A former communications minister of Ethiopia, Bereket Simon has been jailed for six years for corruption by a court in Bahirdar, northern Ethiopia.
Bereket Simon, a close ally of late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi was arrested in January 2019 on corruption charges and has remained in jail since then.
On Tuesday the court found him guilty of the corruption charges but his supporters dispute the charges saying they were politically motivated.
His co-defendant, a former top civil servant, Tadesse Kassa was also jailed eight years.
Simon was a founding member of the ruling coalition, the Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front, EPRDF.
His party, now the Amhara Democratic Party ousted him from executive committee membership in 2018.
Bereket resigned his position in government in October 2017 while serving at the time as an advisor in charge of Policy Studies and Research to ex Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.
Although he was reported to have rescinded his decision to resign, he finally exited the government when the current prime minister, Ahmed Abiy came into office.