Ethiopia jails 3 German firm workers for illegal trade
Suspects caught trying to smuggle nearly $8M in goods into Ethiopia
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia
(aa)—The Customs Commission of Ethiopia announced Wednesday the arrests of three employees of a German company for abusing diplomatic privilege and importing goods worth nearly $8 million without paying taxes, local media reported.
The suspects, along with two others arrested and one who managed to escape, prepared fake stamps of the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ) and a transit company, ICAS, to import 9,000 pounds (4,100 kilograms) of products abusing duty-free import privileges of GIZ, according to New Business Ethiopia.
“We don’t believe that GIZ, which has been doing many development projects in Ethiopia, is engaged in this illegal trade. We believe that this shows only the motives of the three employees of GIZ to make profit from this contraband trade abusing the diplomatic rights of the organization,” the online news site quoted Customs Commissioner Debele Kabeta.
He said the suspects secured a letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to import 410 goods duty free using GIZ’s diplomatic privilege.
“Then they produced fake documents with fake stamps of GIZ and transit company (ICAS) to import ten times more,” he said.
The equipment captured at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa two weeks ago include 987 Cannon 5D cameras, 349,084 mobile screens, 6,734 different vehicle spare parts, 332 projectors, 24,250 packets of different medicines, 220 pounds (100 kilograms) of silver products that can be used to make jewelry and 1,318 cables, according to the website.