The Ethiopian Revenue and Customs Authority (ERCA) has completed a major internal evaluation, involving 800 members of management staff, following months of turmoil in the wake of the arrests of some of its most senior officials.
The nine-day meeting was held at Aba Geda Hall in Adama (Nazareth) and mainly focused on misdemeanours within the authority.
It was chaired by Beker Shale, who was appointed Director General of ERCA following the arrest of its long-serving head Melaku Fenta in May this year. Staff from ERCA branches across the country attended the meeting.
Sources at ERCA say a management reshuffle is expected following the evaluation undertaken – some branch officials have already been removed from their positions.
The same sources also said some officials may face legal proceedings.
“The evaluation aimed to dismantle the so-called ‘network’ that was established under the previous management,” they said.
The assessment also explored the implementation of a new strategy for tax collection under the authority’s new management.
Efrem Mekonnen, Public Relations head of ERCA, denied that the object of the meeting was to break the existing networks put in place by former senior officials.
He told Capital that the evaluation focused on ERCA’s plans for the future and assessing its achievements.
“The event is usual and is undertaken every three months,” Efrem said.
Capital was unable to speak to the new director general as he was unavailable following the evaluation.
“I am in meetings and, because of that, I can’t speak to you,” Beker told Capital. Beker was Adama town’s mayor before being appointed to head ERCA.
Besides Melaku, several ERCA officials were arrested during the last fiscal year, including the Deputy Director of Law Enforcement, Gebrewahid Gebregiorgis, Chief Prosecutor Eshetu Woldesemayat and dozens of management staff members.
They are accused of corruption, along with a number of senior figures in the private sector.
The case is at the pre-trial stage at the High Court.
Meanwhile, the tax authority secured 84.2 billion birr in the past fiscal year that ended on July 7, 2013.
Even thought ERCA projected to amass more than 101 billion birr at the end of the fiscal year, it is on track to achieve only about 80% of its target.
In the current fiscal year, the authority is aiming to raise more than 110 billion birr from tax, import/export duty and tax and lottery sales.