31 October 2009 — Member of the Ruling Party, Mr. Belete Etana Disassa, has defected from Ethiopia to the United Kingdom, where he has applied for a political asylum, according to the Voice of Oromo Liberation. Mr. Belete Etana Disasaa was the representative of the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO), the Oromo branch of TPLF’s EPRDF, from the Limu Kossa District in Jimma Zone of the State of Oromia. He had served the regime as the Deputy Chairman of the Public Account Standing Committee (PAC) in the House of Peoples’ Representatives of Ethiopia (HPR) until the time of his defection. Here is the full statement of Mr. Belete Etana Disassa.
Press Release by Mr. Belete Etana, MP & D/Chairman PAC of Ethiopian Parliament
To introduce myself, I am MP and D/chairman of Public Account Standing Committee (PAC) of the House of Peoples’ Representatives of Ethiopia, elected as a representative of Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO) from Limu Kossa District, Jimma zone, Oromia region.
I want to give my honest and sincere testimony of the conditions currently prevailing in Ethiopia. This testimony is in no way intended to defame the ruling party and its cohorts. The main purpose of this letter is to expose the hidden facts in Ethiopia.
Today in Ethiopia there is no democracy, rule of law, respect for human and civil rights. The judiciary system in totally under the control of TPLF. There is no justice and independent court proceeding.
If you are an MP, you are liable to ask questions. But if you ask questions, you are branded as OLF and you are a terrorist and a criminal. But Article 54(5) of the FDRE Constitution, states that “No member of the House may be prosecuted on account of any vote he cats or opinion he expresses in the House, nor shall any administrative action be taken against any member on such grounds.” But the person who asks the democratic and human rights of the people to be respected is automatically branded as OLF member, and I am one of the victim.
EPRDF/TPLF regime is simply a dictatorship. It does not respect its own constitution. It kill, detains torture and arbitrary arrest innocent citizens without any evidence or crime committed. The regime is on a wide campaign of detaining Oromo nationalists. Totally, human rights abuses are common and a day to day activity of the regime, particularly in Oromia. Authorities imposed the new structures the “Garee” and “Goxii” system to monitor the speech and personal lives of the rural population, to restrict and control the movement of residents, if you oppose the system, you thrown into prison to stay there for years without appearing before appropriate court.
Article 12 (1) and (2) of the FDRE constitution states about transparency and accountability but on the ground the fact is different. In 2008 from the 20 Federal Government Institutions, over 192.5 million birr was detected as deficit (misuse). From this money, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia account for the biggest share of improperly spent money. The finding also states that 560 million birr from Revenue Authority and 121.9 million birr from the Ethiopian Customs Authority, revenue has not been backed up by any documents.
On the other hand, the Ethiopian Mapping Agency and Ministry of Mines and Energy for billing customers without the proper tariff that has been approved by the Council of Ministers. Furthermore, the former Ministry of Infrastructure has collected over 47.2 million birr annual fee with out any approved tariff.
Our finding also reveals that over 226.5 million birr worth of purchase by six institutions were not in accordance with the purchase manual of the government. The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia has also paid 98,000 birr to its former head as salary and allowance when the head was not at his position for 27 months.
The NBE on the recent gold scandal scam reveals that contrary to the bank procedure, one individual has been supplying gold to the bank without registering. Package that contains the brick of gold has not been properly inspected after it was certified it was gold by the Ethiopian Geological Survey office. The bank has also paid the gold value without properly weighing it and has accepted 38 similar gold bricks that weigh the same and with equal carat levels.
The finding also revealed illegal procurement, unlawful payments, spending beyond the allocated budget, and expenditure that could not be accounted, amounting to more than 2.5 billion Birr. Also the government of improperly borrowing an extra 3.3 billion birr from banks. This borrowing brings (of course) inflation to the country.
In all indicators reflect that corruption remained a serious problem in the country. As of our responsibility to investigate this fact the response of the government is disparage and disqualify the activity. On the other hand, the government officials appeared to manipulate the privatization process, state & party owned businesses received preferential access and misuse of public funds.
This has been giving me a mental torture for the last three years. Now it become so unbearable that I had to make my decision. I have been receiving death threats for speaking up against the wanton disregard for the rule of law. Under the circumstances, my conscience could not allow me to continue member of the party, an MP and D/chairman of PAC of the House. I have chosen to desist myself from the regime and its rubber stamp parliament.
Belete Etana Disassa
MP and D/chairman of PAC
Of Ethiopian HPR