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Ethiopia arrests immigration officials allegedly involved in scandal

A clandestine network between immigration officials and employment agencies might have created a loophole even for individuals that are wanted for a crime who could not otherwise leave the country

borkena
January 4, 2021 

Ethiopia arrested 21 senior Immigration officials and workers in the agency that are implicated in a serious corruption scandal involving facilitation of illegal exit for those who would otherwise not qualify for it. 

They were facilitating exit from Ethiopia in exchange for financial bribe, according to National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) — as reported by FBC. 

Individuals running employment agency business are said to be part of the corruption scandal. 

Ethiopian Immigration and Nationality Affairs officers posted at Bole International Airport coordinated with employment agencies with a legal status that offer linking employers and job seekers services to send workers who do not meet the legal criteria outside  the country, said NISS. 

Employment agencies implicated in the scandal are said to have received much money from those who cannot leave the country through legal means and  shared it with immigration officials. And NISS claims to have evidence of corruption nexus between immigration officials and the employment agencies involved in it. 

The report by FBC said that over 1 million Ethiopian Birr was recovered from random house searches of three immigration officials. Also, seven passports were recovered from the residences of three agencies.

A total of 37 passports have been recovered from the residences of the suspects. 

Apart from loss of revenue for the government, the corruption network is creating a security gap of its own. Individuals wanted for a crime could bypass the immigration arrangement.

“Because the corruption network is extensive, individuals who are wanted for a crime and not allowed to leave the country have easily left the country,” NISS is cited as saying. Individuals who are part of what the government calls “TPLF junta” could have left the country had it not been for intervention from NISS and the Federal police, it is claimed.  

The Federal Police Commission teamed up with NISS to arrest the six Ethiopian Immigration and Nationality Affairs officials and five employees of agencies linking job seekers and employers. 

The statement from NISS also indicated, as reported by FBC, that NISS professionals are deployed to different parts of the country including Tigray, Benishangul Gumuz and Agar regions of Ethiopia, as part of the law enforcement measures that the Federal government took, to ensure national security. 

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