fitie of corruption charges

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Addis Ababa, 30 April 2014 (WIC) - Federal High Court First Criminal Bench acquitted Kassim Fite, former Head of the Addis Ababa Land Development and Administration Authority, and two others of corruption charges.

The court set Kassim and two others free without the defendants having to defend the prosecution’s charge. The court, after examining the prosecution’s evidence, deemed the evidence insufficient to warrant defense.

Kassim was charged with corruption in connection with a 500 sqm plot of land that was allegedly illegally transferred to another party.

The other defendants acquitted include Gebreyes Kidane, Lease Collection Supervision officer, and Bekele Gebre, Land Allocation Performance Sub-Process head.

The court, however, ruled Tesfaye Zemedkun, investigation and prosecution officer of the Addis Ababa City Administration Justice Bureau and a fourth defendant in the charge, should defend the prosecution’s charge against him setting a bail bond of 5 thousand birr.

Instead Tesfaye, whose charges were amended by the prosecution, told the court that he has no defense to present leading the court to adjourn the case to May 6 for sentencing.

Kassim, a member of the House of Peoples Representatives, was detained on July 28, 2013 after parliament lifted his immunity on July 4, 2013. The request came for his immunity to be removed came from the Federal Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (FEACC) on August 2, 2012.