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AG accuses regional gov’ts of obstruction of justice
Birhanu Tsegaye, Attorney General

AG accuses regional gov’ts of obstruction of justice

The Office of the Attorney General has blamed regional governments for the lack of cooperation and sheltering of criminals which has impeded its efforts in bringing suspects accused of violence as well as security problems in various parts of the country.

The House of People’s Representatives (HPR) has held discussions over the six-month performance report by the Office of the Attorney General on Tuesday, and has urged the Office to redouble its efforts towards ensuring the rule of law.

Presenting the report, Attorney General Birhanu Tsegaye said assessments indicate that public satisfaction and trust on the services rendered by the Office to have reached 71 percent.

He pointed out that the achievement is encouraging, as it aspires to move towards making its services transparent and satisfactory.

The AG, however, stressed the need for an unwavering support by the HPR in getting rid of some legal obstructions in few regional states with regard to maintaining the rule of law.

According to Birhanu, there are 1,596 suspects which regions are not willing to hand over. Of those, 827 are in Benishangul-Gumuz, 655 in Southern Regional State, 50 in Oromia, 33 in Somali, nine in Addis Ababa, 18 in Amhara and four in Tigray.

Asked about the torture of detainees, the AG said: “No detainees are tortured or kept in solitary confinement. This is because we have undertaken regular and random inspections in all of the correctional facilities.”

In the same report, lawmakers were told that the Office of the AG has secured over 500 million birr of embezzled money through various legal procedures in the past six months alone.

Furthermore, it was indicated that over the past six months, his Office has been working with different countries, devising appropriate means and systems that would enable it to bring in the embezzled money obtained from corruption and other financial crimes.

According to the report, the Office has brought in 1,404 individuals suspected of having committed corruption, financial crimes, human rights violations, and inciting social instabilities, before the law, in the past six months as well.

The AG told the House that there are 1,596 suspects that have hidden themselves in and outside of the country. In addition, the Office has identified 28 criminals that have fled the country, and that it is jointly working with the countries in which they are hiding in, Birhanu said.

The Office has also received an encouraging cooperation and positive responses from these countries. In addition to the efforts made to bringing the suspects before the law, it has been changing the previous legal framework that attracts individuals and government officials to commit different crimes, he told MPs.

Members of Parliament have meanwhile stated the need to bring pertinent stakeholders onboard in its efforts to ensure the rule of law.

In the same session, the House has endorsed the latest draft bill to amend the Civil Aviation Proclamation.