The coalition under the Federal Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (FEACC) held its second national conference starting Thursday,
October 17, lasting for two days.
The conference made evaluations on the activities and performance of the coalition over the past two years and the achievements of the federal and regional anti corruption commissions.
During the event, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said that land, taxes, unfair business competition, government procurement and contract administration are the major sectors affected by corruption.
“The time is now to combat rent seeking and corruption,” he said.
“In the Growth and Transformation Plan we have developed a strategy to focus on corruption related with land administration, governmental revenue administration, high level government sales and procurement, and justice administration,” Hailemariam added.
He said that measures taken in regards to land administration issues were fruitful. “The measures that we have taken on high-level government officials at the Ethiopian Revenue and Customs Authority (ERCA) and prominent businessmen is a clear sign of the government’s position on corruption,” he added.
The other area of focus under the government’s strategy will be public enterprises, according to Hailemariam.
Since the arrest of a considerable number of ERCA officials and some major businessmen in the city, the public has become active in informing the Commission about various illegal activities and the government has also strongly indicated that similar measures will continue to be taken in other sectors, including the construction sector and in other private institutions. Currently, the Commission is working on a new draft law that will provide FEACC a legal framework to tackle corruption in the private sector.
According to the Commission’s report, in the past two years the number of corruption allegations has grown.
The Commission’s success in terms of conviction rates has reached 87.3 percent in cases involving multiple individuals, and 81.16 percent in cases involving a single individual. In the past two years, 16,160 claims of corruption have been lodged with the Commission, and out of these, about 44 percent were made directly to FEACC while the rest were made to regional anti corruption commissions.
The report stated that from the total allegations made to regional anti corruption commissions, 3,884 or 19.95 percent were registered in the Ahmara Regional state.
Cases reported to anti corruption commissions that were out of their jurisdictions and legal mandates were 5,897 or 36.49 percent of the total, of which 65.86 percent were cases reported at the federal level.
In the 2011/12 budget year alone, reported cases at all levels reached 7,564, and out of these 69.32 percent have been found to be within the jurisdiction of the various commissions.
In the 2012/13 budget year, 8,596 corruption cases were reported by the public, out of which 58.30 percent were within the federal and regional commissions’ responsibility and mandate. Out of these, 515 cases were related to land issues, 596 to procurement, 245 to tax, and 298 were related to justice administration issues.
The report indicated that the various commissions and other relevant bodies investigated 6,640 cases.
In the past year alone, 140 witnesses requested protection from the Commissions after providing information, out of which 76 were granted such safeguards. 2,281 case files and 4,419 individuals have appeared in court and 1,630 case files and 3,774 individuals have received final verdicts. According to the report, 1,423 case files were decided in favor of the commissions and 3,063 individuals were sentenced to prison. At the federal level, 422 cases and 57 individuals were found guilty, raising the conviction rate to 70.78 percent for case files and 85.77 percent for individuals.
Based on the verdicts given, 139,958 million birr worth of assets and money have been recovered by the federal and regional anti corruption commissions and returned back to government coffers.
FEACC alone recovered 340,147 meter square of land, 11 residential houses, 34.6 million birr, 21 vehicles and several other assets. The various commissions have frozen the assets of suspects, which comprise 113,159 meter square of land, 72 residential houses and 110 vehicles, over 474.3 million in birr, USD 13,000, 15 companies and 172 hectares of agricultural land, acquired as investment.
The Commissions’ report stated that lack of sufficient skilled manpower is a major challenge that needs to be overcome in order to investigate extremely complicated cases and that regional Commissions are not easily accessible to the public and that this needs to be addressed.
In the past year:
- 140 witnesses requested protection from the Commissions after providing information, out of which 76 were granted such safeguards.
- 2,281 case files and 4,419 individuals have appeared in court.
- 1,630 case files and 3,774 individuals have received final verdicts.
- 139,958 million birr worth of assets and money have been recovered by the federal and regional anti corruption commissions and returned back to government coffers