Addis Abeba – The Ethiopian Joint Security and Intelligence Task Force accused “some foreign nationals” who enter the country using tourist visas and other legal means, are engaged in weakening Ethiopia’s economy by “printing counterfeit dollars” using rented hotel and guest rooms as their basis. Without mentioning the nationalities of the said foreign nationals, the Joint Task Force said that some of these suspects are “detained and being investigated.” It also accused suspected of “using drugs.”
The Joint Task Force said that in an operation it conducted in different parts of Addis Abeba city on Saturday 11 March, five individuals suspected of “illegal dollar circulation”, “counterfeit dollar printing”, and “illicit weapons circulation” have been detained and are being investigated. However, it didn’t clarify if all the five suspects were foreign nationals.
The task force further said that it has also “seized a large number of US dollars and currencies of various countries”, in the hands of the suspects in violation of a directive by the National Bank of Ethiopia limiting the amount of money individuals are allowed to keep, which is not more than 100,000 for private individuals, and 200, 000 birr for companies, in their homes and companies. Accordingly it said that after the operation, it has seized 601,760 birr which was ready to buy US dollars. The unnamed suspects who are under investigation were apprehended with three separate cheques worth 4.9 million birr ready to be used for the illegal purchase of US dollars, three Kalashnikovs and four pistols with similar ammunition.
The Joint Task Force stated that its ongoing operation to crackdown on similar activities that started in Addis Abeba city will be expand to all other areas of the country where illegal money laundering takes place. AS