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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. Brothers and sister EVERY END HAS A NEW BIGNING let this be the new beginning for united Ethiopia so we can END the atrocity to our people,to our country Ethiopia.the looting of of Ethiopia by this HODAM WOYANE and CO.LET AS STOP THE POLITICAL BIKERING and focus our energy in supporting ARMED struggle and get rid of this cancer WOYANE from our land Ethiopia.

  2. Elias this is a great journalism, well researched and appealing.
    Do in the future too provide us such exceptionally written articles.
    Great work.

    Samuel and Co. fail to know one thing.Wealth and prosperity could vanish in microseconds.

  3. I know personally Ato Samuel and I am not a member of any political party. In my view he is a hard worker business man starts from the ground and reach this level. I cann’t say he is not getting a help from the current government; he might get the support. Elias as a Journalist you have to balance his contribution for the development of the country with his fallback instead of criticizing him like this. He can buy what ever he wants once he is succeeded in his life that is why he is struggling to reach this stage.

  4. Wow, I never heard that a person who dines and wines with 500 people is called “HODAM”. I feel sorry for those who call Elias a Journalist. Brother Elias, since when is making it BIG is a crime? I know you haven’t set a foot to Addis to pass a judgment on the quality of job Sunshine is doing – or have the expertise to belittle the so many good engineers, among them my own brother, who work for that company and pride themselves on their know how and technical skills. I’m not here to defend the guys connections or lack of it. I’m rather stunned by your audacity to suggest that making it big equates to being corrupt and a person with “no conscience”. I hope Bill Gate and Mr. Buffet will never get the day light of this bogus opinion. Elias, this may come as a surprise to you – but the number of Ethiopians who are making it big without the connection you are alleging are enormous. In today’s Ethiopia, if you work hard and willing to put the necessary sacrifice, sooner or later you will get there. I’m not naive to suggest connection does not help – but hey where else is that not the case? I thought even here in States – it’s who you know, not what you know. So, let’s get real and celebrate the fact that we have people as rich as the guy in today’s Ethiopia. One more thing, how do you know again that the Meleses’ have more than 1.2 Billion? I’ll say more about it the next time you try to come up with a new trick.

  5. #6 tt7 thanks for your comment it took me to other site.
    but what i discovered about this Hodam Woyane Samuel Tafess and CO was amazing.
    i suggest others to go to this site see who is who.thanks…..

  6. # 9 MIKEAL-I agree with all what you said.Let me say something, Elias and the hate diaspora politicians will push away more peaple like me and you from joining the struggle to bring political change in Ethiopia.
    Remember what Elias posted lasttime a story about one succesful business person and his name is Henok Tesfaye.N

  7. Hummm! Samuel is able to build a house worth an estimated 5 – 7 million dollars in the United States. Where did he get all this money and how was he able to ‘secretly’ ship it out of poor Ethiopia? Even foreign companies are not allowed to stash their profits out of the country in this magnitude. The rest of us are not allowed to take out foreign currency in a much, much less volume? What is this? What does it tell us?
    Guys, instead of accusing Elias, yes brother Elias, you better thank him and ask all the relevant questions. Why build a house of this size? Is Meles thinking of ‘retiring ‘ in Virginia. Is this mansion built for Samuel’s partner in crime Azeb Mesfin?
    Ask and ask. Do not blame the messenger for bringing the news.
    Thanks Elias. Next time, I hope you will post a picture of all those who went to the house warming party so we can shame them. Imagine! I still can not believe that 5 million dollars is taken out of poor Ethiopia and invested in rich USA.

  8. Don’t worry about these hodams. These hodams knows meles will be here with a begging bag after the party is over. These pieces of s–are not only shameless they are also heartless.

  9. # 9 MIKEAL

    I completely agree with all what you said. Let me say something, Elias and the hate Diaspora politicians will push away more people like me and you from joining the struggle to bring political change in Ethiopia.
    Remember what Elias posted last time a story about one successful business person and his name is Henok Tesfaye. Now Henok’s mother restaurant called (Etete) is added to an “Hodam” list or associate of Weyane because they just got the contract to deliver Ethiopian cuisine to Samuel’s party. Tomorrow, Henok will be called “Hodam” or Weyane’s partner in DC. Come on guys, how many businesses we are going to kill. Remember how artist Abonesh lost her business on 9th street with that radio interview long time ago, she gave to Ayalkibet and interrupted by one of the hate-politicians and a cab driver called “Fasil.”
    Is this the system, they use to discourage people?
    Samuel had two vending spot in RFK stadium during the 2008 soccer tournament to sell condos. Why Elias didn’t say anything at that time and why now. Samuel has also the right to build what ever size house here in US or any other free country because he can afford it .It is not a crime be rich in a capitalist society. All what Elias accused him for needs to be investigated deeply and professionally? Not just what Elias has done.

    death for hate politics

  10. I think i know Mr.Samuel Tafess in 1966 EC. We were the same school in Addis Ababa, Felege Yordanons, Chercos. His father was a painter. He used to sell CocaCola in Adiss Abeba stdium. His nick name was Cocacola. I do not remember that he completed high school,Tefere Mekonnen. If he was the one whom you are talking about, Wow! I do not think that he could be a malty million-er. Thank you Mr. Elieas for good information. Keep up for your great job!!!

  11. That is typical of African looters instead of giving back to their people avoid country, they lead an extravagant life. Sooner or later they end up in disgrace.

  12. It is amazing to see all Weyane sycophants crying foul when one of their close buddies is exposed. Well done ER. We all have heard that Samuel is a very close friend of Azeb and by logical deduction a friend of the tyrant Meles. Do these Weyane parasites imagine that we are ignorant of Weyane’s deceitful and treacherous characteristics. Thanks to ER’s investigative journalism, we also know that the man’s wife is the sister of the Minister of Public Works. Does any Weyane really know the origins of Samuel’s wealth. Was he or his family wealthy business people before Weyane’s arrival to Ethiopia? Or did he accumulate his wealth abroad and took it back to Ethiopia with him, when Weyane arrived in Ethiopia. How come Samuel, who resides in Ethiopia, is allowed to build a house in the US costing $5 million when the Ethiopian Customs and Immigration Law only allows travellers US$3,000 to take with them. So all you Weyane parasites, don’t BS us we do not want to hear your shrill complaints about our “intolerance” of “legally accumulated wealth”!!

  13. I agree with Mikeal and Gemechu. I never thought whatever Elias Kifle. He seems to be writing well but his articles are misguided and fall far short of journalistic standards. There wasn’t anything investigative here. Although I do not have anything to prove him otherwise, I do not see any concrete evidence either. Many of the things he write fall into the “Alubalta” category potentially doing a lot of harm to people who simply believe what this guy says.

  14. Hey comment #9, who talks about your brother here? what Elias says is correct, the so-called hard working man is corrupted upto his neck. Every penny he makes with weyane is a blood money. Because your brother works there doesn’t mean you know everything.

  15. when everything and anything that is available above and below the land the robbers invaded is owned, controlled, and run by members of the crime family, it is no wonder, but sad; it is no thriftiness, but extravagance; it is no sharing, but greed; it is no about the people and the country, but me, me, and me and personal and group interest; and it so sad, our homeland is exploited and looted by the few gutless robbers.

    Ethiopians, we have been aware of how these robbers have been looting our country until it is broke; therefore, et’s do more to accelerate the downfall of Zenawi’s regime and declare long lasting victory for all Ethiopians.

  16. #[email protected]
    it is not a crime to build what ever u want, it is not a crime to make a lots of money.
    but it is a crime when you loot Ethiopia. it is a crime when you have Woyane giving u a contract because you are associated with criminal cancer of Ethiopia. but yet there are 70% Ethiopians Going hungry every is a crime to benefit in the expense pour Ethiopia.stop blaming ELIAS and ER.
    blame Ur owen greed blame Woyane not the victim which is Ethiopians…….

  17. Answer for your question and comment # 19 called “Tizibit”

    By the way, I am not an, “EPRDF,” member or supporter and I do not support the hate- political movement in the Diasporas either. I support those who are struggling to bring a political change back home with a peaceful means in the future.

    Your question was quoted here by copied it from your comment:-
    “Does any Weyane really know the origins of Samuel’s wealth? Was he or his family wealthy business people before Weyane’s arrival to Ethiopia? Or did he accumulate his wealth abroad and took it back to Ethiopia with him, when Weyane arrived in Ethiopia”.

    First of all, you made a mistake here at the end of the question by saying, “When weyane arrived in Ethiopia”. I think it is better to say, “When they controlled the entire country,” because Tigiray WAS and IS and WILL BE the part of Ethiopia. They didn’t move from out side of the country as foreigners.
    For your question, does any Weyane really know the origin of Samuel’s wealth?
    The answer is YES, he was a small contractor during Col. Mengistus’s socialist regime.
    Do you remember at the end of the regime and about three years before it collapsed that Derg relaxed its economy policy from command (socialist) to mixed economy?
    Then I remember Samuel was the first business man to take advantage of it and to invest real state business. He received a land in front of George building where Flamingo bar and restaurant is located on Bole road, not far from Mesikel square in my Wereda 18 and Kebele 07 to build a nice looking 11 story white color office building. Now at this time, the entire “Ketena” 2 of Kebele 07 is demolished including my family house for him to expand his real state and hotel business .I like it because it is going to be changed for a better looking.
    He rented the entire building for Japanese and next to it; he has his own company office.
    His wife also runs a “SUNSHINE” beauty salon business on the ground floor.
    By the way his daughter and his younger sister run the same “SUNSHINE” hair salon business in Falls Church VA on George mason drive in skyline business center.
    What I heard was that his wife was from SUNSHINE” business family before they got married. But I don’t know whether his wife accumulated wealth abroad and moved it to Ethiopia for good when “EPRDF” controlled the entire country.
    I think the wealth he accumulated before May 28, 1991(Ginbot 20) also gave him the power to get project contracts especially, highways in the rural part of the country with 100 of millions of Birr. Now with in 19 years he becomes one of a successful business people in construction, real state development and hair salon businesses.
    But he and God knows how Sunshine Construction, received the most lucrative contracts for construction projects around the country, as Elias said. Is that because Samuel’s wife is the sister of Public Works Minister Kassu Illala, who supervises all major construction projects in the country, I don’t know. How did he take the dollars out of Ethiopia to build a 5 million dollar house here in VA? Also I do not know.

    But why we are always “Mikegna”, when some people become successful. Is it in our blood to be sucked out?

  18. elias,
    thank you for bringing and investigating this burnning issue…you have gone so much to fight weyane and thier hodam servants by searching more about thier corrupted wealth…..

    btw….the owners of etete restaurant of washington dc Henok tesfaye and brothers are a number of one servants of tplf in washington dc area…as a result they took catering during weyane fake millunium celebration 2 years ago…they were a right hand for a weyane top police officer during his visit to washington and now they are taking a part @ samuel’s party……so unless they have a tie relationship with top weyane officials there is no single way they are chosen to serve weyane back to back…shame on them…no more etete resturant….and thier resturant will be shut down soon as ethiopians boycott it….

    thank you elias! Let we ethiopians follow the job elias and expose this weyane elements everywhere

  19. #9 You better shut your mouth up. You know why Elias is not going home. While people like Samuel Tafesse robing Ethiopia in day light, our brother the one and only practical man Elias Kifle is fighting weyane without rest. He could sing “Kindibu” or dedicate his known website for Weyane and al-amudi and travel home every week, like “Hod first Ben fetala Kebede”. But he is a man of principle and he is on the side of the people.

  20. Elias,
    Do you notice how many people seemingly are against your reports? At least half of those comments, if not more, are by Woyane’s PR team. This phenomenon as been noted many places on the net.
    So, logically, the more such comments you get, the more likely it is that you’re hitting a nerve.

    I don’t always agree with you, and sometimes bitterly disagree with you. BUT I NEVER EVER make the threat to leave the struggle to join EPRDF. That’s what distinguishes the undercover Woyanes from the Ethiopians that honestly disagree with you.

    By the way, somebody needs to go to the party entrance and take pictures and videos of all that show up. They have to pass through public property to get there. Have somebody with high definition zoom capable camera to capture these individuals and expose them the same way March4Freedom did.

    Woyanes in the “diaspora”, you will be exposed. You will be linked, little by little, to the same regime you claim has persecuted you so that you can get your asylum. No holds barred.

  21. Hi People, Don’t be surprised things are getting soooo corrupt and as the saying goes “scratch my back and I will scratch yours” the Restaurant called ETETE is not preparing for making business but the owner(her oldest son) just have a baby from Samuel’s daughter out of a wedlock. He is a married man but out of his marriage he did a favour to Samuel by pregnanting his daughter for the support he got in obtaining the Regan/Dallas parking lot.

  22. I mean, Elias posted a picture here. What more evidence does one need. There is better than average circumstantial evidence here to indict this looter. Thank god for public records in America. It is shameful for all those who will attend this event, who don’t have any conscious, definition of Hodam. Some one who will attend has told me that he might post pictures and names of the Hodams on world wide web. Good Job Elias on this investigative journalism.

  23. If what Elias reported is right – Friends of Ethiopia should storm/demonstrate at the hotel to make the world now that ato Samuel is not welcome here as he is one of the tyrants of Africa.

  24. #9 Mikael… wrote ” Brother Elias, since when is making it BIG is a crime?”

    Making it big is not a crime. Actually, it should be praised. What makes “making it big” a crime is when it is blood money. When you are backed by the most ruthless government and all opportunities are handed to you by ignoring others who are in the same business and you are partner and member of the Weyane crime family, that makes it “big crime” Ask yourself how much this guy worth what he was doing before joining the Weyane mafia. How long did it take him to make it this big?

  25. It is not a crime to be rich rather how how u make it. Think of Ethiopia, a poor country few of them are rich beyond imaginable, the rest probably have one bread or not. how did he makes his money? by corruption? your country is on sell. have you realized that? let me tell u what i have seen. his power he build houses for him and his children. that is ok. i have seen bigger than that. but the street that pass by his house the metal that been installed on peoples land for speeding cars so you can slow down. I call that corruption. have you read the guy who sent to person for carrying 100,000 br at bole airport? the chinese guy who wants to take 40.000 doller? they all have been punished. when it comes to them it is ok. that makes me sick to my stomach. Fassil, this is not ALUBALTA. it is the fact.

  26. … is my wish to see hundreds or thousands like Samuel in Ethiopia,they are signs of progress and prosperity.I think the world is fed up of hungry Ethiopians….. thank you Mr. Muartegna….

  27. Elias u make me laugh to the floor with your crap talking,why U HATE? the guy has every right to do what ever he feels like doing,it aint a crime to celebrate anniversary,and Samuel is not woyane u dont need to trash the hard working guy’s name like this u are dead wrong.U wish u have his wealth and his luxury life back home,u get payed by Issayas to BARK like a dog right? WOW WOW WOW.

  28. I can’t believe people read such garbage. There should never be personal opinion in journalism. Flabergasted that this is the number one site for Ethi news, reflective of a denkoro hizb, i feel sorry.

  29. I know Samuel, he is a very hard working individual.
    He starts from small painting jobs. I don’t expect him to be perfect.
    But remember, it takes a lot of dilligence, hard work and countless
    sleepless nights to grow in businnes.

    Choose to be positive. He work and got it. Embrace him.
    Am tired of reading biased and demonized messages.
    Be cured …

  30. I just stumbled on this site,browsing for some good and positive story of my country,
    but what i found is same hateful story which probably originates from what looks like pure jealousy.

  31. fellow Ethiopians do you know this the so called rich people do not have enough money to pay to eth bank they borow milloins and millons of money from differnt banks that is ethiopians moneny and thay cannot pay because they alrady transfer it here and what do you say are we Mekegna. All are we saying let it be just. This is the fact instead of building a mansion let him pay his debt first. This worries me much. For all ethiopians i do not think they are angry becouse he samuel or others are milliners. we should be concerned about the unpaid money they borrowed and that money is some where out side ethiopia.

  32. I’m surprised by so many people praising Elias for his “reporting”. The very fact we are talking as much about Elias as the article itself tells the whole story. A good “journalist” is never the part of the story. In any case, I’m shocked how many of us seem to be clueless about things and still manage to comment on the subject. Folks, it is legal to get as much money as possible into this country – the more the better – as long as it follows all the proper procedures. This country is in dire need of willing investors. This is the problem I have with some folks thinking. It was not a long time ago when we were told that – everything was going to Tigray and just only people from Tigray can advance further. Now, since this guy doesn’t fit that mold, we are coming up with all the justifications to make him a criminal. When I said my brother works there, what I meant was that there are countless dedicated people working for the company who pride themselves by doing a quality work. After all, this guy can only the admin work at best. I wish people will wake up and say; Ok may be things are not as good as could be but a progress is visible and let’s contribute to the success of the this poor country. The buildings and bridges this guy is making are not going leave the country when this government dies its natural death. Wake up – wake up. See things for what they are. Stop whining and make a difference by going home and by investing your hard earned money and still unwashed brain. Trust me, if you don’t stick your nose where it does not belong – maninly on politics – nothing bad will happen to you. Don’t be fooled by what you read and hear from the hate mongers.

  33. The end of hatemongering era is very near.Ethiopians blinded by die hard diaspora’s are finaly comming to theier sense.
    Elias Kiflom,It time to pack up and and start digging your trenches in Nacfa Eritrea.

  34. It is obvious that you don’t make that much money or accumulate wealth without having a tie with the government.

    I doubt if there is any individual who engaged in business in Ethiopia could even move a single step without dealing with the corrupted system and government.
    There are so many Samuel likes created in Ethiopia who took advantage of the existing situation and make a good living for themselves.

    I would be more interested to know what they do to help the millions who have nothing to eat, to those who suffer with chronic illnesses due to the lack of access to medical facility or medication, to those who have no access to education or materials, to the millions of street sleepers who spend each and every night in the dirty corners of Addis and other cities with empty stomach.

  35. Elias, you are an outstanding investigative reporter. There are more stories to report, and I can’t wait to hear more of it. It is literally sickening to know that there are more hodam Ethiopians than we can count. I am sad, mad and angry all at the same time, knowing that 12 to 15 million Ethiopians have nothing to eat, and some Ethiopians like Samuel Tafesse who lack empathy, integrity and commonsense build 5 million dollar homes. Depressing news, but the truth must be told.
    Only Woyane PR team try to reason with thieves like Samuel Tafesse and find an excuse for every looter Woyane. It is really disappointing to see your website is swarmed by Woyane commentators. I’ve already stop visiting another well known Ethiopian website because of Woyane PR team. Elias, I hope you are going to do something about it.

    So far, out of 42 comments—Sadly, 15 of them are from Woyanes.

    Elias, I thank you, for a job well done!

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