MPs Start Discussing Revised Commercial, Criminal Code Bills

ADDIS ABEBA – Lawmakers have begun discussing two major revised bills that will replace decades-long laws, Commercial and Criminal law Procedure and Evidence Code proclamations, on Thursday.

The draft laws were among four documents that members of parliament have looked into during their first regular session of their sixth year term. At least 282 MPs were in attendance.

The house first deliberated on the revised commercial bill that will eventually replace Ethiopia’s oldest Commercial Code issued in 1952.

Revising the law has become essential, said Mesfin Cherinet, Assistant Government Whip, pointing out the lack of provisions in the existing commercial code needed in today’s economic activity in Ethiopia.

The current economic environment requires a law that could ensure Ethiopia’s competitiveness in the global economy, he said.

The current commercial code consists of five books encompassing Traders and Businesses; Business Organizations; Carriage and Insurance; Banking and Transitory Provisions; and Bankruptcy and Schemes of Arrangement books, respectively.

The bill – named ‘Commercial Code of Ethiopia Proclamation’ – repeals books one, two, and three of the existing Commercial Code, according to the document that proposed the bill.

The bill proposes sections of the code to be treated under a separate legislation: the finance code and commercial code.

Finally, the bill has been sent to the trade and industry standing committee of the house for further hearing and discussions.

MPs have also looked into a revised Criminal Law Procedure and Evidence Code of Ethiopia in an intention.

This too is also prepared to make the existing document up-to-date by taking new security challenges into account, said Mesfin in his briefing to the lawmakers.

The draft document has 444 articles by forming several varied provisions and evidence codes in one in a way that balances the current dynamism.

This bill – named “the Criminal law Procedure and Evidence – will repeal the 1961 Criminal Procedure Code Proclamation, according to the draft document.

The other two draft documents sent to their respective standing for further discussion before ratification are an agreement between Ethiopia and Russia on the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and the amended Excise Tax Proclamation.

By Sisay Sahlu

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