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With the help community members the Oromia Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission stopped the construction of 40 houses, banned 230,000 square meters of land and repossessed six different types of cars in connection with corruption cases. The blocked properties were previously held by civil servants in the Oromia region.
According to the nine month report of the commission, court cases are being heard regarding all of the blocked properties. If the court decides in favor of the commission all the properties will be returned to the regional government.
The report added that 600 people were also arrested over the nine month period. Of those 63 people were convicted and sentenced from 6 months to 13 years in prison. Three regional mayors were arrested for selling land below the standard lease price.
A total of 51 million birr and 96,200 square meters of land has been saved from corrupt practices.
Commissioner Hirut Biraasa told the press last Wednesday that awareness about fighting corruption is increasing but institutional capacity is still a challenge.
“The good news is that people are coming into our office to expose who they think are receiving bribes for their services, we do not know if all the accusations are true but it really helps us to fight corruption. We only have seven branches and our institutional capacity in terms of human power and finance is not as strong as it needs to be.”
According to Hirut after the regions set aside land to build homes for people who do not have any, some are allegedly trying to abuse the system to occupy more land.
“We are receiving comments that some people have a condo or land in Addis Ababa or somewhere else in the country but they come to get new land in another region. But the regions clearly have stated that the new land will be given to people who do not have any house. We will work hard to move people out who apply for land when they are hiding houses or land they already have.”
Hirut added that the council which is made up of different institutional regional heads will implement a new strategy to fight corruption. So far, 55 possible areas have been studied to implement the new strategy.