A Canadian man whose fortunes changed overnight two years ago when he went from being laid off to becoming a multimillionaire has died in Ethiopia, Global Affairs Canada has confirmed.
Michael Gebru, 41, died under mysterious circumstances in his home country, his cousin Sosuna Asefaw told CBC News.
In 2017 Gebru, who had recently been laid off at an assembly plant, checked a lottery ticket, thinking he’d won about $14. But he’d actually won $10.7 million.
“I’ve always said that if I won the lottery, I’d help people in need,” the Scarborough, Ont., man told CBC News at the time.
That’s precisely what he did, his cousin told CBC News. Ever since winning, Gebru had travelled between Toronto and Ethiopia, hoping to make a difference with his newfound wealth.
“Going back home, he just wanted to do more for our country,” Asefaw said.
Asefaw says Gebru had just flown to Ethiopia a couple of weeks ago and had been visiting the area where he grew up, when something went awry.
The circumstances of Gebru’s death are still being investigated, she says, but the family has heard that he was killed Saturday night.
The family is appealing to the Canadian Embassy in Ethiopia for help, saying they’ve heard little from local police.
“I don’t know exactly what happened,” Asefaw said. “Everyone knew who he was in Toronto and everyone knew back home, because it’s a big thing … He didn’t grow up with much.”
In a statement to CBC News, Global Affairs Canada said, “Our thoughts and sympathies are with the family of a Canadian citizen who died in Ethiopia. Consular services are being provided to the family.”
Spokesperson Angela Savard said the department could not provide further information, citing the Privacy Act.
African law firm Bowmans has announced that it is expanding into Mauritius and Ethiopia, enabling it to unlock more opportunities for its clients and contacts on the African continent.
Robert Legh, chairman and senior partner, says ‘This move, which is effective from 1 October 2019, is an investment in the ambitions and success of our clients across Africa. Mauritius and Ethiopia are key jurisdictions for many of our clients and our presence on the ground there will help us to better support them.’
Bowmans is opening a fully-fledged office in Mauritius, having joined forces with FirmWise, a local firm that specialises in corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, banking and finance, investment funds, tax, compliance and private equity.
‘This development will benefit our clients as Mauritius is increasingly positioning itself as a recognised international financial centre, and has favourable laws for foreign investors to establish their African headquarters prior to expanding further on the continent,’ says Legh.
The new office, to be known as Bowmans (Mauritius) Ltd, will be a fully integrated part of Bowmans, composed of a team of six lawyers led by managing partner Fazil Hossenkhan, who founded FirmWise and is well known as a private equity funds lawyer, and Shianee Calcutteea, a partner specialising in corporate and M&A work. Their initial focus will be on assisting private equity and other corporate clients in their Mauritius setup and on structuring their investments around Africa, as well as on banking and finance transactions.
Commenting on the decision to join Bowmans, Hossenkhan says the firm has an impressive reputation. ‘We are proud to become part of a recognised leader on the continent and to work alongside them on the complex, challenging legal work for which Bowmans is known. It presents a unique opportunity by which we can significantly build upon our service offering to our clients.’
‘Ethiopia is a vibrant and burgeoning market – it is now one of the fastest growing economies in the world, offering significant opportunities to our client base. The great advantage of this alliance from our perspective is that we will have a close tie-up and formal alliance with one of the few high-quality corporate law firms available there,’ says Legh. ‘Given the nature of the legal advisory market in Ethiopia, it makes sense, at this stage, to work closely together under a formal arrangement.’
Aman Assefa, managing partner of Aman Assefa & Associates Law Office, which specialises in high-end corporate and transactional legal matters, says there are numerous benefits in working with a recognised African law firm of Bowmans’ calibre. ‘The arrangement we have entered into with Bowmans allows both firms to remain open to adaptation in the face of an evolving market in Ethiopia. For us it signals our intention to be part of the international community offering world-class legal services in Ethiopia.’
As a result of these developments, the Bowmans brand is now present in six key African countries: Ethiopia, Kenya, Mauritius, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. The firm expects that business will continue to grow in all of these markets as its clients take advantage of the growth opportunities which are available.
‘We are very excited to have formally expanded into Mauritius and Ethiopia,’ says Legh. ‘We see this as another step towards achieving our vision of being the pre-eminent African law firm, supporting our clients and our people, as they seek to unlock opportunity, overcome challenges and realise the hopes that will shape the future of Africa.’
The Ethiopian parliament, the House of People’s Representatives, HoPR; today approved a new electoral bill ahead of much anticipated national polls slated for next year.
Lawmakers convened in an extraordinary session to debate and pass the law which had been under construction since Abiy came into power in April 2018.
The revised law of political parties registration and electoral ethics has been adopted unanimously by Ethiopia’s parliament, the state-run Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation reported.
The privately-owned Addis Standard portal added that a proposed clause meant to boost the involvement of women was dismissed by the lawmaker. The said clause sought to give priority to women who received equal votes with men during the polls.
The ruling coalition, the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front, EPRDF; is on record to have stressed its readiness to organize the polls on schedule.
The EPRDF currently holds all seats in the parliament.Competing parties in Africa’s second most populous nation have also made similar calls but with a core demand that electoral reforms be passed.
There is a new head of the electoral board in the person of Birtukan Mideksa and international partners including the European Union have pledged financial support to help the electoral process.
Analysts have meanwhile expressed concern over rising insecurity which saw Ethiopia emerge the worst in the area of internal displacement due to conflicts. Ethnic based clashes soiled Abiy’s first year in charge at a time he was championing widespread political reforms.
The body of Israeli hiker Aya Na’amana, a 22-year-old student from Araba in the Galilee, was found in Ethiopia.
Na’amana went on a trip as part of a Technion delegation, where she studied as a student. She became separated from the group during a trip to the Salt Desert in Danakil, Ethiopia.
The Israeli foreign ministry stated: “We regret to announce that the body of the Israeli young woman, Aya Na’amana, was found after she was lost during a trip to the Salt Desert area in Ethiopia.”
“The Israeli embassy in Addis has been working with Ethiopian authorities, government and military officials at the highest levels, together with the Magnus Rescue Company, to locate the Israeli. Yesterday, when the incident occurred, searches began on the ground by local police, military forces, and local volunteers. Searches continued today, conducted by ground forces and a helicopter, until the body of the young woman who apparently fell to her death was found,” the official said.
The Foreign Ministry added that they share in the family’s grief and assisted in transporting Aya’s body to the Israel as soon as possible.