Sophia Bekele, DCA founder, wins landmark case against National Bank of Ethiopia

Sophia Bekeke, an international entrepreneur and Ethiopian native has won a major legal battle against the country’s central bank – that is the National Bank of Ethiopia – whose decision led her to lose shares she inherited from her late father but for an undervalued rate.

Ms Bekele, the executive director of DotConnectAfrica (DCA) Trust – one of the contenders for the dotAfrica top-level internet domain –  lost her inherited shares after they were auctioned by the United Insurance Company (UNIC), a company where her father was a founding shareholder.

(TOP: Sophia Bekele, the executive director of DCA Trust). 

“She was one of the thousands of foreign nationals of Ethiopian origin who have lost shares after the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) instructed banks and insurance firms to auction shares under their holdings but pay them at par values of initial formations. The balance between par value and current market offers was transferred to the national treasury. Ethiopia has laws that ban foreign nationals from owning shares in the financial sector,” states Addis Fortune.

“Although many have objected the decision and grumbled about its fairness, Sophia is the first to challenge central bank’s decision with her lawyers taking the case to the Lideta First Instance Court.”

Sophia had 288 shares with a 1,000 Birr par value inherited from her late father, Bekelle Eshete. She appealed for the return of her auctioned shares and has also requested the Court to order for the transfer of her shares.

In their ruling, the Judges ordered United Insurance Company to reinstate the shares while allowing Sophia to transfer them to a third party of her choice.

However, the lawyers representing National Bank of Ethiopia were displeased with the ruling  and have appealed to the Federal High Court on November 27, 2017. The matter is yet to be heard and determined by the higher court even though it was admitted.

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