Prominent businessman, Ermias Amelga Leaves Prison (UPDATE)


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14 Responses

  1. Leul says:

    What is Ermyas doing with the billions of Birr he collected from the people under empty promises to build houses and flats? His record shows that he has never completed a single project so far. Hundreds of contracts with property buyers are already default cases.
    No construction is currently underway at any of his numerous sites of colossal magnitude of planned construction. Some of the sites he planned construction some three years ago using collected public money include Ayat, CMC, Megenagna (numerous sites), Bole area (about 7 sites), Meskel Square, Sar Bet, etc. The high rise apartment buildings in Bole area alone are estimated at close to half a billion Birr.
    Many are wondering what he is indeed doing with their hard-earned money and many more are desperately claiming back their money out of frustration, even though he has been in hold of their money for several years now. Presently, construction at all sites has stalled and in many cases even not started.
    Now that he starts issuing invalid cheques for disgruntled customers, the million dollar question is now, where is the billions of Birr he collected from the people? Is the money still in Ethiopia or is he doing something mysterious with it? What is the fate of the hard-working Ethiopians both inside and outside of the country who with full trust gave him their hard-earned money?
    It is time that Ermyas is questioned in earnest by both customers and pertinent public offices what he indeed is doing with such big sum of money and what his plan is for his disappointed customers, who have been overly patient and cautiously waiting for him to discharge his contractual duties.

  2. Agere says:

    Ermias Amelga was a successful business man.

  3. Addis Alemayehu says:

    He has been front runner in real estate, banking technology, and capital market, and has achieved lots of milestones, including establishing Zemen Bank. However, with regard to real estate not a single home, apartment or condo is delivered to the buyer. Hailing him to his achievements, while questioning his wisdom in real estate.

    • Asefa says:

      Dear Addis,

      It is simply surprising to me to read people praising him for the thing he has not done. No, he has never been a front runner in real estate industry in Ethiopia. There had been giant and productive real estate companies such as Ayat Real Estate ( and Country Club Developers (, just to mention few, before Mr. Ermias’ Access Real Estate, S.C. (ARE) was established only in 2008 ( And Access cannot be compared to those two big companies in scale of operations, reliability and productivity. Access never successfully delivered a product. How did you consider him a front runner in real estate?

      In fact he has never been a front runner in any thing in Ethiopia. Private banking was not new to Ethiopia when he established the Zemen Bank in 2009. Some earlier private banks were nationalized following the 1974 revolution and incorporated into government banks. After the fall of the Military Government, private banking industry was pioneered by Bulcha Demeksa and his Awash International Bank (established in 1994). Then many others followed. Zemen Bank came to existence only in 2009.

  4. Ephrem Belay says:

    He Contributed a lot for our infant private sector. he is pinoeering mineral waters business in ethiopia with royal and Highland. in addition he was working with foreign companies to attract foreign direct investment. if he made mistake or did crime i belive that no one is beyond our legal system but i suspected his arresst might include political prejudice and motivation.NBE official were looking him for several years. lets hear the official version of the story before concluding ………

    • Girma says:

      Dear Ephrem Belay,

      I strongly disagree with your comment here.

      First he never pioneered mineral water business in Ethiopia. There had been well known mineral water businesses in Ethiopia since the time of Emperor Haile Selassie. I can give you few examples: the Ambo Mineral Water in Ambo (, and the Babile mineral Water in Harar. Both were private enterprises initially, but were later nationalized in 1974.

      There had been other mineral water projects in licensing process through the proper channel when Ermias illegally started his production without proper license. I can mention for example the Bure-Baguna project in Gojam. It is sad to mention that Bure-Baguna project did not succeed mainly due to political reasons. I don’t want to go into details here.

      Second, regarding his contribution to the Ethiopian private sector, yes any body can have contribution whether good or bad. In my opinion, the bad part far outweighs the good in the case of Ermias’s contribution. His business activities are full of illegal and short cuts moves, do any thing or do it any way as far as it brings money.

      I do not have information with regard to his recent arrest in particular. But believe me; Ermias is not a person who can have an issue with this government. He has enjoyed enormous benefits and cover under this government. Otherwise, he could have surrendered his business licenses or been jailed long time ago.

  5. Leul says:

    Wondime Addis, while I agree to your remarks, the paradox here is that while Ermyas has a couple of success stories to boast about that require substantial capital sourced mainly from lending banks, he could not deliver anything in his real estate business, despite the fact that, in this case, he collected money directly from the buyers with additional interest on those who pay in installment.

    Surprisingly, in some cases, the interest alone amounts to close to 50% of the cash price. Buyers can only deposit the down payment and transfer the subsequent installment payments to Zemen Bank alone, which he established a couple of years ago and in which he has a significant stake. In this way, Ermyas has not only collected huge amount of money from buyers, but also is reaping huge profit in form of bank interest and yet delivering nothing.

    Hence, his success in the banking sector should be seen from this perspective. As an observer, I can smell the stink of a wall-street style big crime underway in his real estate business for which he will have to pay dearly sooner or later. There cannot be any convincing justification for someone like him, who collected hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Birr, making hundreds of millions in form of interest, delivering nothing and leaving hundreds and thousands of hopeful citizens lose hope. I say it again, Ermyas has to face the brunt of justice and I am confident he will. Let us wait and see. Time will tell.

    Wondime Ephrem, yes, I was up to recently of your stance regarding his early business success. However, in this particular business of real estate, where he should have demonstrated even more success using easily collected huge amount of money with additional bank interest (not he paying to a lending Bank as in most businesses rather customers paying him, mind you!), Ermyas has failed and betrayed many innocent and hard-working citizens.

    I know many friends who paid millions of their entire long-time savings with the hope to have their own roof over their heads. I know also cases of elderly individuals, who sold their old property with the hope to own a better one within a couple of years and to lead a mode of life appropriate to their old-age lifestyle. Just imagine the degree of frustration of these innocent people whose hope turned into thin air.

    • Tadele says:

      Leul and Others thank you for your thoughts.

      I do respect and appreciate Ermais on some of his successes, but not all. He has failed in Acess Real Estate. Customers are deceived with his overestimated profile and fancy advertisement. He sold houses /flats for about a billion birr and collected in hundred millions, yet no single delivery. The company is good in externalizing problems. If customers start asking refund, this is a sign of losing faith on him and the company.
      Bottom line he is owning and leading a company which ambitiously engaged in real estate without proper study, now it become clear that they are not even able to manage their cash.

      Unfortunately, they do not publish their financial report. WHERE DOES THE MONEY GO……

  6. Girma says:

    I have known Ermias since he returned back home in Ethiopia. He is a kind of person who likes to do things in short- cut ways rather than in legal and procedural ways. Sometimes, he undermines the legal system of Ethiopia. For example, he started his bottled water production without a license and did not want to get one untill he was forced. He does not hesitate to do any thing as far as it earns him money. Throughout his business career in Ethiopia, there have been many occasions in which he deserved prison, but he was not even charged. Apparently, from my observation, when he came back to Ethiopia under the EPRDF government, he came to exploit the fragile government and under it the new, unexperienced and loose regulatory system.

  7. Emanuel says:

    His activities seems to be Too Good to Be True.That means also highly spiced political loudering factory. Whose underpants is he loundering soooo actively? 🙂

  8. Bk says:

    I am one of the Victim of his unfulfilled promises in the real estate business. After paying half a million birr as a down payment to buy one of his imaginary high end condos priced at 1.47 Million Birr 2 years ago, I finally decided to request a refund as none of the Projects started construction. It ‘s been months since my agent started being a regular visitor at his office but none of her visits were successful in getting an honest answer, one day she’s told they will give us our money back in a week, the other day they’d tell us Mr. Ermiyas is out of country and no one from their office can sign on a check this big. I am really disappointed with them and am in preparation to Sue the company next week.

  9. Tesemma says:

    Dear BK, I know cases similar to yours. A big scum is brewing in Access, whose offices are these days frequented by disappointed buyers. Many like you are asking for the reurn of their money, but in vain. To begin with, the minimum waiting time is two months after you officially asked for contract termination. This is then followed by a pinful beurocracy which may take several monts more, all this to get your money back, mind you. On the other hand, Zemen Bank, where most buyers money is deposited, is making huge profit. The annual dividend to shareholders is close to 40%. For a bank operating from a single branch, this is unprecedented. Whose money do you think is generating all this profit. I do not think this demands rocket science to reckon.

    It seems the the way to go is to bring this individual to justice. It may be helpful to coordinate it with your likes back home. I have heard from reliable sources that some customers are gathering around lawyers, who are victims themselves. Go for it. But, you can also do it on your own. There is nothing to lose. It is also highly likely that you would get back your expenses.

  10. Getaneh says:

    Don’t trust anyone just because he is western educated. Remember Madoff the ponzi scheme. If customers don’t take steps to get their deposite back there will be no money to give. Because the scheme involves Zemen Bank, the dividend paid to Zemen share holders is gotten through criminal activity. All customers Access need to get together act. If there is a justice department in ethiopia it should start inverstigating the books. There is a credible evidence of criminal activity.

  11. weygud says:

    The more I read about Ermias, the more it shows how non Tigrayans and those non favorites are targeting such Ethiopians who are hard worker. If it is not for them, they economy will be destroyed. Why don’t you question EFFORT? Why don’t you question those who have been embezzling money with TPLF. I think he was set up by TPLF because, they don’t want anyone as powerful as them.

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