Over 130 Billion Birr Stolen Public Funds Not Recovered

By Staff Reporter

Stolen-public-funds-EthiopiaSeptember 28, 2020 (Ezega.com) -- The office of the federal attorney general said more than 130 billion Birr public funds stolen from Ethiopia are still hidden in foreign countries and at home.

The study conducted by the office indicates that a significant portion of the stolen funds were embezzled by government officials and affiliate investors and diverted to foreign countries.

Since it came to power, the government of Abiy Ahmed has vowed to pursue illicit money stashed in foreign countries. “So far 700 million birr stolen funds have been recovered from foreign countries,” the study said.

The study, however, revealed that the nation has seen increasing corrupt practices over the past two and half years and corrupts have used the unrest in the country as fertile ground to loot public resources.

According to the study, corruption has increased in well organized ways despite increased government’s commitment to fight corruption and reduced political interventions.

Zelalem Fikadu, Deputy Director of the corruption affairs with office the attorney general said the land garbing, banks cheating, money laundering and illegal money print and use of forgery documents are on the rise.

He said the coronavirus outbreak has also created a favorable environment for corrupts to loot public properties.

Zelalem said the government has reached agreements with various countries to recover the stolen public funds, which some were obtained in loans and financial aid from donors and international organizations.

The government led by Prime Minister Abiy, however, is criticized by some for allowing corrupt officials to stay in power, despite his government’s repeated charges against corruption since he came to power. Some of these critics also see the drive against corruption as targeted against certain groups and not others.

Those corrupt officials who are allegedly involved in such offenses reportedly deposited their stolen assets in foreign banks in such countries as in Singapore and Dubai banks.

The attorney general has filed 582 corruption charges and passed verdicts on 466 of them last Ethiopian year.

According to the director, more than 200 million birr have been cheated from the state and private run banks during the past Ethiopian year and about 40 charges are filed against the mischieves.

Zelalem did not mention the foreign banks and the list of all countries where the money was being recovered.

Meanwhile, the Ethiopian government is set to introduce a law that governs the use of force by police and other members of security forces during protests, violence or conflicts.

The draft law which is prepared by the federal attorney general is expected to come into effect this Ethiopian New Year.

Use of proportional force against protesters by security forces has remained to be controversial since the 2005 Ethiopian post election during which more than 200 people were killed amid clashes with the federal police.

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