The Auditor General, Gemechu Dubisso, is reported to have declined his appointment as member of the board of directors of the state owned Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) this week, The Reporter has learnt.
Gemechu, who is the public face of exposing malpractice and abuse in public offices, was appointed by the new administration of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) along with other four directors to oversee the operations of the biggest bank in Ethiopia: CBE.
“I did receive the letter of appointment this week,” Gemechu confirmed to The Reporter via a phone interview. “However, it is difficult for me to accept the assignment,” he added.
“It will create a conflict of interest to serve in the board of directors of an institution when the office I lead is tasked with the responsibility of auditing it,” he explained.
Having this, Gemechu confirmed to The Reporter that he intends to decline the appointment.
Gemechu has been serving as the head of the Office of the Auditor General since 2009 after replacing the embattled Lemma Argaw, who suddenly left the post after the famous throw-down with the late Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, in parliament about the legality of auditing regional states’ financial books. Since then, he has been well known in the public sphere for his daring audit reports which caught the attention of many.
As of this week, the government along with Gemechu has also appointed four other individuals to serve as directors in the board of the mammoth state-owned CBE.
In this regard, Eyob Tesfaye (PhD), a macroeconomist currently working for the UN, has also been assigned to serve as director in the Board.
Eyob, who has an immense experience in the financial sector is currently working with the UNHe, had served as the director of the Financial Institutions Supervisory Agency before he left public service some years back. In addition to this, he was also serving as vice governor at National Bank of Ethiopia for a while.
The government has also assigned Mamo Mihretu, formerly a senior project manager at the World Bank, to serve CBE in the aforementioned role.
It is to be recalled that Mamo, who has more than 15 years of experience in economic policy, legal, and logistics sector reform, was also recently appointed by the PM as his senior adviser on Policy Reforms and as Ethiopia’s Chief Trade Negotiator.
Similarly, Demitu Hambissa, former minister who is currently serving at the PM office has been appointed as director of the board of the state owned Bank.
CBE’s staffs who spoke with The Reporter on the condition of anonymity is puzzled by the appointment of a fifth director: Abraham Belay (PhD), CEO of Ethiopian Electric Power.
The Enterprise is our client and they have been accessing finance from the Bank, said the senior manager.
“So for me, his appointment will clash with the interest of EEP,” he argued.