Ethiopia working to repatriate illicit assets acquired through corrupt means says AG

Ethiopia _ illicit assets _

December 18, 2019

Ethiopia’s attorney general Berhanu Tsegaye says that effort is underway to repatriate illicit assets stashed away in other international jurisdictions through corrupt practices.

He said that on Tuesday this week during his appearance at the Ethiopian Parliament to present his work report for the past eleven months, according to a report Fana Broadcasting Corporate (FBC).

An agreement is reached with some countries to recover national assets, and the government is also working on reaching similar agreements with other countries.

However, Berhanu Tsegaye did not disclose as to which countries are cooperating with Ethiopia in International asset recovery areas.

Based on the FBC report, the location of the asset and individuals who are behind the crime are already identified, and they will be legally held responsible.  Citing the complexity of the matter, the Ethiopian government said that the lists of individuals and the country to which they stashed away assets gained through corrupt practices will be made public as soon as the investigation is finalized.

Attorney General’s public relations affairs directorate, Zinabu Tulu, said the absence of a system in place to administer assets acquired through corrupt practice was a challenge.

To that end, the Asset Recovery Directorate is formed as part of the effort to recover the wealth.

Kleptocracy and nexus of investors-government officials facilitated ways for ill-gained assets to leave Ethiopia.

The attorney general’s office claims that over 95 million Ethiopian Birr is recovered in the 2018/2019 Ethiopian budget year and over 35 million Ethiopian birrs in the last three months. However, Zinabu Tulu did not make it clear where exactly the money was recovered from and if arrested were made.

The office of the attorney general did not disclose an estimate of the assets that are believed to have been taken outside of the country.

A research-based report released by Transparency International in 2015 said that “Ethiopia is among the top ten African countries by cumulative illicit financial flows related to trade mispricing. This amount may be much higher if funds from corruption and other criminal activities are considered.”

Embezzlement, bribery and tax evasion are among areas identified in the study as sources for illicit financial flows from Ethiopia. In the period between 1970 and 2008, Ethiopia has lost about $16.5 billion dollars in illicit financial outflow, according to the 2015 study by Transparency International.

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