Anti Corruption Commission in Ethiopia targets land fraud next
Following last week’s shocking announcement of the sudden arrest of the Ethiopian Revenue and Customs Authority’s (ERCA) top officials,
the Federal Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (FEACC) continued its campaign against corruption this week with the announcement of its investigation of other governmental offices. Next is the investigation of a massive land fraud that the Commission is currently working on.
In his ten months performance report to the House of People’s Representatives on Tuesday May 14, Ali Suleiman, Commissioner of FEACC, reported that his commission is also investigating major corruption frauds in other government offices involving high level officials.
On his report the Commissioner indicated that his office has finalised the long and painstaking investigation on land fraud worth close to one billion birr.
According to the report, the trial related to 3,226 square meter misappropriated land, valued at 21.1 million birr is ongoing.
Meanwhile, “the corruption investigation on a 3,837 square meter land worth 25.1 million birr is completed and delivered to the Prosecutor General to take legal measure. Another massive land related corruption attempt concerns 128,709 square meter plot worth 842 million birr that is currently under investigation,” Commissioner Ali explained in his report.
Last week the commission has detained high level government officials and high profile businessmen on alleged involvement in corrupt activities. The detained officials include Melaku Fenta, ERCA’s director and his deputy Gebrewahid Woldegiorgis.
Five days after the measure the Commissioner assisted by his top officials presented the performance of their commission. Commissioner Ali said that the investigation that led to the latest crackdown on ERCA started three years ago under the leadership of the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. “The investigation was completed last year and was going to be presented to the late prime minister but it was suspended in connection with his poor health and later his passing away,” Ali clarified.
He added that the commission is also undertaking various investigations in other governmental institutions, and it will take the necessary measures after it completes the investigation. The commissioner further stated that procurements worth 164.6 million birr and 2.9 million USD conducted in different governmental institutions is currently under investigation.
Following the report members of parliament (MP) raised questions mainly focussed on the latest scandal.
MPs voiced their concern with regards to the Commission’s delay in taking appropriate measures on the recently announced grand tax and related fraud and corruption cases. They said that the delay has allowed it to go out of hand and reach this disgraceful level.
The Commissioner said that before taking the measures his office needed to collect enough evidence. “If we arrest the suspects at its early stages of investigation, we will lose relevant documents and witnesses. Due to that we give priority for detailed investigation,” he explained.
Responding to the accusation that many complaints and corruption reports are lost on deaf ears at the Commission, he said, “We do not fire at every hullabaloo!”