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The general assembly of the Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Association (AACCSA) that was planned to be held on Thursday March 12 was postponed by a week.
The caretaker board, led by Ali Siraj, State Minister of Trade, who is in charge of administering the chamber at the moment, called Thursday’s general assembly at the Addis Ababa Exhibition Center, but a quorum was not obtained.
Even though there is a controversy over the quorum number, the current management of the chamber says it is 500 plus one of the total over 14,000 members. But on the day the attendance was lower than 500+1.
Thursday’s general assembly is a re-run of the 9th general assembly, whose decision and outcome of the election for president and board members was canceled by court order few months ago. Consequently, the general assembly is postponed for Thursday March 19, 2015.
The city chamber had called a general assembly in December 2013 and had elected its board members and president. However, the assembly was turned down and the election results were rejected following charges that were brought against the chamber by United Insurance Share Company (UNIC), member of the chamber whose representative was banned from the assembly by the organizers. In February, 2015, the Ninth First Instance Bench at Lideta Federal High Court had ordered a caretaker board comprised of Ministry of Trade, Addis Ababa City Trade and Industry Development Bureau, and the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations to administer the chamber until another election is held. The quorum is one of the issues UNIC has sought a court decision on. The Fifth Commercial Bench had, however, ruled against UNIC. UNIC had appealed that the quorum should be 50 percent or more of the general assembly.
According to the chamber’s Article of Association issued in December 2008, the general assembly quorum should be 50 percent and plus. The chamber’s establishment proclamation amended by parliament in 2003 similarly dictates the quorum is half or more of the general assembly. Nevertheless, the 2008 Article of Association has a further clause that allows revision of any part of the Article when acceptance is obtained by two thirds of the general assembly to do so.
On May 19, 2014, the Fifth Commercial Bench of the First Instance Court stated that all general assembles held since September 2005 including the first general assembly of the chamber did not follow the rule in terms of quorum number.
As the argument over this issue continues, the coming general assembly is deemed to be held on the 500 plus one quorum arrangement.
According to sources, most of the board members elected during the annulled general assembly and others who were cancelled from the previous competition are expected to be part of the coming election.