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Ethiopia - Corruption

Ethiopia scored 113 out of 176 countries in the 2012 Corruption Perception Index of Transparency International, the anti-corruption watchdog. Transparency International’s 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index, which measures perceived levels of public sector corruption ranked Ethiopia as 2.7 out of 10 (with 0 indicating “highly corrupt” and 10 indicating “very clean”). Ethiopia's rank on corruption perception index was 120 out of 182 rated countries in 2011 and 116th out of 178 rated countries in 2010.

The law provides criminal penalties for official corruption; despite the government’s prosecution of numerous officials for corruption, some officials continued to engage in corrupt practices. Corruption, especially the solicitation of bribes, remained a problem among low-level bureaucrats. Police and judicial corruption also continued to be problems. Some government officials appeared to manipulate the privatization process, and state- and party-owned businesses received preferential access to land leases and credit. The Ministry of Justice has primary responsibility for combating corruption, largely through the Federal Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission.

A large number of arrests for corruption were made during 2011, including of significant regional politicians and government officials. For example, in May authorities arrested the deputy head of the Bureau of Land Administration and Environmental Protection for the Oromia region, Mohammed Ebrahim Mussa, on corruption charges. The Oromia Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission arrested more than 60 government officials in the first half of the year.

On 16 August 2011, eight team leaders and staff members of the Department of Trade, Industry, and Transport in two Oromia cities, Adama and Bishoftu, received fines and prison terms of up to five and a half years. They were convicted of misusing their offices for illicit gain in the importation of duty-free vehicles; the financial loss to the government was reportedly 1,755,585 birr ($101,950). In addition 26 other individuals convicted of benefiting from the scheme received similar sentences.

The law requires that all government officials and employees officially register their wealth and personal property. The president, prime minister, and all cabinet-level ministers registered their assets by the end of 2010, and by the next September a total of 9,102 elected officials, political appointees, and public servants had registered their assets, according to the Federal Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission.

There was progress in the 2008 case of former ETC managing director Tesfaye Birru and 12 other senior management staff accused of approving an equipment and technology contract that violated government bid regulations and cost 1.52 billion birr ($88.3 million). On August 24, the federal high court convicted five of the 13 defendants and sentenced them to five to nine years in prison and fines of 7,000 to 40,000 birr ($406 to $2,323).

The law provides for public access to government information, but access was largely restricted in practice. The law included freedom of information provisions.

The government publishes its laws and regulations in the national gazette prior to their taking effect. The Government Communications Affairs Office managed contacts between the government, the press, and the public; however, the private press reported that the government rarely responded to its queries.

A study conducted by the World Bank and the Federal Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission released January 11, 2013 concluded that the fastest-growing sectors of Ethiopia's economy, such as telecommunications, land management and construction, are prone to corruption. At the same time, the study praised Ethiopia for its generally low levels of corruption compared to other low-income countries. The telecommunications sector is at high risk, according to the study, because of weak accountability and the monopoly position of the telecom service provider. The level of corruption is much lower than other low-income and developing countries, but that there is a perception that corruption is rampant in the East African country:

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