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June 20, 2021
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Yohannes Tilahun, CEO of the Ethiopian Tourism Organization in Hot Water for “Unlawful Double Salary”, Maladministration

After nine months in office, Yohannes Tilahun, CEO of the Ethiopian Tourism Organization (ETO), is in hot water for his alleged receipts of “double salaries” both from the government and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), The Reporter has learnt.

Yohannes Tilahun, CEO of ETO

In a boldly written letter, which was obtained by The Reporter, Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of Ethiopian and board chairman of ETO, demanded the Ministry of Culture and Tourism on Friday to depose Yohannes and consider legal actions for his misconducts. According to letter, Yohannes has been found receiving illicit monthly income of USD 8,000 from UNDP.

The board chair, further in his letter, requested for instant measure to cut the payment Yohannes has been receiving for nine months. He further demanded the ministry to pursue legal actions against the CEO’s delinquencies. UNDP provides financial support for ETO under the auspicious of capacity building.

“The evidence the board has attained during its regular meeting held on February 8, 2018, found to be extremely shocking and presented settings for the need to consider legal measures,” Tewolde wrote. Learning the irregularities, the board has formed an inquiry committee to further dig into the matter. The inquiry committee provided details of findings documented against Yohannes.

He has been accused of violating the procurement procedures and issued purchases of cloud-based Office 365, GPS mountable on vehicles and the like. His name was also attached to facilitating bank payments for two private spa and restaurant businesses.

Fifteen days later, the board beckoned an emergency meeting on Thursday; it has decided that Yohannes should be held accountable for his misbehavior and maladministration. The Reporter has contacted Yohannes to learn whether he has been removed from his office. He said he is still running the office and has no clue about the board’s position. Hirut Woldemariam (PhD), minister of Culture and Tourism also told The Reporter that she knows nothing of his removal orders. Sources said that the fate of Yohannes is yet to be made official.

The board, however, criticized the Ministry for ordering payments to be made from UNDP’s project finance and for not following the formal communication channels that the board has. In many instances and exchanges of letters between ETO and the ministry, it has been made “secret” from the ETO board.

Yohannes was appointed by outgoing Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn, who also chairs the Ethiopian Tourism Transformation Council, to which ETO is a member. Along with Yohannes, Mihret Yechale (PhD) was assigned by the PM to head the organization as deputy CEO. Mihret was an assistant professor at the University of Gondar since April 2017.

It is to be recalled that The Reporter has reported about the appointees. Both have assumed office effectively as of April 20, 2017.

Source: The Reporter

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