Almost six years after the enactment of the proclamation on Disclosure and Registration of Assets of Public Officials endorsed by the Ethiopian House of People’s Representatives, the system which would digitalize the registration is almost completed at the cost of 200,000 dollars.
The system developed by a local company called Africom PLC and its Indian counterpart took two years to complete. The companies have taken the contract from the Federal Ethics and Anti- Corruption Commission (FEACC).
When the proclamation was endorsed, it was said that personal assets, possessions, incomes and the incomes 45,000 country’s ministers, high-ranking government officials and civil servants in key posts will be made public.
The Proclamation is applicable to appointees, elected persons and public servants of the Federal Government and the Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa city administrations. It also includes appointees of the defense forces and police.
It also stated that any appointee, elected person or public servant shall disclose and register his assets within six months after the six months from the coming in to force of the Proclamation. Moreover, newly appointed, elected or employed person shall disclose and register the assets within 45 days following his appointment, election or employment.
By the time, the registration process by the Commission was officially launched by recording the assets of the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.
The new digital system is expected to have information including, the amount of money officials have in banks, shares bought by officials and title deeds. It will accompany both movable and immovable proprieties of the officials.
It was said to be opened for the public, according to sources from the company.
Moreover, it will integrate a system where a public can inform concerned bodies if a property owned by the officials is not registered in the system.
If the information obtained through whistleblowing leads to the confiscation of assets under article 419(2) of the Criminal Code, the whistle-blower shall be entitled to 25 percent of the proceeds of the confiscated asset, reads the Proclamation.
Even though, the system is being completed the data about assets of public officials which was believed to be under the Commission is yet to be digitalized.
“The information is still in papers,” sources told The Reporter.
The proclamation, which was yet to enter into practice, has been controversial as the result of clarity regarding online disclosure.
According to the Global Financial Integrity (GFI), Ethiopia lost 3.326 billion dollars in illicit financial flows in 2009.The same report released by Global Financial Intelligence a year ago revealed that 26 billion dollars left the country unlawfully in many forms over between 2004 and 2014.
Most of the illicit flows were due to the fraudulent misinvoicing of trade, according to the report.
Moreover, a report by African Union’s (AU) high level panel on illicit financial flows (IFF) ranked Ethiopia ninth from the top 10 African countries with high illicit financial flows from 1970 to 2008 next to Côte d’Ivoire and Sudan.
The panel, which was chaired by Thabo Mbeki, released the report back in 2015.
The panel reported that Ethiopia could have lost 16.5 billion dollars due to illicit financial flow from 1970 to 2008, which was 2.3pc of the total IFF from the continent.
The process of integrating the asset registration into digital is still on process, according to source from the commission.