Viewpoints | Jan 05,2019
May 18 , 2019
By SELAMAWIT MENGESAHA ( FORTUNE STAFF WRITER )
High-level government officials cannot receive gifts or overseas travel offers without getting approval from the Prime Minister, according to a new regulation that is in the making.
Under draft for the past year by the Federal Ethics & Anti-Corruption Commission, the bill outlines a code of conduct and ethical standards that public officials should adhere to. The code of conduct and ethical standards will be the first ever for the country.
The new code of conduct will regulate appointees at the Office of the Prime Minister, ministers, state ministers, the mayors of Addis Abeba and Dire Dawa city administrations and officials at the mayor's office of the two city administrations.
With the new regulation, which is expected to be active within three months, none of the government officials can accept gifts and overseas travel opportunities without the Prime Minister's approval, decide to hire any of their relatives or make procurements from companies with which they have affiliations. They will also be required to register properties they own with the Commission within 45 days of their appointments.
"These all are intended to avoid conflicts of interest that can lead to corruption," said Tesfaye Shambo, director of reform and good governance at the Commission, responding to Fortune.
The grand corruption that has been expanding in the country is the reason for the regulation, according to Tesfaye.
The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), released by Transparency International in 2018, placed Ethiopia at 114 out of 180 countries. The report that ranks countries on a scale of zero for highly corrupt to 100 for the least corrupt awarded Ethiopia a score of 34.
Though the Commission was mandated to draft a code of conduct and ethical standards by its establishment proclamation 15 years ago, it never developed one.
"We drafted a bill a couple of years ago," he said, "but it could not be realised, as the officials at that time were unhappy with it and blocked the bill from being legislated."
Financed by the United Nations Development Programme's (UNDP) Governance & Democratic Participation Programme, the bill was drafted by professionals from the Commission and external consultants. The five-year project is a multi-stakeholder programme launched in July 2017 and has been working with the Commission on 11 other ongoing projects.
The first draft of the bill is finalised and is on its final stages to be submitted for deliberation by officials. It is expected to be approved by the Council of Ministers before the end of the current fiscal year, according to Tesfaye.
"The officials are not even aware of the draft," said Tesfaye. "We'll be familiarising them with the bill and its details during the upcoming stakeholders' discussion."
Ameha Mekonnen, a lawyer by profession and the board chairperson of the Ethiopian Human Rights Council, seconded the initiation of the Commission in having a code that will regulate government officials.
"It can be an important part in establishing an inclusive culture of a corruption-free county," he said.
But he believes that the code of conduct and the ethical guidelines cannot be a solution by themselves.
"The Commission also has to work on the institutionalisation and behavioural changes of the officials themselves," he said.
The Commission, along with UNDP, is working to conduct a national survey next July to identify the most corruption-prone institutions and the overall level of corruption in the country.
The third National Corruption Perception Survey, which will be conducted at the nine regional states and the two city administrations, is expected to determine the severity of corruption at a national level, the maximum level of corruption involved and which institutions are highly susceptible to corruption.
Over the past couple of months, public prosecutors have charged dozens of government officials in different institutions with alleged corruption.
The defendants are from the Metals & Engineering Corporation, the Public Procurement & Property Disposal Service, the Pharmaceuticals Fund & Supply Agency, the Ethiopian Business Trading Corporation and the Ethiopian Water Works Construction Enterprise.
PUBLISHED ON May 18,2019 [ VOL 20 , NO 994]
Viewpoints | Jan 05,2019
Editorial | Feb 01,2020
Editorial | Jan 04,2020
Radar | Mar 16,2019
Radar | Apr 20,2019
Agenda | Dec 19,2018
Verbatim | Apr 26,2019
Viewpoints | Feb 08,2020
Commentaries | Mar 14,2020
Viewpoints | Dec 21,2019
August 1 , 2020
Veiled in face masks, Health Minister Lia Tadesse (MD), Nigussu Tilahun, head of the press secretariat at the Prime Minister’s Office, and...
August 1 , 2020 . By MAYA MISIKIR
A lot of work goes into making a simple shirt, pants or a bag in a textile factory. The various people i...
August 1 , 2020
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) had an audience with leaders of the opposition bloc - if there is one to...
August 1 , 2020 . By David A. Brat (PhD) and Yonas Biru (PhD)
The story of Africa is a study in contradiction. For some, the continent is poised to capitalise on the f...
Getachew Reda, the increasingly combative spin doctor of the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), says he is no longer optimistic about...
After they made a portentous decision last week in passing a resolution at the House of Federation where...
August 1 , 2020
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) had an audience with leaders of the opposition bloc ...
July 25 , 2020
The economic indicators for Ethiopia this fiscal year are less than encouraging, even...
July 18 , 2020
In the past two years, it was perhaps the events of the first week of this month that...
July 13 , 2020
Last week might have appeared an ordinary moment for an annual event in parliament. L...
A friend has a daughter who married an Egyptian man a decade ago. Since she moved to...
A little girl is reading a letter she wrote to her dad in a television advertisement. "My dad is the smartest. My dad is the cleverest....
Or see contact page