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Following the recent crackdown on corrupt officials of the Ethiopian Revenue and Customs Authority (ERCA) and private businesspeople, the Federal Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (FEAC)
announced that it is drafting a new regulation that will also enable it to investigate and indict the private sector on corruption claims.
The new proclamation that shall mainly focus on organizations that manage public finances, such as share companies, will bestow the commission full access to investigate and charge private businesses that are suspected of fraudulent activities.
According to the information from FEAC, the new proclamation will not only tackle corruption cases occurring in private companies or institutions but is also expected to deal with the setbacks observed in the implementation of the existing proclamation.
The corruption law issued a decade ago did not allow FEAC to handle private sector’s corruption crimes. It was limited to corruption occurring in government organisations, and was concerned with the private sector only when there is involvement on state level corruption cases.
The draft law presented to stakeholders earlier in the week indicated that it is the private sector that manages hundreds of millions of birr that shall be concerned by the new corruption law. Up to now, due to lack of legal framework FEAC was unable to deal with allegations of corruption in the private sector and re-institute properties embezzled by private actors. At the discussion, the international trend was presented, indicating that the private sector is included in anti-corruption laws in the western world. UN and African Union anti corruption conventions also include the private sector in their anti-corruption laws.
“Hence Ethiopia has a responsibility to amend the existing law and include the private sector,” Hailu Berhe explained in his presentation.
According to the draft regulation, business enterprises managing finances mobilised from the public will be concerned by the new law as well as share companies involved in manufacturing, agriculture, trade, construction, transport, finance and others. Financial institutions (bank, insurance and money transfer) even those that are not formed through share companies, professional associations, federations, confederations, cooperatives, unions, development associations such as the Oromo Development Association, Amhara Development Association or Tigrai Development Association, nongovernmental organizations and nongovernmental associations (endowments and foundations) will also be concerned by the new law.
Meanwhile, international organizations, political parties, religious institutions, small scale institutions, ‘ekub’ and ‘Idir’ associations that are believed to manage public assets will not be concerned by the law.
Bribery and embezzlement shall be the top priorities of the new law, say FEAC.