I Historical Overview. The introduction of telecommunication in Ethiopia dates back to Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation is the oldest public. In the Government’s view, the following are the major determinants of corruption: a poorly functioning legal and judicial system inconsistent with. Ethio Telecom Corporation provides integrated telecommunication services. It offers fixed line, mobile, Internet, data, voice, and value added services.
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Government service delivery remains abysmally poor.
Ethiopia is the only country in the world where the prosecution can arrest and jail suspects indefinitely while repeatedly asking leave of court to gather evidence of guilt on the suspects! The two most effective anti-corruption institutions recommended in the WB report — the independent media and civil society organizations — have been totally decimated.
The regime has a stranglehold on power and its supporters and cronies have sucked the economy dry. The regime operates in total secrecy and with no transparency and accountability for its official activities. It was a study of extraordinary depth and scale. Here I comment on corruption in the telecommunications sector.
In its assessment of corruption in the telecommunications sector, the WB begins its analysis with the following ironic observation:. Ethiopia boasts the oldest functioning telephone system in Africa. Injust 17 years after the invention of the telephone, work began on the provision of telephone and telegram communication between Addis Ababa and Harar, a distance of some kilometers.
It once led the regional field in the laying of fiber-optic cable, yet suffers from severe bandwidth and reliability problems. And it boasted the first privately owned public telecoms service in Africa, yet is now the only nation on the continent still permitting a state-owned company to maintain a monopoly on all telecoms services.
Inthe Berlin Conference was held to enable European nations to chop up Africa and colonize it without the need for imperialistic wars among themselves. Bytelegraph lines ran into the capital Addis Ababa from Harar in the east, Tigray in the north and Jimma in the south. According to Freedom Houseinmobile, internet, and fixed line telecommunications in Ethiopia is the second lowest in all of Africa.
The bar graph displayed below obtained from the WB report shows that inKenya, Sudan, Somalia, Djbouti and Eritrea were ahead of Ethiopia in the percentage of internet users, and for all practical purposes in mobile and fixed line telecommunication services as well. How is that possible for a country whose economy has allegedly been growing at galloping double-digit annual rates for the past decade and whose population is pushing 90 million to trail teleclm the tail end of the most vital element of technology in the modern world?
All things being relative, and relecom all earnestness, was Ethiopia better off in telecommunications in the Nineteenth Telecomm than it is in the 21st? Tele-corruption in Ethiopia occurs at the structural level. Corruption in the telecommunications sector in Ethiopia manifests itself in a number of ways. International bandwidth costs in Ethiopia were approximately double those in neighboring Kenya.
Ground zero for corruption in the Ethiopian telecommunications sector is the procurement process. Specifically, the agreement required the ETC to place hisgory prespecified equipment packages with the supplier. The rigging of telecommunications procurement is mindboggling. What is amazing is not only the fact that there was no competitive tender for either financing or equipment supply or even that the whole telecommunications kit and caboodle was handed over to one vendor; rather it is the cavalier, disdainful arrogance of unaccountability of the regime in making the deals.
The regime dealt with the sole source vendor as though they were betting their own money at a crap table in a Las Vegas casino. According to the WB report:.
The procurement process for the vendor finance contract was initiated by the ETC through a request to several suppliers. This absence of competitive tender means that there is a considerable risk of overpricing and unfavorable contract terms for the ETC….
Such a wide-ranging commitment without competitive tender is highly unusual. The nine different equipment packages being sought for example, mobile, customer data center, and Internet could have been placed with different suppliers and still have resulted in a compatible and efficient network. Eghio sole sourcing commitment means that there is a considerable risk of overpricing and te,ecom contract terms for the ETC in relation to each supply contract.
The details of the rigged Agreement ehtio madding. Procurement procedures are bypassed allowing sole-source purchasing instead of competitive tendering.
In some cases, the ETC purchases new equipment when it already has the necessary equipment in the warehouse. Some prequalifications and tenders allow too much room for subjective assessment, potentially causing some suppliers to be inappropriately eliminated from the tender list.
For obvious reasons, the WB report could not come out and say gelecom, but the truth of the matter is that somebody or somebodies had a BIG payday when the Vendor Agreement was signed!
Somebody or somebodies got a BIG cut worth millions of dollars in kickbacks. The solution to corruption in Ethiopia is not having Twiddle Teledom investigating and prosecuting Twiddle Dum. Everyone knows they are two sides of the same coin. The only difference is that when the coin is flipped, one side is down and out and the other up and about. Those in the regime pointing an index finger of corruption on their former brethren should be aware histoyr three fingers are pointing directly at them.
They are not above suspicion or reproach when it comes to corruption. They are as guilty or as innocent of corruption as the historj they have arrested and jailed. Those in the regime should not insult our intelligence by trying to pass off Mickey Mouse corruption investigations for real professional no-stones-left-unturned investigations of corruption using state-of-the-art forensic accountancy and white collar crime investigative techniques.
I say Mickey Mouse not to ridicule but to describe accurately a state of facts. Could there be a more Mickey Mouse system of justice even worse than a kangaroo court in the world?
The World Bank prescribed the right medicine for corruption in its report. The fact of the matter is that the WB identified the most important and proven components of any anti-corruption efforts: Vigilant civil society institutions which work freely at the grassroots levels and provide anti-corruption awareness, education, training and teleccom are the first line of defense and the first responders against corruption.
The independent press must flourish so that it can aggressively and doggedly investigate and report corrupt officials and practices for public scrutiny. In the democratic countries, it is the independent media which seeks out and exposes corruption, fraud, waste and abuse in government. In the telecommunications sector in Ethiopia, regulations are used to ensure regime officials and their cronies can suck dry a particularly lucrative sector of the economy.
Telecommunications is a cash oc that can be milked endlessly. Deregulating and de-monopolizing the telecom sector means competitive rates, cheaper operational costs and greater public access to and expansion of telecom services. It also means less cash in the pockets of regime officials and their cronies. There is no economic or commercial reason why the telecom sector cannot be de-monopolized and full lf by domestic and foreign companies allowed to provide cost-effective and efficient nationwide telecommunications services.
ethiopia telecommunications history – Ethiopian Review
It has been reported that the regime agreed to pay some 30 million euro to a European company to manage its telecommunications sector throughmuch of it to cover the salaries and expenses of 24 personnel. Another boondoggle to continue corruption? Mariam teaches political science at California State University, San Bernardino and is a practicing defense lawyer.
What a low down dirty shame!!! Anatomy of tele-corruption in Ethiopia Tele-corruption in Ethiopia occurs at the structural level. According to the WB report: Previous commentaries by the author are available at: