COULD THIS BE ONLY THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG? – By Eyessuswork Zafu

By Eyessuswork Zafu
There is no pleasure in seeing people go to goal. More so when you know the people well. The news of the arrest of top ranking bureaucrats and prominent businesspersons on Friday 10th May 2013 was an occurrence that shocked many in the nation. It was alleged that they had committed criminal corruption. Like many Ethiopians, I will wait for the time they will be officially charged before the court and proven guilty or innocent before I pass any judgment on any of them. And many would agree with me that this “benefit of doubt” is a great deal more than some of the accused officials gave to many business persons they contrived locked up.
eyesus work
The detainees are accused of different criminal offenses, some of soliciting for and taking/accepting bribes, some of giving bribes, some others of letting off the hook criminally corrupt businesspersons in exchange for one favour or another, and so on and so forth. I shall hope and pray for true justice to be served upon each and every one of them.
As many of my fast growing circle of friends know, I started posting my personal views through this medium partly because I was appalled by the so called “Dividend Income Tax Directive” on Retained/Un-appropriated Profits of 08 October 2013, issued by Ethiopian Revenue and Customs Authority (ERCA). I believed and continue to believe that there was no legal basis for the Directive, that it was indeedill-advised and above all, represented a gross abuse of authority/power.
Coming as it did amidst serious allegations by many that ERCA had assumed near- absolute power in the exercise of its authority to collect taxes and duties: arbitrary detention of persons, transfer of judges and change of courts (“chilots”) considered uncooperative in convicting defendants and exerting massive pressure to influence outcomes of cases being prosecuted by it, as well as my personal observations after attending certain hearings at the Federal High Court, I felt that if nothing else, I would do my level best to share my views with as many people as I can. In my view, the Directive levied a new tax that did not exist before! And, according to the Country’s constitution, only Parliament has such power! Under the circumstances, would not the Directive constitute an act of usurpation of the role and power of Parliament? And if such is the case, would it not be a logical imperative for the Authority to be required to rescind the Directive and declare its effects “Null and Void”?
In the meantime, while several of the Authority’s officials are being investigated for alleged criminal corruptions of different descriptions, the harassment of enterprises and businesspersons continues unabated. We are told that some enterprises which threatened to take the Authority to court for harassing them with the illegal Dividend Income Taxhad been cowed to submission by threats of further reprisals.
The detention of the Authority’s officials would hardly reduce the damage done and continues to be done to the confidence and level of predictability that enterprises and prospective investors expect from the Country’s legal process and environment. To many observers, the long-term harm such illegal measures would have on the Predictability of Ethiopia’s business environment could be rudely substantial. Such observers would go further and suggest that Government itself must rise above such acts of zealotry of bureaucrats and forego the paltry short-term gains of cash expected to be collected through such means. Not to do so would be tantamount to unlawfully enriching itself or benefitting from the illegal acts of its Executive branch. Advocates of a return to sanity from the nightmarish quagmire of bureaucratic arrogance and abuse of power being exercised by the Authority suggest that Dividend Income Taxes collected so far (presumed to be less than Br250 million) be credited to the Payees and the Authority ceases any further collection of such illegal taxes.
In light of the recent events, many observers are becoming even more convinced that the notorious Directive was no less than a carefully devised mechanism/ruse to prepare the ground for facilitating more brazenly naked graft and bribery. And, they add, that when the business community started to cry “Foul”, the Authority quickly retreated and offered: (a) not to apply the tax retroactively, and (b) to waive the interest it had initially demanded. Were the tax legal, the Authority would have committed yet another abuse of power by waiving the interest on delayed tax, authority which only Parliament may exercise.

The detention of several officers of the Authority may serve as, among others, a strong and determined notice to all concerned that the Government has no stomach for such excesses, but it would be naive not to recognize the contribution to the national malaise of certain obvious weaknesses in our system of bureaucracy: appointment of officers primarily based on loyalty rather than competence; serious neglect of lack of due process in the dispensation of justice; seeming neglect and abdication of responsibility by the Ministry of Justice; frightening level of incarceration of the courts; and the like. In short, while not considering it unimportant, the current drive to peruse the culprits may be no more than fighting the symptoms and not the root cause. There are many of us who believe that the management style of Government needs to change, from one that breeds bureaucratic arrogance and abuse of authority to one that encourages meritorious, humble and honest public service. There should be no room for bureaucrats to create problems where there exist none, only to seek gratification to solve them.

0 Comments

  1. Dera Mr Zafu,
    You are one of the main prominent business person who are happy to make business with some war criminals like General Tsadkaen. I am appalled & disugusted with your decision. What posed you to make money with with this kind of corrupt,murderer,war criminal and a man who betrayed his country. You need to examine yourself throughly.

  2. This guy looks like that EPRDF bad man named after Bereket Simeon / G / Hiwot. “Aynega Mesloat Bekoat Arach”, says an Ethiopian proverb You are working with one of the corrupted busiiness office and officials including you. Better to see what is going to happen than talk too much. Ye……giber yebela yasilefelifewal new negeru

  3. This guy is crying foul to save who? The corrupt business people (not sure if he is one of them) or the detained officials? Here in US dividend tax does exist and we pay it. Are you trying to argue that you and your friends shouldn`t pay dividend taxes? This is professional robbery. All businesses, including yours need to pay their due be it in the future or from the past. The kinds of people who establish connection with the racist, looter group TPLF to make money and avoid paying taxes by either intentionally bending the rules or preventing common sense tax laws from being passed and materialized, should be brought to justice as robbers of the country. They need to be held accountable for back taxes and need to pay their dues and serve their time in jail.

  4. Guta, do not hesitate . He is one of them. My logic is you can understand how he is one of the grand business man and lead one of the corrupted commerce institution. As we understand, corruption is not a one man act and it is the whole system is corrupted. As a result, what do you expect? His hands and his mind are not free from the corrupted act.

  5. Why do Some Ethiopians hate successful business people ? Is it inferiority complex ? Or is it Amharas culture of hate ? Even here in America if you are millionaire you ethiopian community afraid of you or you make them insecure.

    • You son of a bitch-the guy himself is an Amhara! Why do you ascribe the term hate to an ethnic group as a whole? or are you free from it to begin with? Son of a bitch like you need to lick your shermuta mom pussy! Asshole! Yes Amharas hate unlawful practices of business one especially done based on ones ethnicity.

  6. I think this guy may nave more information in store since he apparently is part and parcel of the corrupted system under the disguise of business empire. These are the kinds of people who sustained the Woyane regime for the last 22 years. How many innocent civilians have been killed, maimed and discarded into the dungeons of the TPLF prisons. He is more concerned about the money machine he makes of off the back of innocent Ethiopians as sacrificial lambs for the power thirsty corrupt Woyane rule. His name says it all. He may be linked with one of the groups that have been targeted in this situation. Shame on him. These are the kinds of people that we need to take daily logs on for the appropriate time.

  7. This man betrayed many: he the first to arrive to addis abeba with woyane in 1991. he has made fortune at the expense of Ethiopia. he is a sale out. Wow now he open his mouth? against self? Aznalehu.

  8. Mr D factor,
    Why you just run to stick things to race problem. Our mind think more than that. We are talking about the malpractices some of the business people did to make themselves as a sucescsful business. Successfulness never achieved where ever there is no justice and equality. Yes, it is true that those who lick the butt and shine the shoes of woyanes may make big money. Do you think this is success? If you do not mind before you talk about success and business please understand the term “success” and doing business based on legal factors Making money only does not mean success. Success is a broad term . Mo

  9. MR, zimbel, I am success, not in Ethiopia but here in America. Yes, you do not have to tell me what success is because I live it. I am not those pay stub but shker and mover, if you know what I mean.

  10. The dividend tax directive was a real shock to business community. Anyone with with a little bit of knowledge of accounting and tax would find the directive unlawfull. Ethiopian income tax proclamation 286/02 is very clear on this issue. Yet the ERCA is trying to collect unfalwfull tax by intimidiation. This is because of the unlimited power entrusted to it. In the past six or seven year no one has tried to stop this bully government organ from arbitrarily jailing, harrasing and bullying business. No surprise that ERCA is riddled with gratesque corruption.

  11. Mr D Factor,
    Okay Mr. Success, now we understand each other what a success is . Let me add you one very important statement. Success has true time and space because you live it. The success story in non -democratic Ethiopia is based on the corruption factor. Do you see the difference between” success” in Ethiopia and success in the USA (if you are currently living in this country)? This is what I told you if your mind is open to learn something and not only words.

  12. Mr. Saying, You remind me of those zero Amhara protestors in Washington, D.C. Who preach a socioeconomic solution to Ethiopias 80 million Ethiopians but they themselves stuck in deadlocked duty as parking lot attendants. If you would like to change then be the change first.

  13. Are you a congre ma or women, FBI agent, major general, coronel, a manager,a medical doctor , an accountant, an engineer, a lawyer, an agronomist, a university professor, wow I forget it , may be you are an owner of very little restaurant or taxi driver or 711 or gas station. If you want to know each other who is who? let us meet face to face. Then, you will get a chance to know me instead of simply gusing from a distance like a ZOMBI

  14. Please ignore Mr/Mrs “ZEMBEL”, Because, we judge them by what they answer, but by the dumb question they ask. ZEMBEL is another ZEMBEL AMHARA,
    Why are you comparing America with impoverished Ethiopia ? You correcting and fixing Amhara mess will take generation if not centures.

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