Former Ethiopian Prime Minister Tamrat Leyne, jai led for allegedly swindling the government to the tune of US$ 10 million and putting it in a private Swiss account, was Friday released from jail after serving 12 year, PANA reports, quoting state media.

The state-run Ethiopian News Agency (ENA) reported that Leyne, who served betwee n 1991 and 1994 under the leadership of current Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, was released by a court after serving two thirds of his jail-term.

The former Prime Minister was sent to prison for 18 years but was released Friday, after an Ethiopian court reportedly found him of good conduct after serving 12 years. Former senior officials in the past regimes have been sent to jail, with most of those released recently, having been exchanging harsh words with the justice system.

Leyne was a key ally of the current Prime Minister and played a major role in the ousting of the former military dictator, Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam.

Prime Minister Meles became president of the interim government formed soon after Mengistu’s exit.

Leyne was sacked in 1996 and later charged with corruption.

He allegedly pocketed US$ 10 million during his term of office.

He was also one time minister of defence.

Ethiopian media reports indicated that his release was authorised by the Ethiopian Federal Prison Authority.

The Ethiopian government managed to recover the funds allegedly stolen by the fo rmer Prime Minister, who was arrested alongside senior party officials on corruption allegations and convicted of those crimes in what is considered a tough anti – graft stance.

Ethiopia has emerged from a past dominated by dictatorial regimes.