Mohammed Hussein Ali Al-Amoudi has been ordered to
pay 905,158 dollars by the Federal High Court
Seventh Civil Bench that he had collected to reclaim
debt, which was not only owed to him but also to the
The ruling on Tuesday, November 29, 2011, came after
the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) asked the court for
It all started when Shadia Nadin, Tamrat Layne,
Hassen Abdela, and Nigussie Hayelom where found
guilty of illegally exporting 1,000tn of coffee, a
Along with their criminal liability for mishandling
government property, they had been ordered by the
High Court to pay 26.4 million Br, the value of the
coffee. Although they had appealed to the Supreme
Court, contesting the verdict, the Supreme Court had
endorsed the High Court’s decision.
In the midst of the appeal hearing, Al-Amoudi
intervened in the suit. The defendants also owed him
money, as they had taken 16 million dollars from
him, of which the majority (9.5 million dollars) had
been taken by Shadia, while Nigussie and Hassen had
taken 556,324 dollars and 6.4 million dollars,
respectively, Al-Amoudi had claimed.
The debts of the latter two were settled after he
had sold their shares in East Africa Bottling, worth
58.6 million Br. He then took his case to courts,
both in Switzerland and Djibouti, going after
properties of the remaining defendants. In the
process, he collected 6.5 million dollars deposited
in Swiss bank accounts under the names of Tamrat’s
son and Shadia.
He had also been awarded a favourable verdict by the
Supreme Court in Djibouti five years ago. Al-Amoudi
could collect 2.5 million dollars to fulfil
remaining debt owed to him by Shadia, the Djiboutian
Although the court does not have any say over the
rulings of the Swiss courts, it does for those in
Djibouti, with which Ethiopia has signed a judicial
assistance agreement, where the courts in each
country enforce the rulings of each other.
It was while Al-Amoudi was applying for execution of
the Djiboutian judgment that the Ethiopian MoJ had
The government takes priority in collecting debt
from the assets of defendants, both locally and
internationally, the ministry claimed. It asked the
Federal High Court for all of the money taken by Al-Amoudi,
citing a previous ruling by the Supreme Court
Cassation Bench as precedence.
Alganeh Teshome, a lawyer for Al-Amoudi, contested
this claim. The verdict by the Switzerland court was
given before the Cassation Bench had reached a
verdict, he said.
However, the money had been taken by Al-Amoudi
despite his agreement with the MoJ that any assets
seized from the defendants would be used to settle
the debt of the government, the ministry claimed.
The three presiding judges at the Supreme Court,
Aseged Begashew, Desta Gebru, and Tsegaye Amarew,
ruled in favour of the ministry. The government has
priority in settling debt, even using assets located
outside of Ethiopia, they ruled. However, they have
no say over the decisions of the Swiss courts, they
Additionally, they rejected the ministry’s claim to
all of the money that Al-Amoudi took to settle
debts. Nonetheless, Al-Amoudi had taken 905,158
dollars more than the amount that his debtors owed
him and should, therefore, pay that amount to the
government, they ruled.
The 2.5 million dollars deposited in Banque
Indo-Suez Meri Rouqe of Djibouti under Shadia’s name
and Berames Plc, which she administers, should be
given to the government, the verdict read.
Al-Amoudi then appealed this decision to the Supreme
Court Cassation Bench, claiming an error of law. The
hearing was adjourned until December 18, 2011.
Within this time, the ministry will apply to the
Djibouti Court for a judgment execution on the 2.5
million dollars held in Djibouti.
But, the court does not have jurisdiction over banks
in Djibouti to order the execution, the presiding
judge, Muluken Teshale, said.
The ministry should take its judgement execution to
the courts in Djibouti to collect the 2.5 million
dollars, the he wrote in his judgement.
But, the execution should be frozen until the
verdict of the Cassation Bench is known, Al-Amoudi
argued unsuccessfully, however.
“Appealing to the Cassation Bench does not prohibit
the ministry from collecting the money,” the judge
Muluken also ordered Al-Amoudi to pay the 905,158
dollars without interest, since the Supreme Court
did not order the payment of interest in original
the case with the debtors.
Al-Amoudi presented a bank statement from the
Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) Meskel Square
branch to show that he can pay the amount, leading
the case to be closed at the High Court, while his
appeal is still pending at the Supreme Court