The saga to finalise the inheritance of a prominent lawyer, the late Teshome Gebremariam, has lingered for an additional 20 days as the judge of the Federal First Instance Court, Lideta Division First Succession Bench extended the ruling date to May 29, 2018.
Judge Meka Nesiru, who has been reviewing the case for the past year, received the third amended liquidation report two weeks ago, though, he was meant to receive it on February 12, 2018. However, it was postponed twice as the liquidator claimed that he did not get sufficient time to process. Meka presided last Monday’s session to give a ruling. Although, he said that he needs to review the third liquidation report as the two claimants in the case for unsettled payments, are dissapointed with the report.
Until then the bank account and the assets of Teshome will remain frozen. Teshome passed at the age of 86 while he was on a businesses trip in Namibia, on December 16, 2016. Educated overseas, Teshome had served as a top-level government official in the Emperor’s regime. He was a minister of Mines and an Attorney General. He also played a pivotal role in the formation of the then Organisation of the African Unity (OAU), in 1963.
The issue of his inheritance remains quarrelsome since his survivors were dodged in a court battle a year ago. Amsaleworq Mekonnen, his widow, and Wessen Teshome, his only daughter, have opened a succession file on February 18, 2017, taking their case to the First Instance Court after the City Administration Court recognised them as widow and heir of the deceased, respectively.
However, the succession could not proceed as Teshome’s former assistants, Lidet Abebe and Mahlet Kassa brought civil suits against the survivors claiming unsettled fees prior to his passing. Lidet, who worked in Teshome’s legal office for four years, claimed to be paid 7,000 dollars in addition to the 40,000 dollars the office owed her for the services she provided to five international clients on trademark registrations. Mahlet also contended that the company owed her 1.3 million Br.
This led to the appointment of a liquidator, which was initially assigned by Wessen. However, the two claimants refused the first liquidation report questioning the neutrality of the liquidator. The court had designated a new liquidator, who submitted the second report that was rejected for the reason that it did not include claims of the two former aides and for having irrelevant details. Due to these reasons, the Court ordered for the resubmission of a third report, that was submitted two weeks ago.
The liquidator received a bank statement of the deceased from the Bank of Abyssinia. He also checked whether Lidet and Mahlet have uncollected payment in the transactions. Before the case reached to the Court, Teshome’s family agreed to give Lidet 36,000 dollars swapped as 0.8 million Br with the exchange rate of the date of the agreement right away and pay her the remaining 4,000 dollars when Teshome’s client settles the payment. However, they did not agree to pay her the remaining 7,000 dollars stating she left the company without finalising the jobs.
Wessen had complained to the Office of the Attorney General claiming that Lidet has committed a breach of conduct in taking away clients from her father’s law firm without his consent. Her complaints dropped, she has taken the case to the Federal High Court where it was also rejected.
The survivors also opened a civil suit at the High Court against Mahlet, claiming she owes the company 750,000 Br for the loan she took but did not pay back. Mahlet denied taking loans arguing that the money was a payment for her service to the law firm and filed a counterclaim for 1.3 million Br in unpaid service fees. She also appealed for the case to stay injuncted until a ruling is given in the case under litigation.
Teshome’s family had pleaded to the court requesting for the release of his assets and bank accounts, in return to injunct another account of his which has a 2.6 million Br deposit, though, the Court did not give any ruling.
While all these cases are pending, judge Meka adjourned the case to May 29, 2018, to come up with his findings after reviewing the case.