Home Ethiopian News Ethiopian Gov’t Bill to Seize Property and Wealth from Unverified or “Illegal...

Ethiopian Gov’t Bill to Seize Property and Wealth from Unverified or “Illegal Sources” including from black market currency exchange


Ethiopian Bill gives government power to confiscate property even where “economic crime” is not proven

Ethiopian Bill _ Property Confiscation
Council of Ministers (Photo : public domain)


Toronto – As reported recently, Ethiopia’s Council of Minister has been busy for the past few weeks legislating laws intended to consolidate power including by using economic repression tactic as a tool. Last week, it legislated a law that enables  the Minister for Justice to freeze without a court order.

More detail is emerging this week. The Draft of “Asset Recovery Bill” is circulating on social media. Framed as a sort of “legal tool” to combat “economic crime” which the government claims has affected Ethiopia’s economy, the legislation, if approved in the parliament, will enable it to confiscate property/wealth linked with illegal remittance. Another striking element from the new bill is that the law will be applied retroactively for up to ten years. 

Property owners will have to produce receipts of transactions for money received from abroad.  Receipt of transaction from the bank is possible only if the remittance was made via “legal means” as opposed to remittance via black market. 

“Since economic crime has been causing a serious damage to the country’s economy, it has become necessary to prevent and control this crime so that any person will not get any economic benefit from illegal activity,” reads part of the introduction of the draft bill – a bill that is prepared in eight parts and is thirty-six pages long. 

It made claims that “unverified wealth,” is directly impacting the tax system, foreign currency, circulation of money and foreign direct investment. 

The Bill that is presented as a legal tool to prevent economic crimes does seem to have a feature that rather sounds illegal. For example, apart from the ten year retroactive application, the government has given itself a right for confiscation of property  even under circumstances where guilt is not established. 

The government has three ways of confiscating property/wealth ; “unverified asset confiscations,” “Confiscation not based on guilt” and “Confiscation based on based on guilt” 

The draft bill has triggered extensive conversation among Ethiopians in social media including activists and politicians. Some tend to see it as a move intended to attack political opponents or individuals whom the government think are supporting rebel groups like Fano. 

The Amharic copy of draft bill is available HERE


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  1. About time!!! But I will keep nudging and pressing with ‘Okay, show me the money with no half-baking!!!’ It should concentrate first with those with long sticky fingers among the ruling behemoth bureaucracy itself. They have been part of the big heist since 1991.

  2. A sham and opportunistic scheme to loot more from citizens of Ethiopia. Little boy Abiy told his kangaroo House of Representatives that they can’t or aren’t allowed to ask where he is getting the illegal and ill gotten project money for the palace in the doomed damn woods. The vetting and confiscation must start from there. As they say, A fish smells/rottens from the head…Abiy. All failed and failing Ethiopian governments are number one sources, participants and facilitators of the black market so who are you kidding? The only exception this time is the fact that this failing government is doing it on a brazen massive scale including the government banks not to mention printing currency with out checks and balances or complete disregard to GDP and true economic power to justify the printing. I can’t believe ITTU et al would say it is about time! Derg did the same thing and so did the now prostitute Woyane by confiscating money from the same thieves they, the government, were working with! Abiy and co is no different now that they are cash strapped to murder, burn, pillage, purchase weapons of genocide, rape women, evict Ethiopians from their God given rightful lands etc. What is maddening is the rest of the country is staying silent when every right they have as a human being is being violated save the few Oromos that are perpetrators of these crimes and staunch supporters of Abiy. Rise up like the FANNO brothers and sisters to cut of this rotten gangrene and burn it at the stake!!

    To the many hopeful diaspora that work hard, save money and build beautiful properties in Ethiopia, stop! Invest your hard earned money in countries where you earn your living that have rule of law and guarantee that wolves in the name of government don’t take your money or use what you built as a bait to extort money or your freedom from you! Don’t fly there if you don’t have to, don’t go to that country if you don’t have to, don’t buy anything that is exported out of that country! Punish the illegal Abiy government!

  3. Definitely this iillegal, thoughtless and heavy handed tactic and schemes will destroy the local economy and investment even further. There are many ways you can control curruption , not the least of keeping check on the governmet bureaucracts and the rulimg prarty fat cats, but conficating private propeties without proper legal means tantamount to outright robbery. No one of his right mind would ever build a house, let alone invest any economic sector. And foreign investors also wouldn’t 3even try to come there
    This abuse pattern of robbing and ruining private sector by every regime over the last 50 yeats is why the country lagging behind and chronically undedeveloped. These action also creates massive government currption and looting by the ruling party and its leaders at expenses hard working nusiness owners , investors and citizens in genetal..

  4. This piece of legislative draft to confiscate private properties without due process is the first in so called Democratic republic country. The burden of proof as it is said is on the owner of the property to prove that it is his and it is legal. The fallacy is no physical property is built without access to land. When the individual or company is given the land to construct the property was there a process to approve the construction? if so did the authorities put a guideline as to how the fund should be obtained? or did they ask for the source of the fund? It is mind boggling to see such ignorant piece of legislative draft. The harm and benefit ratio is tremendous in a country where unemployment is so rampant. Lets assume the property is built with money exchanged with parallel economy and who should be monitoring this activity at the time? Was there a benefit to the economy at the time even though the money used is from parallel economy? Definitely there is an economic benefit in terms of employment, supporting local munifacturers by buying supplies from them, etc. Now with this draft law, if it becomes a law, such benefits will be lost and of course the little guys are the one who are going to suffer. As it is, the people are having hard time to get jobs; unable to support their families due to the inflationary prices, lack of peace in the country, etc. I am wondering where is the priority of this regime? Even if they take away all private properties they will not have the cash they desire to have because not many are going to be in the market to buy them? I think they should give priority to peace and negotiate with all aggrieved groups in good faith, if they want to bring the prosperity they claim they are hoping to bring to the country.


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