July 19, 2024

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New property bill

New Property Recovery Bill Targets All Ethiopian Citizens

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The House of Representatives of Ethiopia recently investigated and directed a property recovery bill to the Standing Committee. The bill mandates that anyone who earns money must have proof of its legitimate source to stop economic crime and encourage legal wealth creation.

Previously, property of unknown origin was a crime of corruption, and only government employees and public organizations faced criminal liability. However, the amended bill holds any individual and legal entity accountable for receiving money from unknown sources. One unique aspect is that the provision of confiscating assets of unknown origin applies retroactively for up to 10 years.

Some say the bill helps recover stolen wealth, while others argue it is difficult to prove all sources of funding. A few even consider it a threat to every citizen who has worked and made wealth, referring to our information management system.

A legal expert explains that the absence of the decree allowed robbers to profit from crime, and property recovery is important as it discourages theft. However, they are concerned that the 10-year retroactive period may not help recover properties looted before then, as the change government will not deviate from where it came from.

The coordinator of the asset recovery bill at the Ministry of Justice, Mrs. Hanan Abebe, mentions that the declaration gathers and fills gaps in the provisions of property recovery scattered in various documents, including the anti-corruption decree on human trafficking and other decrees. She notes that while previous laws targeted only government employees for undisclosed property, the proposed bill will hold liable any person with property of unknown origin who cannot explain its source.

The law mentions a 10 million money requirement to avoid stressing citizens who were outside the tax system in small businesses and later grew into big businesses. Different opinions arise regarding the appropriateness of the 10-year retroactive period. Mrs. Abebe explains that since the law is civil, asking ten years back does not violate the law, as it does not go back and ask for criminal laws, only civil ones.

The passing of the impeachable bill instructs citizens to generate wealth legally if they cover up and hide wealth of unknown origin for 10 years. However, laws aim to protect the interests of the country and the public, so the bill should consider the input of ideas raised.

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