Officials in Ethiopia have charged 14 former employees of a military-industrial complex with corruption.
The suspects, who worked for Metal & Engineering Corporation (METEC), are facing charges of corruption.
The Federal High Court announced the charges on Monday. The former MeTEC workers were reportedly involved in the misuse of government funds to the tune of around 544 million Birr ($19.1 million).
METEC is one of the biggest state-owned industrial companies in Ethiopia and was run by ex-military officials. The conglomerate, which played a huge role in the development of Ethiopia, came under fire last year following months of investigation.
Mr. Kinfe Dagnew, the former CEO of the METEC, has since been arrested and also charged. Kinfe faces about four counts of corruption. Three other high-ranking METEC officials have also been charged.
The investigation into METEC uncovered several suspicious practices which cost the state more than $2 billion.
METEC, which was established in 2009, has been behind the production of numerous products for civilians and the military. METEC works with several foreign companies including Alstom and Spire Corporation.
METEC was awarded the $4 billion contract to construct the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). The corporation has been blamed for the delay in the completion of the dam.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has since canceled other contracts awarded to METEC due to similar delays.
The Ethiopian government has said that METEC is going to be reorganized and renamed. The reforms are aimed at revamping the company, which was established to accelerate Ethiopia’s quest for industrialization.
METEC will now be called the National Metal Engineering Corporation and will handle the production of only civil and commercial products. The government will reportedly transfer the manufacturing of military equipment from METEC to the Ministry of Defence.