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.
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.”