British charities have rubbished reports by the British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC that aid money in Ethiopia was spent on weapons during the civil war. Bob Geldof, founder of Live Aid attacked the BBC report which also included backing from the Central American Intelligence, CIA, summing it up as ‘palpable nonsense’.
Mr Geldof who first staged the Live Aid show in London in 1985 to help famine-stricken Ethiopians was enraged at the report. He said on the Andrew Mar’s show yesterday that there is no shred of evidence in what the BBC reported. The report which is also featured on Afrik-news.com last week included claims that huge amount of aid money was siphoned into buying arms by the Tigray rebel in 1985, quoting claims by member a former rebel who supported the story.
A livid Geldof said: “There is not a single shred of evidence that Band Aid or Live Aid money was diverted in any sense, it could not have been.”
Earlier, Christian Aid, another charity which works in Ethiopia said “its (own) investigations do not correspond to the BBC version of events”. Christian Aid further said it will take the BBC to task and will make its complaint known to the BBC Trust (An independent body which manage the broadcasting house).
“This story is a good example of how a lie can be halfway around the world before the truth has put its boots on,” said a spokesman for Christian Aid.
A senior member of the Ethiopian coalition government, Abadi Zemo had also rubbished the BBC claim describing it as “nonsensical”.
But the BBC said it is standing by its story. Andrew Whitehead, the BBC’s news and current affairs editor at the World Service, maintained that the BBC is standing by the reporter, Martin Plaut, who filed the controversial report.
However Geldof whose charity is one of the main organisations in the Ethiopian relief effort, was still fuming. He said: Produce me one shred of evidence and I promise you I will professionally investigate it, I will professionally report it, and if there is any money missing I will sue the Ethiopian government for that money back and I will spend it on aid.”
Live Aid was created during the Ethiopian famine of 1985 which was also coincidentally the period of political loggerheads between the then government and Tigray Peoples’ Liberation Front led by the incumbent president, Meles Zenawi.