Wikileaks: on EFFORT and other ‘Endowments’

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On how EFFORT was founded:

2. (C) Seeye Abraha (strictly protect), the Chief Executive 
Officer of EFFORT from 1995 until his expulsion from the 
TPLF in 2001, detailed EFFORT's founding and operations to 
Pol/Econ Chief in a two-hour discussion on March 17.  Seeye 
noted that the TPLF had received huge amounts of 
international assistance, particularly from the United 
States, throughout the 1980s to support its struggle 
against the Derg government and to provide relief to the 
Tigrayan people.  Whatever food or other in-kind support 
that they could use or transport into Tigray, they would. 
They sold the excess food and support items in Sudan for 
cash.  At the end of the struggle, the TPLF incorporated 
whatever military materiel it held into the Ethiopian 
military's inventory, kept all of its more than 100 
transport lorries, and liquidated most of the remaining 
stock held.  Seeye estimated that in 1991 the TPLF had 
roughly $100 million liquidated.  Acknowledging that these 
resources did not belong to individual TPLF members, the 
party decided to use the funds as a perpetual relief 
mechanism for the Tigrayan people who suffered the costs of 
the struggle.

There was an interview on VOA sometime back where Sebhat Nega told the unbelievable story that the money came from a shai bet (Tea/Coffee Shop) that the TPLF operated in Yemen and some house(s) which the TPLF owned and rented (link to interview). Seeye’s version seems more believable.

Seeye also says that changes at EFFORT reflect Meles & Azeb’s increasing control of the TPLF…

Seeye argued that, much like 
Sebhat Nega's removal from the TPLF Central Committee in 
2006, his removal as CEO of EFFORT in late 2008 likely 
reflects tensions between Sebhat and Prime Minister Meles' 
wife Azeb Mesfin.  While former regional Vice President of 
Tigray Abadi Zemo has taken over the CEO position at 
EFFORT, Seeye argued that Azeb's ascendance to the EFFORT 
Vice Chairmanship reflects an increasing consolidation of 
influence within the party and control over resources by 
Meles and Azeb.

Full cable

Here is another cable where the GM of Dashen Brewery, an ANDM controlled company, tells embassy officials that he can “make or break any one” and that HE has “the right to kill.”

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