Saturday, March 16, 2013

Ethiopia’s law is failed by lack of spirit

(Mar 16, 2013, (The Hindu))-- While India’s Grievance Redressal Bill was forged in the fire of public protest, Ethiopia chose to incorporate anti-corruption provisions in its criminal code. “Article 416 of the criminal code deals with Undue Delay of Matters,” said an official of the Ministry of Justice.

The provision penalises officials who deliberately delay providing a service for a bribe. The erring official can be sentenced to up to five years of rigorous imprisonment under the law. In 2000, Ethiopia created an ombudsman to rectify “administrative abuses arbitrarily committed against citizens.”

The institution has supervisory and investigatory powers and an independent budget, but cannot investigate cases handled by the office of Auditor-General, matters of national security or legislative decisions of elected councils. The chief ombudsman and her deputies are appointed by the speakers of the House of Representatives, the House of the Federation, and the elected people’s representatives. 

This could prove a problem in a country where the ruling Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front and its allies have been in power since 1991 and won a 99.6 per cent majority in the most recent elections, held in 2010. Read more from The Hindu »

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