Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, March 28 2019. Picture: GETTY IMAGES/ANADOLU AGENCY/MOHAMMED ABDU ABDULBAGI.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, March 28 2019. Picture: GETTY IMAGES/ANADOLU AGENCY/MOHAMMED ABDU ABDULBAGI.

Addis Ababa —  Ethiopian authorities have arrested 59 government officials on suspicion of corruption and economic sabotage, the attorney-general said on Friday, in the latest sweeping crackdown by the administration.

Berhanu Tsegaye said those arrested in an operation on Thursday included the head and other staff of the government's public procurement and property disposal service, while others worked in what was previously the finance, economics and co-operation ministry.

"We found properties, such as title deeds of houses held by the suspects, which are beyond their income," Berhanu said.

After taking office in 2018, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed promised to clean up state-owned firms and the military, and cancelled many contracts for its military-run industrial conglomerate Metec.

In November, Ethiopia arrested more than 60 officials, some from the intelligence services and some from Metec. In January, the former head of Metec was charged with corruption, making him the most senior official to be charged after the arrests.

The latest arrests follow a three-month investigation, and included officials from the Pharmaceuticals Fund and Supply Agency and the Ethiopian Water Works Construction Enterprise, Berhanu said. 

Reuters