Millions of dollars of aid money from western agencies was spent on weapons by former rebels who now administer Ethiopia, according to former allies. The money was intended to go to millions of starving Ethiopians in northern Ethiopia in a devastating famine in the 1980s.
Gebremedhin Araya is a former rebel who is now a diaspora-based critic of Ethiopian ruling party. He says he posed as a Muslim merchant to take five hundred thousand dollars of aid money. "TPLF used part of the money to buy weapons, and the rest was pocketed by top party officials," Gebremedhin said.
Aregawi Berhe, another former rebel who was present at the time, was alo fighting the socialist dictatorship of Mengistu Hailemariam. He says most of the money was used to purchase arms and for inter-party propaganda operations.
Member of the ruling party, Abadi Zemo, rejects the accusations that money was diverted to purchase arms. He says the fact that there was no catastrophic death among the victims of drought shows that the aid funds were used for their intended purposes.
Christian Aid spokesperson Sarah Wilson also rejects a BBC report of the charges. "We are disappointed that the BBC published such a report because it is based on allegations rather than any evidence," Wilson told VOA.
Listen to the Tigrigna report