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Ethiopia’s fake gold – 26 Arrested

By Elizabeth Blunt BBC News, Addis Ababa

Fake gold in EthiopiaTwenty-six people are under arrest over the discovery of 90kg (14 stone) of fake gold in the vaults of Ethiopia’s central bank, a senior official says.

The fraud was discovered after some of the supposed gold was sent to South Africa, where it was found to be gold-plated steel. Those held are expected to be charged in the next couple of weeks.

Rumours have been flying around the capital Addis Ababa about what happened to the real gold and who was to blame. Those being held include officials of the national bank, said Berhanu Assefa, a spokesman for Ethiopia’s Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission. The commission has been investigating the case for three months along with Ethiopian police and intelligence officials.

“Around 26 are under arrest – seven from the national bank of Ethiopia, four from the Ethiopian Geological Survey and 15 businessmen and their collaborators have been arrested,” Mr Assefa said.

“No-one has yet been charged – we expect that… our prosecutor will charge them.”

The value of the missing gold was around 158m Ethiopian birr, or $16m for just one of the missing cases, he said, adding this was a huge amount for a poor country such as Ethiopia.
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