(The Ethiopia Observatory) –In early May 2015, a new book – Clinton Cash – would appear in the market to raise, according to The New York Times, questions about finances and favor-seeking at the Clinton Foundation.
One such alleged minor-player and favor seeker is Ethiopia. It is reported that it has made contributions of $20 million via the Saudi tycoon Sheikh Al-Amoudi as middleman to politically and economically benefit the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). The story as first reported on the DailyMonitor was different. It disclosed that MIDROCK-Ethiopia had announced donation of “$20 million over a ten year period to Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative (CHAI)” in support of the latter’s country program in Ethiopia.
The DailyMonitor also indicated that the company “agreement was made in London between Sheik Mohammed H. Al Amoudi, owner and Chairman of MIDROC, and former US President Bill Clinton, founder of the foundation.”
The author of the yet unreleased book Peter Schweizer of the Hoover Institution, who is also president of the Government Accountability Institute, is concerned that the overall issues of contributions to the Clinton Foundation and the problems it raises point to the public’s interests being mortgaged, the influence the Foundation exerts around the world.
In the case of Ethiopia, Mr. Schweizer alleges that, because of the contributions mentioned above, the State Department had certified Ethiopia’s human rights records.
There have been numerous comments and reactions by some papers and media outlets about the mentioning of Ethiopia, of which the following few represent the ideas in the book, and as raised by others:
“Schweizer highlights another large donor to the Clinton Foundation, Mohammed al-Amoudi — Saudi Arabia’s second-richest man, who supposedly owed his fortune to his relationship with Ethiopia’s government. An Ethiopian American human rights group sent an open letter in 2009 to the Clinton Foundation and the Secretary of State’s Office warning that they believed Amoudi’s huge donation was funneled from the Ethiopian government, as Amoudi was not known for his philanthropy.”
The said Ethiopian-Americans’ letter to Bill Clinton is reproduced hereunder:
“We are writing regarding potential conflict of interest between the Clinton Foundation and the government of Ethiopia. We appeal to you to look into this matter immediately and dissociate your name and the name of your foundation from a repressive government.
We are particularly concerned about a $20 million donation to your foundation by Sheikh Mohammed Al-Amoudi, a businessman closely allied with Ethiopia’s rulers. (http://www.mohammed-al-amoudi.com/philanthropy). As you may be aware, Mr. Al-Amoudi’s name has been mentioned in connection with the 9/11 tragedies.http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,391519,00.html?iid=digg_share
We have reason to believe that the huge donation to the Clinton Foundation was made on behalf of the Ethiopian government. Ethiopia’s rulers have deployed tremendous resources to ensure the continuation of the Bush administration’s policy of unquestioning US support for their controversial rule.
Surprisingly, Sheikh Al-Amoudi, along with the Gates Foundation and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is among the top five donors to your organization.
Although we believe in philanthropy, there is something troubling with this picture. By all accounts, Sheikh Al-Amoudi, the owner of Ethiopia’s famous Sheraton Hotel, is not known for much philanthropy. He has had pet projects where he lavishes cash on soccer players. Beyond that he is known more for throwing extravagant parties and weddings.
Local AIDS organizations that appealed to the billionaire for paltry sums were turned down. So why would a wealthy man from one of the poorest countries in the world say no to organizations in his country and yet easily cough up $20 million for an American organization 10,000 miles away? Is this just a coincidence that the donation was made at the start of US presidential elections?
We have strong reasons to believe Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s government is behind Sheikh Al-Amoudi’s unprecedented donation.
Mr. Zenawi stole the 2005 elections, destroyed all opposition, muffled the press, banned advocacy for human rights and made a mockery out of the rule of law. Following the elections, his troops shot and killed 193 people who protested electoral fraud, massacred innocents in Gambella and the Ogaden. They had also bombed civilians in Somalia on many occasions.
Mr. Zenawi’s government has been one of the worst violators of human rights in Africa. But it escaped any sanctions because it was a friend of the Bush Administration; it successfully exploited the administration’s preoccupation with the war on terror.
Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Genocide Watch International, US Department of State, among others, have extensively documented war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Mr. Zenawi’s government.
Ethiopia’s rulers understand that their very survival depends on the continued financial and diplomatic support of the United States. A brutal minority regime deeply hated by its own people cannot last long without outside protection.
The Zenawi folks understand that they need the continued protection of the United States to stay in power and to avoid justice. They have taken money from the mouth of the starving and spent millions on Washington lobbyists and other policy influencers. They need the legitimacy and respectability bestowed by a US administration and by people like you.
We are appreciative of all the good work done by the Clinton Foundation to alleviate suffering caused by HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia. We are particularly grateful for the work your foundation is doing to arrest transmission of the virus from mothers to children.
The work of the Clinton Foundation in Ethiopia is closely intertwined with government operations. We urge you to go beyond the government and to seek out independent community organizations that are closely working with the poor.
While we laud your AIDS work, we are disappointed that you have never spoken up against egregious human rights violations. We are disappointed Prime Minister Zenawi, a human rights abuser and a war criminal, has been given a forum and respectability at many of your Foundation’s gatherings.
A bad government backed Western money and using the names of well-meaning people like you have created a hell on earth for 80 million Ethiopians.
In closing, we ask you do the right thing: to speak up on behalf of the poor and the oppressed and not enable a nation’s tormentors. We ask that you speak up against human rights violations in Ethiopia, distance yourself from the Ethiopian regime and disclose all funding from the regime and its allies.
Ethiopian Americans for Justice
New York, NY
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, US Department of State
Ethiopia Desk, US Department of State
Ambassador Donald Yamamoto, US Embassy in Ethiopia,”
“WASHINGTON: More than 40 percent of the top donors to the Clinton family foundation are based in foreign countries, which could lead to conflict-of-interest questions for Hillary Clinton as she prepares to launch her campaign for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.
The charity that now bears Hillary Clinton’s name along with her husband and daughter has received millions of dollars in donations from foreign governments, businesses, individuals and nongovernment organizations around the globe, according to an analysis of 10 years of contributions by McClatchy. Many of them gave as recently as 2014.
The governments of Saudi Arabia and Norway each contributed $10 million to $25 million.
Mohammed Al-Amoudi, a billionaire businessman who lives in Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia, retired German race car driver Michael Schumacher, and Denis O’Brien, the Irish chairman of Digicel phone company, each donated between $5 million and $10 million.
A London-based children’s charity and a Nairobi-based organization trying to improve agriculture in Africa each gave between $1 million and $5 million.