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Samuel Tafesse flashes his wealth – in America

There are three classes of the rich in Ethiopia: 1. the Woyannes (the super rich), 2. their hodam supporters (bottom-feeders), and 3. honest wealthy Ethiopians whose number is diminishing by the day.

(Note to non-Ethiopian readers: Hodam is one who has no conscience, who sells his country, his people, his soul… for material gain. Woyanne is the ruling junta in Ethiopia.)

Among the hodam class, the second richest person in Ethiopia, next to Al Amoudi, is said to be Samuel Tafesse, a business partner of Meles and Azeb, the Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu of Ethiopia.

Samuel has been known to flash his conspicuously massive wealth by building a palace for himself in the middle of Addis Ababa, and throwing lavish parties.

This week, Samuel Tafesse and friends, including top Woyanne officials, are arriving in Washington DC to attend an extravagant party to celebrate his 25th wedding anniversary. The party will be held next Saturday night, August 28, at the Mandarin Oriental, one of Washington DC’s most expensive hotels.

The who’s who of Woyannes and their hodam supporters, about 500 of them, have been invited to dine, wine, and dance.

The cost for throwing the party is estimated to exceed $200,000.

Etete Restaurant in Washington DC has been hired to cater the Ethiopian food (Tel: 202 232 7600).

Woyannes and the hodam class in Washington DC are busy this week buying party dresses and going to beauty spa in preparation for the party.

The wedding anniversary celebration will be followed by a house warming party for Samuel Tafesse’s mansion that is being built in Alexandria, Virginia, at the cost of $5 million.  Construction crews are currently hurrying up to complete the house (shown below), which is sitting on 2 acres of land, located 20 minutes drive from Washington DC..

Fairfax County public records show that the 2-acre land (see below), located at 6434 Casperson Road, Alexandria VA, was sold to Samuel for $750,000 in December 2008.

When presented with the plan to build such a huge house, city officials were unhappy because the land could be used to build at least 10 townhouses. They urged him to build his mansion in another location further in the suburbs, which he refused.

(The above satellite photo was taken before Samuel’s mansion was built. City planners wanted to use the land to build townhouses similar to those in the area.)

The small house in the middle of the land (shown above) has now been torn down to build Samuel’s 16,000 square feet gigantic mansion.

One amused neighbor who saw the construction wrote: “It is being built as strong as a bunker. The basement looks like you could practice firing machine guns without disturbing neighbors. The 4 car garage is larger than my townhouse.”

Building big homes and buying luxury items is not a crime. In fact, they need to be encouraged since they help create employment for many people. But when such wealth is accumulated illegally, by crushing other businesses through unfair competition, by bribing government officials and partnering with heads of governments, it is harmful to a nation in so many ways.

As a close friend and business partner of Ethiopia’s brutal dictator Meles Zenawi and wife Azeb Mesfin, Samuel’s company, Sunshine Construction, is the first in line to receive the most lucrative contracts for construction projects around the country. Conveniently, Samuel’s wife is the sister of Public Works Minister Kassu Illala, who supervises all major construction projects in the country.

Samuel’s partners, Meles and Azeb, whose wealth is estimated to be $1.2 billion, get a cut from all the profit he makes. Since profit is the only motive — and in the absence of  genuine inspection — most of the buildings and roads Sunshine and the other corrupt companies build do not meet quality standards. Some of them are already falling apart. In short, Samuel’s wealth is accumulated through pernicious corruption — the kind of corruption that suck the life blood of a nation.

There are so many hard working, honest Ethiopians who could be as rich. But they are kept down, pushed out and many are leaving the country because they are NOT friends or partners of powerful government officials. It is such corruption and greed on the part Woyannes and their hodam supporters that have created an environment where most Ethiopians are unable to work and earn decent income in a country as rich in natural resources as Ethiopia. Instead of living under such a system, many are fleeing the country, in the process being subjected to the kind of humiliation and indignity as shown below where poor, innocent fellow Ethiopians are forced by Kenyan police to lay on the ground, face down.

The difference between these desperate Ethiopians and the likes of Samuel Tafesse is that the poor and destitute Ethiopians are not friends and partners of the ruling class. They are not any less hard worker or less smart than the hodam class who are flashing their ill-gotten wealth in our face.

Woyannes and their hodam supporters are committing egregious offenses, with impunity, against Ethiopians because the Ethiopian elite, including scholars, religious leaders, artists, the media, those leading opposition parties, have all failed to provide leadership. It’s easy to blame every thing on Woyanne, but the truth of the matter is that Ethiopians in every field who have the responsibility to provide leadership have miserably failed, as Teshome Mitiku points out in this song below:

Leader-less people by Teshome Mitiku

121 thoughts on “Samuel Tafesse flashes his wealth – in America

  1. while we need to be vigilant, we also need to stop the non sense of talking trash. Most of the problem was not caused by woyane rather by hodams in every block. One thing that really worries me most is that most of in the U.S. are not using the oppportunities this country offer. Most are getting old with out money and education. A cab driver lives better life in addis than in the U.S., there is no unity to do any thing; therefore, that is turning people to be so mean and gossipy. The best way is to work hard, go to school, and get united. Every thing else will fall in its place.

  2. tezibt,
    It is sad, the likes of you don’t know the difference between educated people and professional looters. Meles and his Woyane friends are just cold-blooded–cutthroat–con artists who got rich by robbing 75 million Tax Payer Ethiopians.

  3. Something stinks here; this guy became a billionaire in less than 20 years where the woyanes excluded all Ethiopians but only the select few to get rich. All this anniversary celebration and buying assets outside of Ethiopia is a classic case of stealing from the country and laundering most of the money. When the country is hard up for a foreign currency, this leba is taking out money out of the country. It is a fact he is an ass licker of woyanes and he will be judged.

    My other surprise is the wedding anniversary, as it is well known that this man is a serial womanizer. He chases young girls, as young as his children all over Addis and also abroad. Shame, shame…

  4. There is even talk of the Patriarch being involved in Sunshine Construction, Samuel’s company. Nobody knows how he made his money. His company is practically the only private construction firm that gets lucrative contracts from the government.

    I believe, it is illegal to export such a huge amount of foreign exchange (by our standards) except for importing goods.

  5. Elias the predictable Mikegna,

    I wish your readers could get a copy of all the materials you used to write during the Derg time. Typical that you would be so spiteful of private enterprise. And yet you would not think twice to be “Hodam”.

    Is that not the reason why you had a lot of people in agony and pain when you had power back in the days “HODAM” ADERBAY.

    Funny though, you are here in America in the land of the free, and you are defecating on the principles of freedom and honesty and private enterprise. Time will as always catch up with you again.

  6. Sour grapes. You are not a journalist, rather someone who is mis-informed, disgruntled, intellectually poor person. Success does not equate to corruption.

  7. tezibt,

    I would like to commend your fairly reasonable comments on this matter and other related issues. I am not regular here as such other than occasionally checking some home news. But, this weekend I had some spare time and took time to read all the comments posted for this article. Though there are very few rational and reasonable posters, most seem to be throwing their emotional views and hatred from both sides. That is really sad.

    When it comes to the main topic, I think, people seem to be losing track and missing the target. The way the article was written and the contents of most comments do not seem helpful for the struggle against the tyranny. Rather, it causes divisions among the people so that woyannes would be happy and buy more time for their missions. Believe me, they are so happy to see this happening among the diaspora. No body is paying attention what is going on back home at this time as everyone is focused on a single event where a wealthy individual throwing a lavish party here in the US.

    The other reality is that for anyone who deals with any kind of business in Ethiopia and elswhere, it is NOT unusual for the business owners to try to have certain connection with authorities. I can say it is a tradition;it is not a new phenomenon. Then how come we make it a big deal here??? Simply we can recall Star Business Group, which was then a gigantic multi-billion birr conglomerate. What was the main attribute for their drastic growth like that within short period of time? Nothing but their connection with the top ellites of TPLF. As the TPLF got divided into two, SBG owners were put in the jail because their connection line got broken (their connection happened to be a losing party: seye, asefa, tsadikan, etc). That is always the risk one has to assume when getting connected with the authorities, just like trading stocks. The connection gives a high reward with underlying risk in case something goes wrong.

    I am not advocating the thing this particular individual has done/is doing right, but I agree with tezibt’s view that he is revenging the poor life that he had experienced before all this wealth. In fact, there may be a lot of questions that one could question about the source of his drastic wealth, and the way he is spending this amount of money out here while the people down there are in question of survival. Other than throwing a lavish party, why all these spending on real properties? Is it really strategic? To me it doesn’t sound reasonable.

    Finally, I want to throw one different view from all of you, posters. Most of you guys including the editor, do not seem know woyane pretty well. They are very smart and strategic. This individual is not from their ethnic group, nor member of the party. He is from Gurage. What is his relationship with Dr. Berhanu? There are a lot of millionaires from TPLF group, but I never heard of anyone of them did this kind of things. I see this in two angles 1) woyanes wanted to crack and kill this company (sunshine),or 2) they are paving the roads for their wealthy members to follow the same path. By no means, it won’t be out of these two. We will see!!

    Anyways, you guys in east coast seem to know each other pretty well; I live in west coast (calf) far from the diaspora flaming heat. GLTA.

  8. Editor,

    All craps. How come you delete the comments that display the reality? Is that the way you play the game? It doesn’t take you anywhere. To shallow !!!!

  9. Editor,
    Sorry for my latest comments. I thought you trashed it. I saw the comment posted. West coasters sometimes lose patience. Keep fair and balanced fighting.

  10. Are you sure?

    Ato Elias, please verify with your source regarding Kassu Elala and Samuels’s wife (W/o Fetle) being family siblings. For me it makes all your effort of this investigative journalism questionable. I assure you we have too many Illalas in Ethiopia fathered their own siblings. Though, the connection with authorities is obivious of all Business personel at home we should give them a benefit to explain themselves, or check all the facts properly and without bias before trashing them completely. We are part of this nation and each one of us are responsible for our fellow Ethiopians, even the woyanes that we consider as aliens.

    Egziabher Ethiopian Yibark.

  11. Chaso i have some of your wordings made me unconfortable ,why mention Birhanu in here?and you said you are in the west coast so you don’t know much? it seems to me you are in the center of all the talk.

  12. Yineger,
    What do you mean by “center of all the talk”?

    I don’t think that someone does necessarily have to be in DC area to know much about woyanes and their systematic game upon the people in general and on the successful businesses in particular. In fact, you (east coasters) might have much better access to get current home info. My suggestion, however, is not based on the current info; it is solely based on the very nature of woyanes. I learned that at a close distance when I was back home. In most cases, they never go direct way to play their systematic game. That is my personal view. Anyways, we will see how it goes.

    I wonder if you could share me and others how the party did go last night.

  13. This is the men that ethiopia need .. we need a lot of rich ppl lke him to put a lot of poor our ppl on work … all ya haters talking shit … because your borko ass is working hourly … so what I admire samual Tefese … and I wish him all the best …
    Happy 25 year anniversary mr. Samual

  14. Chaso. please tale me your share from sunshine i am just kiding. first you start with non partisan that is a good part. you ended with supporting samual. Any way what woyannes are doing in there? we know what they doing. In different plans and tactics, they do one thing,looting these poor people. Woyannes are so many face to convence us one they say unity, diversity, and so on but in the reality they doing the opposite. How get along with woyanne they think still they are the only honest party of the land. sometimes i am surprising when woyannes talk about unity, ethiopia, diversity after they did those all thing. 1 they split Ethiopia from Ert then they got reward for that, they become agoverment of ethiopia. I do not have a problem the struggle of Ertrian. The main problems these small group who are form bogus pareliament. 2 they divided the people by ethinic group. 3 they denie they were anti divesity, actualy they are anti unity anti diversity.

    from the total peoplation in the main key postion all of them from one ethinic group for instance late us take diffence minister/Military generals and other high rank officers/ almost 99.9 of them are from this small ethnic group. If any body need this information you can get from one of the ethiopian website their name and ranks.In any criteria woyanne is falied goverment.

  15. for when #96 One thing i didn’t said that you need to owne house to be successful. you are living in the state with all the opportunity, most probabely you don’t have anything to show for. doma ras… work smart

  16. Hindia Chibsa, was taken into custody and sentenced at the Lideta First Instance Court 10th Criminal Bench on Friday, December 10, 2010 ,she was known to be Samuel’s partner and a businesswoman involved in building material supplies.
    The way it is going Samuel Tafesse might really need to get close to his allies in Washington Dc area

  17. we found out samuel ordered by azeb mesfin to biuld that mansion she thinks she is going to exile in U.S she dream that as long we live that is not going to happen woyane and tugs they are not liveing nowhere but in jail. we will hunt them and bury them.

  18. The reality is that Ehtopian are a deeply troubled people. What do I mean ? Ethopians have three major conflicts within themselves they are as follows: 1) Misplaced identity, in that Ethopians pretend to lack a strong self image of their “blackness” or black African identity. Their descriptions of their non identity with “blackness” would always be offensive to other Africans not only in Africa but also in the United States, Canada the Caribbean and South America. This attitude of Ethopians further alieanates them from other black African groups in the EU, for example UK, France and Holland. As a result of this intellectual, social and cultural isolation Ethopia and Ethopians will always find themselves isolated. Please allow me to go further on this point; unless you have oil and gas and other minerals a wealth of arable land, large educated workforce, strong military and stable transparent government, you are not in a position to isolate yourself from your neighbours.
    2) Obsesssion with “Ethopianism”
    This obsession skews all perceptions of reality for individual Ethopians. At the heart of this skewed reality is their mis-perceptian of their religion. To equate your religion to your culture is equilivant to idolitry. The Japanese learned this the hard way before and during World War II. Christianity is for everyone and the mission of a Christian is to spread the word of Jesus Christ being the way to the father. Once this belief is paired with a particular race, culture or nation you end up with idolatry because the focus is no longer on Jesus but on “religion”. The Ethopians have brought the curse of idolatry upon themselves as a result of this skewed racist, nationalist tradition of giving Christianity a national identity. By the way Good luck with your Muslim population.
    3)Missed opportunity of immigrants:
    Most dynamic immigrant populations follow a precise formula of educating, and economically and sociopolitically placing their members in strategic positions within their new home countries. This is important on two basic levels. One one level it is important to select the most best country to migrate to in terms of social freedom, economic and social mobility opportunities. Most Ethopians have done this by selecting countries such as the USA, Canada and the UK. However their behaviour in those countries are far from dynamic instead it is self absorbed and backwardly romantic. In Washington DC or London the representation of Ethopians in local or national politics is almost non existan althoug they have been their in relatively large numbers for several decades. Instead Ethopian communities create closed social ghettos where Ethopians focus inwardly while ignoring there need to metriculate and compete socially and politically in the wide society. They hold on to “cultural” practices sometimes focused on eating certain foods, coffee drinking and the previously mentioned religious groupings. Likewise their obsession with vacationing in Addis with displays of their hard currency relative wealth.

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