Effort to Bring Back Stolen Assets Ongoing

  • Investigators identify four countries where illicit finances flew into

By Sisay Sahlu

ADDIS ABABA – Federal Attorney General Office has identified four countries where Ethiopian money and resources illicitly transferred into, its officials said on Friday.

The office, without naming the countries, said they are now in close contact with the leaders of the countries, where individuals accumulate assets after plundering public resources.

Federal attorney general, Berhanu Tsegaye said several UN agencies are also helping with his office’s investigation to hunt down individuals.

They “have looted billions of birr and escaped from the country”, he said while presenting his office’s 11-month performance report to the legal, justice, and democratic affairs standing committee of Parliament.

Despite there are not state data regarding how much the lost through illegal financial transactions, experts estimate that the country lost an estimated 36 billion USD in the past 27 years.

These financial resources have left the country through laundering, bribery, tax evasion, and mispricing/mis-invoicing trade.

Ethiopia doesn’t have any structural system or institutional platform that could help the country to bring back the money that was looted in various ways, Berhanu told MPs.

However, officials of the attorney general’s office said that they have taken the initiative to follow every single major case carefully.

Alemante Agidew, legal audit and inspection director at the federal auditor’s office, said they found out that “the suspects have used the ill-gotten money to acquire properties such as residence houses” in the four countries.

Meanwhile, the federal attorney said it has received audit reports of the 170 federal government institutions with financial irregularities.

The office said prosecutors have started to investigate the cases of 35 institutions and 20 public universities, which are prone to major audit problems.