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A tragic end to a celebrated engineer
Police collecting forensic evidence at the crime scene

A tragic end to a celebrated engineer

The body of recently deceased Simegnew Bekele (Eng.), 53, chief engineer, orator and a public face of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), will be laid to rest on Sunday, July 29, 2018.



He was found dead in his vehicle in Addis Ababa’s Meskel Square on early morning of July 26, 2018. Simegnew’s body was discovered inside his Toyota Land Cruiser V8; plate number AA, Code 3, A29722 with the engine still running.

The location where his dead body was discovered is a place where morning joggers frequent. The vehicle was also parked at a place where cross-country buses load and unload. The Reporter witnessed that Simegnew has been wearing a scarf and a baseball cap when he was found.

According to the Commissioner General of the Federal Police Zeinu Jemal, Simegnew’s vehicle was seen at the crime scene as early as 8:30 am and apparently he was reported to have checked in his office in the morning around 7:30 am. But, it was at 10:57 am that the crime scene was marked by yellow tapes. Minutes after, his body was taken to St. Paul Hospital for autopsy.

In a press briefing he gave in the afternoon, the Commissioner also revealed that the police have discovered a pistol in the right-hand side of the deceased, although the bullet entry wound was on the left side of the neck.

Simegnew was in Addis Ababa to orient journalists on the current status of the GERD project which was rumored on social media to have lagged and will not be completed on schedule. He was also scheduled to take journalists for a visit to the project site.

The project which was a source of tension between Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia is still in the process of discussion between those countries. Back in April 2018, the roundtable discussion between the three countries held in Khartoum has ended in a disagreement.

The GERD project now believed to have reached a 65 percent completion is contracted by the Italian company Salini-Impregilo; whereas its electro-mechanical work is under the military industrial complex— Metal and Engineering Corporation (MeTEC).

Simegnew, a civil engineer from Addis Ababa University, has been serving as a chief project manager of the GERD, since its grand commencement back in 2011. He also served as the deputy project manager and chief project manager at the Gilgel Gibe I and Gilgel Gibe II dam, respectively. He was born on September 13, 1964, in a small town called Makesegnet in Gondar.

He completed his primary and secondary school education in Gonder. Upon finishing, he joined Addis Ababa University and graduated back in 1997. He then started his carrier at the then Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation. For the past 32 years, Simegnew worked as a teacher, chief engineer, project coordinator, project manager and a CEO.

He is survived by his wife and three children.