Special parliamentary group decries corruption in Ethiopia. Would the cat catch the mouse, or is this window dressing due to 100% EPRDF electoral victory?

13 Feb

By Keffyalew Gebremedhin – The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)
 

Editor’s Note:

    These days The Reporter keeps on pumping out articles that certainly qualify it as being akin to a voice in the public interest. Nonetheless, there are certain indicators that also overrule that perception, especially in a country where freedom of the press and the free flow of information are unthinkable and the publisher a member of the ruling party and a former fighter for the “liberation of Tigrai” under the TPLF – the ruling party in today’s Ethiopia.

    And yet, either its interest in corruption is so strong that it finds the right information that is fit for consumption by the wider public finds the door to The Reporter easy and open, or there is prevailing view that anything it publishes would not put a reader or its reporters in danger.

    Only on January 28/2016, it published an article both the Auditor General and parliamentarians accusing officials at the Ministry of Mines of silence when the country is being robbed in broad daylight (“አገሪቱ እየተዘረፈች ነው” – ዋና ኦዲተር አቶ ገመቹ ዱቢሶ and “የማዕድን ዘርፉን እየመራችሁ ስለመሆኑ ሥጋት አለን” – የፓርላማው አባላት.

    Rarely appear in the private press such articles and strong languages, accusing the TPLF-led regime or corruption or terrible inefficiency.

    Sometimes, we could not help wondering whether this is happening because The Reporter’s publisher was once upon a time a ‘freedom fighter’ and trusted and the others in the private press individuals on whose head hangs TPLF’s distrust.

    If this understanding makes sense, the TPLF needs to be careful in particular at this time when the whole nation seems to have turned against it. Otherwise, it would end up encouraging citizens to move in the direction of becoming freedom fighters against it to win their dignity, human freedom and a sense of security, sanctioned by national and international laws!

    That is why we have been loyal readers of The Reporter, with great appreciation for its feature writers! Had the tolerance they have been enjoying the sacrosanct feature of TPLF’s ethnic domination of all other Ethiopians, the Front could have counted a few more years in power!

=========
 

    “This is the second time in a week that the Commission faced confrontation from the MPs. Days before on February 4, 2015, the Commission was in the House to present its half year performance report for the current fiscal year. We don’t need to hear attempts of embezzlement every year; why don’t you take legal measures?” Tesfaye questioned the deputy commissioner, Wedo Atto… We already provided the laws and it is not clear why the Commission is unwilling to act using these laws. You can’t be compassionate than the lawmaker,” he told the deputy commissioner.”

 

Interestingly, I do not come across such vivid stories in the other private papers that have this long survived being constantly clobbered on the head

A special parliamentary group setup by the House of Peoples Representatives (HPR) to inspect various government offices zeroed in on the Federal Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (FEACC) Commission for what it said was a rising trend in corrupt tendencies in the Commission itself.

This comes days after MPs lambasted the Commission last week regarding its action which the House described as a growing reluctance in taking legal actions against government officials who are repeatedly implicated in corruption cases.

The House that is fully occupied by the ruling Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and its affiliates had setup ten parliamentary groups in November designating them to supervise trends of good governance in ten selected entities of the federal government and the Addis Ababa City Administration.

Concluding their assessment, the groups through their chairman reported a summary of their findings to the House on Saturday February 6 in the presence of senior officials of the respective institutions covered by the supervision.

FECAC, the ministries of Justice and Trade, the Ethiopian Investment Commission, Federal Courts, the Ethiopian Electric Utility, Addis Ababa Water and Sewerage Authority and four Sub Cities of the Capital were covered by the supervision. Apart from the Ministry of Justice and FEACC – both tasked with bringing about legal order in the country – the other institutions are mainly service providers which are often perceived as a fertile ground for rent-seeking activities and exhibiting huge deficit in good governance.

The supervision groups’ findings on these service providing institutions also revealed similar trends of rent seeking activities coupled with a significant deterioration of good governance.

However, the supervision report exposed a mushrooming corruption in FEACC, an entity legally mandated to set ethical standards and fight corruption in the executive branches of the federal government and the capital city.

Absence of democratic and smooth relationship between employees and the management is also common in the Commission, Tadesse Hordofa, an MP and chairman of the supervision groups reported to the House where the Deputy Commissioner, Wedo Atto, is in attendance.

Some employees who are strong and determined in taking the right path were relocated to another post, and sometimes pushed to leave the institution, Tadesse reported.

The mushrooming of corruption in FEACC as identified by the supervision group was a shocking finding the House has heard. The Commission is legally authorized to register wealth and properties owned by senior government officials including MPs.

It has registered over 100,000 official’s assets, as of January 2016. Surprisingly, however, its staffs have been leaving the Commission accumulating a valuable wealth within a short span of time, the report said. Nonetheless, the Commission is not inspecting them, the report added.

Still, there are employees suspected of corruption but not properly examined by the Commission, the report highlighted.

Corruption tips received from the public is one of the techniques the Commission uses to execute its task; terribly, however, the supervision group identified that such secret tips are being leaked to suspects.

This is the second time in a week that the Commission faced confrontation from the MPs. Days before on February 4, 2015, the Commission was in the House to present its half year performance report for the current fiscal year.

In an urgent corruption prevention mechanism it has managed to deter multimillion birr procurement set to be embezzled in various government institutions, the Commission reported. Among these are 16 million birr procurement in Adama University, an eight million birr procurement in Wonji Sugar Factory of Ethiopian Sugar Corporation, similar corruption activities in the Ethiopian Airports Enterprise were mentioned in the report.

However, MPs were dissatisfied with the report on grounds that the Commission’s report is becoming repetitive year-after-year. Tesfaye Daba, an MP and chairman of the Foreign Affairs Standing Committee, was vocal in denouncing the Commission.

“We don’t need to hear attempts of embezzlement every year; why don’t you take legal measures?” Tesfaye questioned the deputy commissioner, Wedo Atto.

The Criminal Code clearly states that whatever the result, attempts are considered as a crime, he elaborated.

“We already provided the laws and it is not clear why the Commission is unwilling to act using these laws. You can’t be compassionate than the lawmaker,” he told the deputy commissioner.
/The Reporter.
 

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