It is the first of its kind
A new draft regulation is being drafted by legal experts at the Federal Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission to prevent conflicts of interest in the public sector.
With the intention of regulating the prevention of conflict between private and public interest in the exercise of public office, the draft regulation has not yet received the Council of Ministers’ and the Parliament’s approval.
A conflict of interest usually arises “when a public official has private-capacity interests which could improperly influence the performance of their official duties and responsibilities.”
Federal institutions have their own codes of conduct that prohibit public officials from pursuing personal interests by using their official authority or any information gained in the course of carrying out their official duties.
Nonetheless, there has not been a law at a federal level, while the enforcement capacity of institutions has been limited.
In the last two decades, there have been multiple high-profile conflict of interest cases which drew national attention. There are also concerns that several officials use their authority to advance personal interests and benefit families and whomever they are connected to.
“Government and private property should not be mixed. For example, if a government official has his own company, he will not be allowed to buy goods from his own company,” said Gezahegn Gashaw, chief legal officer at the commission.
If the same family members work in the same institutions, one of them will be required to resign, according to the new rule.
“The conflict of interest prevention regulation sets out the mandatory conditions and legal provisions for action to be taken when such cases arise,” said Gezahegn.
If the parliament approves the new law, it will become a binding law for 183 federal institutions in the country.
Ethiopia is not the only country edging closer to adopt a conflict of interest act. Neighboring Kenya drafted the same law in a bid to manage and regulate conflict of interest among public officials.