Ermias Amelga, founder and former CEO of Access Real Estate S.C, has been stripped off a government guarantee that provided the embattled businessman immunity. The guarantee was lifted in a letter signed by the minister of Justice, Getachew Ambaye, on March 14, 2016.
Ermias got a guarantee from the government through the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), to suspend a total of 81 criminal charges lodged against him and his firm for one year. He also earned a one-year legal guarantee and protection until he agreed to settle shareholders’ woes and homebuyers’ losses within the period he was granted. The assurance included that he would not be charged for writing bad cheques.
Lawyers of Ermais, Molla Zegeye and Mekonnen Aragaw, argued that their client was given a guarantee from the government and that he should not be charged for writing bad cheques and asked for their client to be released on bail.
The First Criminal Bench of the Federal High Court at Arada Division charged the suspect for bad cheques to six individuals amounting to 4.9 million birr citing that the guarantee has been lifted but granted him bail against a 600-thousand-birr bond on April 1, 2016.
Prosecutors argued that Ermias presents a flight risk and should not be granted bail.
However, the presiding judge ruled that this claim has not been substantiated and that it is a mere speculation.
Similarly, investigators argued against the lower court’s ruling to grant bail to Ermias saying that the investigation was not over.
Yet, lawyers of Ermias argued that the investigators had more than 70 days to conduct their investigation and that the lower court ruled against them after they asked for additional days.
After listening to the arguments from both sides the court adjourned the case for April 8, 2016.