Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Woyane Blood Money

The story of how the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), commonly known as Woyane, stole famine aid money in the 80's has been an open secret among Ethiopians for quite sometime. Only now it is getting the attention it deserves by the international press (see yesterday's BBC expose on the subject titled "Ethiopia famine aid 'spent on weapons'").

The picture above shows two Woyane representatives receiving the money channelled to them through an "aid worker" named Max Peberdy. Mr. Peberdy wants us to believe that the money he helped to transfer went to the starving. Mr. Peberdy's profile on his employer's web site states that "his specific area of expertise is evaluation of development and emergency programmes and the management of projects." What a job description!

The BBC wanted to interview the current Woyane honcho, Meles, to clarify the story, but he refused to be interviewed. Surprise, surprise! Obviously, they did not really need to get his side of the story because they had already gotten plenty of first hand witness accounts and other supporting documents to the theft of the aid money to corroborate the story. Sadly, the diversion of food aid money still goes on unabated with full knowledge of the donors!

Martin Plaut, the BBC reporter who broke this story, has additional reporting: On the trail of Ethiopia aid and guns. Here is a portion:
For years the rains had failed and by 1984 millions were starving.

Thanks in no small part to the help of Bob Geldof and Live Aid, people responded as never before.

Millions of dollars were raised. Food was brought in. Many died, but the worst was averted - or so I thought.

But a year ago, I began hearing a different take.

I was contacted by Ethiopians who said we had all missed the real story of how money given with such worthy objectives had ended up being used to buy weapons.

I began making enquiries.

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