Ethiopia's Armed Forces Co-ordinating Committee has taken over the St. George Brewery in Addis Ababa?
Ethiopia's Armed Forces Co-ordinating Committee has taken over the St. George Brewery in Addis Ababa as part of a programme to nationalise companies owned by Emperor haile Selassie and the Ethiopian nobility.
The Committee said it was taking over the brewery because -- although it was a state owned company in name -- all the profits had gone to the Emperor and a few officials.
The Emperor was said to have been paid the equivalent of GBP 5,500,000 (about 13 million U.S. dollars) in direct dividends. His wife, the late Empress Menen and nine close friends received another GBP 4,000,000 (about 10,000,000 U.S. dollars) in the past 22 years.
The company was bought by the Government from its Ethiopian and foreign owners for GBP 250,000 in 1952, and was now estimated to be worth GBP 4,500,000 (about 11,000,000 U.S. dollars).
The Armed Forces Committee said the brewery would be placed under the supervision of the Ministry of Finance, along with the Haile Selassie I Trust Fund, an organisation giving money and awards for work done in Ethiopia.
In further revelations of the Emperor's private financial affairs, the Armed Forces Committee accused the Emperor of channelling huge sums of public money into foreign banks. The Committee has indicated that the Emperor's fate may depend on the return of the money.
Throughout the country there has been growing disillusionment about the Emperor's right to rule. But for the moment, pictures of the Emperor continue to occupy their pride of place on Government office walls.