Oct 17 , 2020

Only half of the high ranking government officials who failed to register their properties with the Federal Ethics & Anti-Corruption Commission used the second chance they were given for registration. The 95 officials registered their assets by October 16, paying a 1,000 Br fine.

The Office of the Attorney General gave a second chance to them after the Commission sent the cases of 180 government officials a few weeks ago for legal action. After reviewing the cases, the Attorney General pushed them back to the Commission on October 5, 2020, writing a letter to these officials to complete registration by the end of last week.

The list of government officials who failed to register their assets includes those who hold high positions in federal offices as well as in the Addis Abeba City Administration. One minister, seven state ministers, district heads and commissioners are named on the list. Among the list of officials who have failed to register their assets are several district directors within the Addis Ababa City Administration. Only three district directors out of 10 have registered their assets.

However, during the second chance, 95 officials, including the minister, seven state ministers, and district heads have registered their properties.

The asset registration process for high-ranking officials was previously being conducted at their respective government offices. But those who failed to register did it at the Commission's office branch located in Kazanchis.

The location for registration has been changed due to the penalty being imposed on the officials, according to Addis Lemma, internal & external communications director at the Commission.

"For the officials who fail to register again," said Awel Sultane, communications director for the Attorney General, "they'll be placed under investigation, and their case will be filed to the Federal High Court."

The Commission aims to complete asset registration of all public servants in primary government institutions by the end of this fiscal year. Out of the selected 17 government offices that are undertaking registration, 11 institutions, including the Commission, have registered between 90pc and 100pc of their employee assets, and six of them have so far registered 10pc to 65pc.

The Ethiopian Maritime Affairs Authority, Federal High Court, Ethiopian Engineering Group, Federal First Instance Court, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Office of the Attorney General are among the six federal offices in the latter group.

After the Attorney General, Gideon Timotheos (PhD), gave a press conference on October 14, 2020, on the issue, the Chief Executive Officer of Akaki Kality District, Asrat Nigusse, paid a visit to the Commission office to complete her registration.

Asrat told Fortunethat she registered her assets and property on October 15, 2020, a day ahead of the deadline.

Asset registration of high-ranking government officials by itself is meaningless and unrealistic for a nation that gives unlimited power to those officials, according to Mulugeta Aregawi, assistant professor and lecturer at Addis Abeba University School of Law & Governance.

“Asset registration won't solve the problem of corruption, because to control these officials who have unlimited power over resources, the system must be changed from the very beginning,” said the expert.

Changing the system requires the establishment of strong independent institutions and that the executive and judiciary bodies of government be free from the ruling political party, according to Mulugeta.

“The Commission has been failing to assess and question corruption that happens in broad daylight on the streets," he said, "and only small numbers of these people are brought to justice.”

"These cases are not properly followed up. Now they are just using this as an excuse to show that they are busy and as a way to justify their existence," concluded Mulugeta. "It won't be effective."

PUBLISHED ON Oct 17,2020 [ VOL 21 , NO 1068]

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