The Reporter:By Tamiru Tsige
The Federal High Court, First Criminal Bench Wednesday passed a four-year sentence and 5,000 birr fine on the ex-Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the former Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation (ETC), Tesfaye Biru (PhD) and several of its former employees holding managerial positions. The defendants were found guilty on January 12 on charges of corruption pressed by prosecutors of the Federal Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (FEACC) who alleged that they had caused ETC to suffer from 1.5 up to 1.6 billion birr loss in connection with a mobile telecom expansion project awarded to Eriksson, the Swedish telecom giant, in 2004.
The court also passed a decision on the other defendants who were charged together with the former CEO, from three to six years in prison and fines.
The Criminal Bench, presided over by judges Mustafa Ahmed, Yohannes Gesyas and Tium Gebru, rejected the prosecution’s request for sentence aggravation which could have sent the former CEO and the other defendants to 15 years in jail and to pay a 50,000 birr fine.
The court also rejected sentence mitigation appeal presented by the defense lawyers to acquit the defendants from the charges or pass a less severe sentence with limited responsibility which sited the defendants’ contribution to the ETC and their good conduct.
The court reached its decision by taking into account the contribution made by the former CEO in preparing the prison’s data base on prisoners control, preparing different software and the role he played when he was the CEO of ETC.