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The Federal First Instance Court at Lideta executed a judgment on the controversy between the Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations (AACCSA) and United Insurance Share Company (UNIC).
The court that appeared on Monday January 12 decided that a caretaker board would be formed by the Ministry of Trade (MoT). MoT is the responsible body for overseeing trade and related issues.
Judge Sentayehu Zeleke, who handled the case, handed down the final decision of the court. It was different than what the two parties had hoped for. A week ago, the defendant and the plaintiff argued over who would be the right body to lead the caretaker board/committee.
UNIC expressed its desire for the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations, which is the umbrella chamber of the city or regional chamber, to lead the caretaker board. UNIC said that the MoT and the Addis Ababa City Trade and Industry Development Bureau should be included on the board until the new 9th general assembly is held.
However AACCSA argued that it has an interest in the Addis Ababa City Trade and Industry Development Bureau leading the chamber and managing the coming election.
On Monday, January 12, the Judge said that the coming general assembly and additional business of the chamber would be overseen by the MoT until a newly elected board can take the position.
In its decision the court added that the other two relevant bodies, the Ethiopian chamber and the Addis Ababa City Trade and Industry Development Bureau should be part of the caretaker board being led by MoT.
The First Instance Court has also ordered that all stakeholders, who approved or accepted the 9thgeneral assembly held in December 2013 and its decisions, should be canceledbased on the verdict given in May last year.
Based on the court’s decision the 9th general assembly that will be held again would be facilitated by the caretaker board that includes the two government offices and Ethiopian chamber.
The caretaker board will also be responsible for leading and managing the Addis Ababa chamber until the coming general assembly. The court has also ordered that the caretaker board must contact the court if it needs additional rulings (court decisions) in its activity.
AACCSA and UNIC disagreed on the procedure of the 9th general assembly of the Addis Ababa chamber held about a year ago, and has been in a legal battle for the past year.
In the case, the Federal Cassation Bench as well as other lower courts gave a final judgment in favor of UNIC and the court annulled the 9th general assembly and its decisions.
The controversy between the two bodies occurred after the Addis Ababa Chamber declined to allow ZafuEyesus Work Zafu, representative of the insurance company, board chairman and a dominant shareholder of UNIC, to attend the 9th general assembly held at the Addis Ababa Hilton Hotel in December, 2013.
Based on the court’s decision the chamber does not have a legal leader or board to handle their activities.
At the voided general assembly, Elias Genete, a prominent businessman and active participant in business associations, was elected AACCSA president with 356 votes in a contentious election. Elias defeated Israel Kassa, owner and head of Africa Beza College who received 133 votes.
The presidential election process had been also highly controversial, due to the screening committee, that selected candidates controversially and disqualified Teshome Beyene from the competition.