ADDIS ABABA – Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has formed a national committee to spearhead government‘s anti-corruption push in Ethiopia amid growing public frustrations.
Announcing the establishment today, Prime Minister Abiy has called corruption “a national security threat”.
Discussions held with the public identified corruption, like security challenges, as one of the major setbacks on the nation’s path to development, according to the PM.
“Our people have been frustrated by corruption problems” prevailing in various development organizations, and public and government institutions, he said.
He particularly pointed out the problems in the institutions engaged in public service delivery, land-related practices, sales and procurement processes, and those in the financial and justice sectors.
The government’s anti-corruption effort so far has mainly focussed on deterrence measures including making services delivery tech-based to minimize unnecessary contacts that open a window for corruption and prosecuting corrupt officials and other involved actors.
However, he said investigative reports show that corrupt actors who assumed that the recent war and COVID-19 have taken the attention of the government, have been extending their network and engaging in fraudulent acts to destroy Ethiopia.
These findings and the outcome of discussions with the public prompted the government to take “a strong and decisive operation” on corruption just like it did on security matters, PM Abiy stated.
As part of this operation, he said laws, regulations, and procedures will be revised in a bid to tighten gaps used as a window for fraudulent conduct.
The government will also intensify its push to expose corrupt actors and bring them to justice based on investigative studies, said Abiy. There are ongoing active investigations cases involving a range of officials, public servants, bribers, and mediators.
These actions, however, are not enough to tackle corruption, which, he said, involves sophisticated ways, and technologies, and is at times carried out “under the cover of law”. The government has therefore set up the national committee to coordinate and lead the anti-corruption push, the PM said.
The committee targets to bring the culprits of corruption before the court of law by distinguishing the actors in addition to those who had already been identified through the studies.
The committee has Temsgen Tiruneh, Dr. Gedion Timotiwos, Teklewold Atinafu, Solomon Soka, Debele Kabeta, Samuel Urkato, and Abdurahim Mohamed as its members.
“The fight against corruption should not be left alone for the government and needs the full support of the public to make it effective,” the PM said.
Authorities have set up a hotline for voice and SMS messages, (9555) and online contacts for the public to tip off the national committee on corruption and related fraudulent activities.
Apart from the national committee, Regional presidents will soon set up similar bodies to bring down the anti-corruption push to various administrative levels, according to the PM.