a Virginia-based firm run by an Ethiopian-American former car dealership employee...was poised to oversee the construction of a $3.6 billion oil refinery in Ethiopia’s Somali region, after entering into an agreement with the Ethiopian government on April 28.
But the investigation revealed the company had made misleading statements about its capabilities and its connections as part of an elaborate scheme. It portrayed itself as an industry leader despite having never completed an oil-related project anywhere, and despite the company being delisted from the Virginia state corporate database when it signed the deal on April 28.
After Quartz Africa’s story was published one local social media user drove to the company’s listed address in Virginia, and found empty office space, with no sign of an extraction company in the area.
Dr. Koang wouldn't specify who he meant by "heavy quarters," but one official named Ethiopia's Ambassador to the US, Fitsum Arega as having vouched for the company. Amb. Fitsum doesn't deny this, but states that the agreement was limited to the conducting of a feasibility study pic.twitter.com/kPIXmIUfa9— Zecharias Zelalem (@ZekuZelalem) January 4, 2021