The Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Association (AACCSA) accused United Insurance S.C, and its representative Zafu Eyesuswork Zafu, of spreading inaccurate information over the recent court ruling. They say that the information disseminated about the chamber’s current operations and the recent court decision in the case of United Insurance versus AACCSA was not correct.
During a press conference held by the chamber on Tuesday June 10 2014, Elias Genete, the current president of the Chamber, argued that Zafu along with other individuals who have malicious intentions are broadcasting misleading information about the chamber and a court order reversing the decisions passed during the 9th General Assembly of the Chamber.
“They are throwing around false information, saying that the court ordered the Chamber’s board be restructured and that the chamber currently has no leader and even that it has stopped working. That is completely false,” Elias stated.
The Fifth Commercial Bench of the First Instance Court heard the lawsuit filed by United Insurance Share Company (UNIC) against AACCSA, in regards to an incident on last December 19, 2013when AACCSA refused to allow ZafuEyesus Work Zafu, representative of the insurance company, to attend the ninth general assembly at the Hilton Hotel. Eventually, after much chaos Zafu did attend the event but could not get the card necessary to be part of the voting process.
On Monday May 19 the court ruled that the ninth general assembly and the entire result in the presidential election should be canceled.
The plaintiff’s representative was not allowed to vote or to be voted nor voice his comment to the general assembly, which was illegal. “Hence, the general assembly did not follow the legal procedure,” the court stated.
According to Elias, “The inaccurate information they are spreading is to destroy the Chamber’s good reputation and work as well as to tarnish the institution’s goodwill with its members.”
He also said that the Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations has many members, and the institution is there to defend its members’ rights and entitlements, promote their products and introduce them to markets as well as to function as a bridge between the business sector and the government to promote trade and investment.
“Since we are not satisfied with the court’s decision that the general assembly and the entire result in the presidential election be canceled, we have appealed to a higher court. So the case is still ongoing at the court,” Elias stated.
The chamber also called on its members and other concerned stakeholders to ignore the in- accurate information floating around and concern themselves with the correct information.
“All of us here, sitting in front of you, have been elected during the 9th general assembly. The election was held in a democratic way, we did not beg for the position; it was through voting in front of high level government officials. All this is brought by Zafu who attempted to run for president but did not win. We do not understand why he is doing this, because we do not think it will benefit anybody,” Mola Zegeye, board member stated.
Zafu in his official facebook page posted his opinion about the situation. “To all my friends and anyone who dares to hear and face the truth about our chamber – AACCSA, I am making this recent post so that you may have the benefit of a second opinion on the seemingly protracted exchanges on and about our Chamber” reads his post. He further said noted that the truth will come out and totally rejected the chamber officials’ allegation.
In January 2013 the board of the association suspended Zafu’s representation.
A day before the general assembly was held, the outgoing board, which was elected two years ago, sent a letter to United Insurance, advising it to suspend their representative, Zafu Eyesuswork. This meant that he was barred from attending the meeting and the letter said the insurance company would have to assign another representative for the general assembly.
The letter, issued on Wednesday December 18 and signed by Getachew Regassa, secretary general of AACCSA indicated that Zafu was suspended not only from the assembly but from all events that would be conducted in the future.
The court’s verdict indicated that the general assembly passed decisions in violation of the chamber’s rules and regulations.
One of UNIC’s claims was also the quorum issue. It claimed that the general assembly was held below the required quorum and hence the decision passed on that day is invalid, as per the rules and regulations of the chamber.
The defendant claimed that based on the general assembly decision held in October 2010 the quorum should be 500 members. But the court noted that the 2010 decision was against the chamber’s article of association.
On the sixth general assembly held in October 2010 the number of participants was 860, but there are 14,000 total members. According to the chamber’s article of association issued in December 2008, the general assembly quorum should be 50 percent and plus as the proclamation amended by the parliament in 2003. But the 2008 article of association stated that any part of it shall be revised when it receives acceptance by two thirds of the quorum at the general assembly.