Meaza Ashenafi, chief justice; Johan Borgstam, EU Ambassador to Ethiopia; Eyob Tekaligne (PhD), state minister for Finance; and Degefe Bulla, director general of Federal Justice, Legal Research & Training Institute (right to left) at the inauguration of the Justice Organs’ Professionals Training Centre in Addis Abeba on February 28, 2019.

Ethiopia's fifth training centre for judicial professionals has been completed in Addis Abeba at a total cost of close to 100 million Birr.

Jointly funded by the European Union Commission and the government of Ethiopia, the Justice Organ Professionals' Training Centre rests on a 2,520Sqm plot in Bole district and has an enrollment capacity of 250 trainees at a time. The centre, which took nearly four years to complete, is comprised of dormitories, academic and administration buildings and a parking lot.

The European Union, which donates 15 million euros in support of the justice system of the country, granted 3.3 million euros for the construction of the Centre, while other costs were covered by the government.

It was inaugurated on Thursday, February 28, 2019, in a ceremony attended by Meaza Ashenafi, chief justice; Eyob Tekaligne (PhD), state minister for Finance; Johan Borgstam, EU Ambassador to Ethiopia; and Degefe Bulla, director general of Federal Justice, Legal Research & Training Institute.

Kelemwork Construction Plc, the company that helped built the Debre Zeit Agricultural Research Institute, constructed the first phase of the Centre for 3.7 million euros.

The construction was supervised by MH Engineering Plc, a consultancy firm that has over two decades of experience designing and overseeing different projects such as Friendship Hotel, various industrial parks, the Information Network Security Agency's headquarters building and Alsam Plc's building. For the design, M.H was paid half a million Birr and an additional 1.7 million Br for contract administration and supervision work.

Initially, the construction was planned to be completed in two years, but it was delayed by a year and a half due to design revisions, according to Efrem Tiruneh, managing director of Kelemwork Construction.

"Amendments to incorporate in the design a parking lot and basements caused the delay," said Efrem.

The design change was required by the Institute itself, according to Bethlehem Kebede, office engineer at MH Engineering.

"Contractor change has also contributed to the delay," Bethlehem told Fortune.

Ercon Construction, a local firm, was initially awarded the project, but the contract was terminated as Ercon could not issue the required performance guarantee bond.

The Centre will operate under the Federal Justice, Legal Research & Training Institute, which directly reports to the Office of the Prime Minister. The centre will be an addition to the existing facilities in Tigray, Amhara, Oromia and SNNP regional states.

Currently, the institute is in the process of recruiting trainees, according to Abebaw Getaneh, education and communications director of the Institute.

The construction of the centre is a demonstration of the country's commitment to building key institutions, according to Meaza. "This training centre will have a role in advancing the rule of law and the democratisation process," Meaza said during the inauguration ceremony.

The Centre will play a significant role in producing efficient legal practitioners, according to Fikadu Petros, a legal practitioner and an assistant professor at Addis Abeba University's School of Law. "In universities, students are largely getting theoretical training, the Centre will cater to practical training," said Fikadu.

PUBLISHED ON Mar 02,2019 [ VOL 19 , NO 983]

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