ADDIS ABABA – A Federal court sentenced a man to five years in jail and fined him 10,000 Birr for illicit foreign currency traffic, according to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).
Defendant Abdu Seid Endris was arrested by the customs police while trying to smuggle foreign currencies worth over 26.5 million Birr out of Ethiopia in April 2022.
Over 481,550 US dollars and 33, 000 Euros were among the foreign currencies of 8 countries found hidden in various compartments of the truck the accused was driving to Djibouti.
The MoJ’s statement on Monday say the truck driver illegally used a permit issued by the ministry of transport during his attempt to smuggle the forexes to Djibouti.
His actions, Federal prosecutors said, violated the country’s Criminal code and the amended National Bank of Ethiopia Establishment proclamation.
They charged him with engaging in illicit traffic in currencies at Federal First Instance Court Dire Dawa Bench.
The defendant denied the charge but the court found him guilty of the offense of illegal traffic in foreign currency.
The court sentenced him to five years in prison and 10,000 Birr fine after taking four factors including his prior clean criminal history into consideration, according to the Justice ministry.
As per Ethiopia’s criminal code, a person found carrying forex in excess of the amount fixed or authorized by the central bank could be punished with up to ten years imprisonment, and up to 10,000 Birr fine.
The punishment could go up to 20 years in jail and a 100,000 fine if the accused misused the power of his official position or committed repeatedly.