House saves MP’s immunity


Rejects Anti Corruption’s request to revoke Kassim Fite’s immunity
The House of People’s Representatives refused to ratify the request tabled by the Federal Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (FEAC) to revoke the rights to immunity guaranteed by the Constitution to Kassim Fite as a Member of Parliament (MP). Kassim Fite is also Manager of the Land Administration and Construction Permit Authority, and the immunity revocation request is based on alleged corruption in land-transfers.
The Anti-Corruption Commission states that Kassim has deliberately allowed Yohannes Derseh, a hotel owner, to illegally lease 500 square meters of land in Woreda 3 of Bole Sub City initially leased to Girma Afework (Eng.) for the construction of a 12-storey luxury apartment.
The Anti-Corruption Commission requested the House to revoke MP Kassim’s immunity on August 2, 2012 so as to be able to formally investigate and or file charges against him.  The House forwarded the request to the Law, Justice and Administration Standing Committee on October 11, for review.
MP Million Assefa, Chairperson of the Standing Committee, said its Committee has held in-depth discussions with both the Anti Corruption Commission and MP Kassim for quite some time. He then categorically stated that the Standing committee’s conclusion is that the MP’s immunity right be revoked. He further requested the House to approve his Committee’s decision.
However, most MPs said that the Standing Committee’s decision lacked detail and transparency. Some even claimed that proper procedures haven’t been followed and that such requests should have been made by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), and not the Anti Corruption Commission. After a little more than an hour of intense debate, the House finally closed the session rejecting the Commission’s request.
Capital learnt that the MPs were content on how the decision was taken. They felt that a transparent and firm discussion was held before they announced their decision; which shows that the ‘House has started to challenge proposals and performances of different government institutions and is not acting as a rubber stamp,’ they said.