May 10, 2013

ERCA Heads detained

The Director of the Ethiopian Revenue and Customs Authority (ERCA), Melaku Fenta, and his deputy, Gebrewahid Woldegiorgis,
were detained on Friday afternoon on allegations of corruption.

On Friday, the Ethiopian Federal Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (FEACC) announced that
the two officials and 10 other suspects, whose names were not disclosed, have been arrested on suspicion of involvement in corruption-related crimes.
Melaku had been in office for over eight years and led, after the 2005 elections, the restructuring effort of the Authority previously known as the Ministry of Revenue. He had been quite successful in revamping the tax and revenue collection system of the country. Before he was posted to ERCA, he served as State Minister of Federal Affairs for over three years and was also assigned to the Prime Minister’s Office before that. Currently, he is the Board Chairperson of the Development Bank of Ethiopia (DBE), one of the three state-owned banks. Melaku is also an executive member of the Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM).

Gebrewahid Woldegiorgis, Deputy Director of ERCA and Head of Law Enforcement at the Authority, was also a member of the management team at the Customs Authority, before it was incorporated under ERCA in the restructuring undertaken some seven years ago.

The Anti-Corruption Commission’s statement indicated that it has been carrying out several thorough investigations and compiled information from whistleblowers and documentation as evidence in collaboration with the Information Network Security Agency (INSA). According to the statement, the Commission arrested the above-stated officials and ten other suspects whose names shall be revealed at the appropriate time.  

Birhanu Assefa, Public Relations Head of FEACC, told Capital that the names of the other individuals have not been made public due to the fact that the investigation is ongoing. “It is too early to reveal their names,” he commented. He further said that other suspects may be arrested in connection with the ongoing corruption cases; therefore the Commission will not divulge the names of those already in police custody.

“The commission will release further information regarding the issue at the appropriate time,” he added. 
According to our sources, some well-known private investors have been allegedly implicated in the corruption cases, but this was not confirmed by officials of the Commission. 

Established in 2001, FEACC has been undertaking several measures to curb and ultimately eliminate corruption. During the early days of its formation, the Commission had carried out the investigation on the corruption case of Siye Abraha, a former party official of the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) and his accomplices and over the past decade investigations undertaken by the Commission has led to the arrest of several low and mid-level officials and their collaborators. But many arrests involving allegedly corrupt high level officials have not been made until now.


Post a Comment