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Anti-Corruption Commission blames parliament

High Government officials and the parliament are in a row over the disappearance of Kassim Fite, head of Land Administration and Management Office of the Addis Ababa City Administration and member of Parliament. Officials of the Federal Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (FEAC) said that Kassim’s disappearance has created heated debate at the parliament and other relevant government offices during this past week.
“Even though the Commission was trying to arrest the official after it received a formal letter from the parliament on Tuesday, it is unable to catch Kassim or know his whereabouts as he has run away from the country on Monday,” an official from FEAC told Capital. “We don’t have the right to apprehend Kassim without the approval of the parliament, but the parliament delayed in sending the letter to the Commission,” this senior official of the Commission further explained.
According to sources at FEAC, the Commission dispatched a travel ban to the immigration authority to prevent potential flight of the MP, soon after receiving the confirmation that his immunity was revoked, but to no avail, as the suspect has already left the country.
The parliament is said to have taken the action on Thursday July 4, but the office did not immediately notify its decision to the Commission.
Senior officials at the commission told Capital that the Commission verified with the Immigration office which confirmed that Kassim has actually left the country on Monday July 8.
Two other suspects under Kassim’s case have been arrested and one was released on bail.
The House of People’s Representatives on its first hearing last week had rejected 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).
The Anti-Corruption Commission claimed 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 in 1995.
The Anti-Corruption Commission hence requested the House to revoke Kassim’s immunity on August 2, 2012 so as to be able to formally investigate and or file charges against him. The Commission was claiming that Kassim has allegedly provided incomplete documents to the Land Administration Board and deliberately concealed documents that confirmed Girma’s ownership of the land.