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Mayor Adanech Abiebie has ordered a reshuffle of the board of directors of the Addis Ababa Exhibition Center and Market Development Enterprise a few weeks after suspending members of its management over allegations of financial misconduct.

The Mayor announced the new board members in a letter dispatched to various city bureaus last week. Lidya Girma, head of the Addis Ababa City Peace and Security Bureau, has been assigned to chair the board.

Girma Gide, deputy head of the Finance Bureau, Zegeye Belayneh, a city revenues official, and Mesfin Assefa, head of the city’s trade works enterprise, have also been named to the board.

Girma Seifu, Addis Ababa Investment Commissioner, and Woinshet Zerihun are among the board members who have been relieved of their duties. Lidia replaces Biniam Mikru, head of the Trade Bureau.

Sources close to the matter attributed the reshuffle to a recent crackdown on alleged financial mismanagement at the Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations (AACCSA), which was in charge of overseeing the Exhibition Center until a few months ago.

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The Chamber’s board of directors recently voted to launch an investigative audit following reports of alleged fraud and misconduct among members of its secretariat. Heads of the secretariat are accused of forging cooperative agreements with foreign or domestic entities without the prior knowledge or consent of the Chamber’s board; signing unauthorized employment contracts and promotions; as well as involvement in large and obscure procurement deals.

The City Administration also recently suspended Tilahun Tadesse, CEO of the Exhibition Enterprise, although officials did not disclose the reason behind the decision. However, sources close to the matter told The Reporter Tilahun was suspended due to allegations of misconduct and maladministration.

Sources disclosed the Chamber has taken the Enterprise to court over a reported 20 million birr dividend payment the latter allegedly failed to make last year. The Chamber was entitled to half of the Enterprise’s profits while it was under its supervision.

Teklu Abate, deputy CEO of the Enterprise, and Tesfaye Mekonnen, head of communications, both declined to comment.

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