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Ethiopia Commodity Exchange responds to Wondwossen Mezlekia's article



  10:57:12 pm, by admin   , 829 words  
Categories: Ethiopia

Ethiopia Commodity Exchange responds to Wondwossen Mezlekia's article

Ed's Note: The following is the full statement received by from Ethiopian Commodity Exchange regarding an article published on this site by Mr. Wondwossen Mezlekia.

Statement by ECX Regarding an Article “The Case of Alleged Fraud and corruption at the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange” posted by Wondwossen Mezlekia

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Ali Suleiman

External Relations Manager
Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX)

Mr. Wondwossen Mezlekia is an Ethiopian-born resident of Seattle, Washington, working as a process owner at Symetra Financial, a retirement, insurance, and financial services company. He is also a self-professed coffee blogger and activist who, in his view, is helping to improve the lives of coffee farmers in Ethiopia. Over the past three years, with the understanding that Mr. Wondwossen’s interest in improving the lives of coffee farmers in Ethiopia is aligned with the vision and mission of the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange, ECX has regularly engaged in open dialogue and frank conversation via telephone and email with Mr. Wondwossen on any concerns he has wished to raise, as is done with all interested parties.

In January 2012, on a visit to Seattle, the CEO of ECX held a two and one half hour conversation with Mr. Wondwossen regarding the functioning of the Exchange and its impact on coffee farmers. During this conversation, Mr. Wondwossen raised the issue of an IT procurement of software, citing a complaint raised by a bidder based in South Africa. In response, the CEO gave a thorough explanation to Mr. Wondwossen on this matter, to the effect that the bid had been cancelled by the World Bank in early December 2010 after confirmation of a technical error made by the bid evaluation committee in the counting of the days of validity of the bid bond security following a bidder’s complaint. The CEO explained to Mr. Wondwossen that the bid approval procedure involved four layers of controls with an extensive review period over nearly six months. The bid evaluation report submitted by the ECX technical committee was thoroughly evaluated and approved by the procurement unit of the World Bank country office in Addis Ababa, then approved by the World Bank project leader in Addis Ababa, then submitted for extensive review by the World Bank IT procurement office in Washington. Over the period between July and end November 2010, over 30 technical queries were raised by the World Bank procurement evaluation team composed of some five World Bank experts in both Washington and Addis Ababa engaged in the review of this bid, on all aspects of the procurement process, including approving adjustments of several bid amounts for total costs omitted in the posted bid price. It is unfortunate that, due to the extension of the bid submission date by one month at the request of the bidders, the fact that the bid security validity period of one of the bidders had not been extended by the requisite additional 30 days was overlooked during this process.

This was a minor technicality in comparison to the complex parameters evaluated in great scope throughout this very detailed and careful process. Nonetheless, upon discovery of the oversight, the World Bank immediately canceled the award because no other bidder was considered responsive by its standards. As also informed to Mr. Wondwossen, while the bid in question was canceled, the World Bank project has continued and ECX is now successfully nearing the completion of the disbursement of funds for IT procurements under this project, intended to upgrade and extend the functionality of ECX’s trading system in the coming years.

As explained to Mr. Wondwossen, while the CEO was not at liberty to comment directly on investigations being conducted by other organizations, the fact that both the World Bank and the Prime Minister’s Office had conducted full investigations in 2011 is well known. Suffice to say that the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange submitted more than 1,500 pages of material in the form of documents, correspondence, emails, and other evidence to the Investigation Committee over a period of four months.

Furthermore, as also explained to Mr. Wondwossen, the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange took the initiative to approach the Federal Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission in early 2011 to engage its expertise in helping to address concerns by market actors about rising corruption by those in the market who were engaged in offering bribes to ECX employees in the sampling and grading of commodities in warehouse sites around the country. This collaborative engagement between the Commission and ECX is what gave rise to the report on its activities submitted by the Commission.

It is unfortunate that Mr. Wondwossen Mezlekia, in his zeal to help Ethiopian coffee farmers, has overstepped the boundaries of factual and honest commentary in his recent posting on this matter. It is also important to note that while he reveals those who did not provide comment on this matter, he omits to provide the truth of the extensive and open dialogue held with the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange itself. This conduct cannot be seen as particularly helpful to anyone, least of all the farmers themselves.


Comment from: Tadias [Visitor]

The ECX is muddled in such corruption matters in such an infant age of the org. That is unfortunate, especially considering the professional qualification of the lady at the helm. The allegations by Mr. Wondwossen also have importance since he is now being divulged as an insider who knows what he is talking about.
But one can imagine how the bureaucracy at ECX is roiled in corruption while the poor farmers are working hard to get the sweat of their labour. It is doubtful to think that ECX is helping the farmers and the fair rules of the market since investigations of corruption to such a level and designation by the Corruption Office and by higher government officies show that the problem is much deeper than first thought.
Good job Wondwossen and good job ECX at least for responding on your part.

03/25/12 @ 00:08
Comment from: Ethiopian [Visitor]

Mrs. Eleni

Why are you citing the Prime Minister’s office and to so called anti-corruption commission as though they hold credibility?

You have been caught red-handed so your way of escaping it is by presenting a bunch of nonsense.

You are thieve and corrupt whoring for money.

Do not get me wrong your effort at the begining was inspiring but now you are just another whore building a name and wealth on the poor.

I see you no different than the murderers and the thieves of the TPLF.

I wonder how you and Azeb get along. I bet you bend-over every-time she tells you to huh.


03/25/12 @ 00:22
Comment from: Tasew [Visitor]

Do you really mean that?
It is sad to see the External Relations Manger of Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX) trying to deliberately mislead the people who read the article posted by Ato Wondwossen. On the other hand, as a diehard cadre of Woyane/TPLF Ato Ali tried to cover up and minimize the theft and miserable corruption going on in this mafia group.

I came to this conclusion after I noticed that Ali did not even try to answer or address the five critical errors ECX committed. The five critical contracting errors have to do the cost of the product and services, quality of the product, reputation of the vendor, and the bidding process itself. For people who have been involved in technology management none of the above five issues are “technicalities". Unless, Ali and his bosses are ignorant of technology management and businesses the term “technicalities” has nothing to do with these five core issues.

My advice to Ali’s bosses is not to insult our intelligence. Admit your mistake instead of using your gibberish logic as typical Woyane/TPLF cadres. You cannot convince anyone with this line of logic. Rather you expose your ignorance of technology management and the depth of your corruption.

03/25/12 @ 00:58
Comment from: Truth [Visitor]

Since when did the prime minister’s office become an independent and honest investigator? Unless it is to investigate that a company controlled by his wife did not win the bid.

03/25/12 @ 01:02
Comment from: Extraterrestrial [Member]

Yes indeed there was absolutely nothing mentioned about the explanations he was provided by ECX, he should have talked about that and why he disagree with the explanations.

Mr Wondwossen have the obligation to respond why he opted to omit the said “extensive and open dialogue” and more importantly why he was not satisfied with it to bring a public debate about it as soon as possible.

Otherwise he is just one more diaspora #####.

03/25/12 @ 01:03
Comment from: Agerwedad [Visitor]

How typical, blaming the whistle blower and shifting the blame. The flow of information and the integrity of the system is necessary for the well functioning of the market and actors’ confidence. What the ECX and the regime fail to understand is the fact that all parties know that the success of any business in Ethiopia is dependent on ones closeness to the regime. Ethiopia is littered with newly minted millionaires that became rich not because of their business acumen or some technical breakthrough but because the market and competitions associated with it were bent in their favor by the regime. Knowing this full well the notion that ECX is immune from this blatant manipulation of the market is an insult to the intelligence of market actors. The free flow of information, easy entry and exit of actors to the market and enforcement of contracts is paramount to the well functioning of markets. Unfortunately the makeup and nature of the regime is not compatible with this. So stop preaching that ECX is immune from this blatant market manipulation.

03/25/12 @ 01:17
Comment from: Wetu Enewta [Visitor]
Wetu Enewta

Both the initial story of corruption at the ECX and the response to it by Eleni and/or her minions suggest that the ECX is led incompetently at best, or that it has lost complete control and is rife with corruption at worst. While it is humanly difficult to prevent small errors and mistakes from occurring in an organization of any size, it is impossible to outlive fatal mistakes. Because of the nature of the business, integrity and credibility are the only real assets of any Exchange. The history of Exchanges in Russia, India and other parts of the world shows that Exchanges die very quickly and suddenly with the whiff of a scandal. The fact that even the ECX itself acknowledges problems with a level of corruption of its own employees is serious enough to shut down operations until the matter is resolved. Those of us who supported Eleni at the launching of the ECX in 2008 feel let down by the revelation of corruption in, of all things, the bid process. The initial concern by well-meaning individuals regarding the establishment of the ECX was that it would be used as a tool for the ruling party and/or individuals to manipulate the coffee market in Ethiopia and amass wealth at the expense of the farmers. This latest episode and accusation of corruption plays straight into that narrative, and will hasten the demise of an otherwise useful entity. There are many steps that should be taken immediately to safeguard the ECX. The first of these is for Eleni to do the honorable thing and tender her resignation!

03/25/12 @ 04:04
Comment from: TEDDY [Visitor]

Let them exchange the commodity without the middle diveder voulcher(ECX) . Why divide Ethiopians trade practice with ECX. ECX is the middle voulcher , the tax collector (ZEKIYOS_ELENI rob in the middle and give it to THE MAN.

03/25/12 @ 04:29
Comment from: zella [Visitor]

There is no excuse for corruption and we all have an obligation to fight it back.In Ethiopia corruption is deep rooted cancer affects all lifes,for those die hard hateful individuals and groups this is a bonaza to politicize and degrade hard working leaders who try to bring a poitive change in the country.Mark my word next time the phony professor Al will scrutinize this and dump all his feces for his folllowers consumption.

03/25/12 @ 08:15
Comment from: men [Visitor]

Mr External Relations Manager

Your statement is without any skill , which dose not meet standard of professionalism….

1.You are talking about complex what is that Sir? You are not evaluating some nuclear activity or medical research for HIVs treatment, Sir here no need any complex work to make any technical bid evaluation , becose of there are standard documents provided by your ofice and International fainancial office / in this particular case/ and you are paid the big poor farmer monye for that and your duite is work acording that documents with respnsability and accaountablity , the complexty procese come when there is needing for some appropriate of benefits and you had losted that part by inmmediate intervantion of international fainancial office, thats all.

2. Also as the same time you want to minimaize the big financial crime made in your office like minor technical erorr what a shame , sir you dont understand the resorce, /time monye, credibility/ had losted your country for this single bid evaluation or you are saying that is no problema, I am a big king in my office to cover all that.

3. you no need here to teach about the auther of the article, you no need to go here and ther to jusify unjustifiable work like silly man, Ethiopian say /Mamo Kilo, the man who never learn/ you shoud only to concentrate about the confidential of his presentation and others froud scandal and you and all high level responsable should to be prepared to leave the office for the reputation of Ethiopian ppl, then you are very wise. sir, again to remember you losted your responsibility and then you should to be accountable for that, the case is very sensitive.

3. The last, if there is no other office connected with this big fraud scadal like prime minister office the recomendation is urgent action to close the loop and renew the losted reputation, thats all.

03/25/12 @ 08:22
Comment from: Next call [Visitor]
Next call

The History of commodities exchange tells it all, it was meant to guarantee farmers reliable income so that they wont be shortchanged by either traders or ‘ mother nature’. As farmers needed some sort of assurance that their cereals and produce wil be sold at set price the ‘ future’s market’ was launched as a basis for the Commodity’s exchange, first in Chicago and elsewhere as time lapsed. In other words it was meant to fight deflation and some sort of stablity in the grain’s market. Ethiopia doesn’t need a ‘ commodity’s exchange’ as i wrote repeatedly as the problem in Ethiopia due to the proliferation of mobile phones and extensive export market the average farmer was less likely to be taken unllike those Midwest farmers of the bygone era which ushered the Exchanges in commodities. I predicted that the Exchange will make inflation worse and middle men obsolote. With coffee, which is the biggest prize Eleni was after, it was a different ball of game. Unlike most countries the cofffee, where it is grown by sophisticated wealthy land owners,most was tended to by farmers tilling a hectare or two at most. The trade in Ethiopian coffee needed so much sophistication and was the effort of many years if not decades, it wasn’t prime for universal classification. Ethiopian Arabica coffee is mostly used by speciality buyers who mix it with vanilla varieties to roast it to the masses. The system worked well for both the exporters, their suppliers and those sophisticated buyers who deal with it with the utmost expertise it needed. No coffee from a certain kebele let alone a region of Ethiopia are the same as in Brazil or Kenya where unfiormality is the norm. When Eleni, her gang and major backers tried to corner the market and sell it as if it can be categrosed they stumbled on major obstacles. The buyers refused to budge. Worse yet, numerous big time buyers switched to Rwanda,Uganda and elsewhere. The Japanese refused to buy outright the coffee from Ethiopia alleging that there were tainted with DDT and other pesticide for the channel was disrupted. Ethiopia is growing ever more coffee but fewer serious buyers thanx to the Exchange. Efforts to corner the market by Guna back fired for the skill of those exporters were discounted seriously. Just recently, the govt has to dispatch trade mission to lure buyers overseas after having summarilly banned seasoned and experienced exporters who knew how to deal with their resepctive counter parts and made decision when to sell and to whom. That is the tragedy of the Exchange in a nutshell. Eleni got the vibe and perhaps financing from naive developmental agencies. What she has achieved is more inflation in Ethiopia for basic food staples and lessened demand for Ethiopian coffee on the World market. Where the Nation had to deal with deflation,now despite bumper crops is experiencing ever more inflation. The Amhara Region is growing as much food as the whole country did before the demise of the Dergue thanx to the Govt’s extensive farmer assistance programs. But the reality is food prices are ever inching up. Blame Eleni! With Starbucks and other major roasters looking for alternative source of uniformal coffee,even the ‘ fair trade’ system which benefitted Ethiopian farmers and the ‘licensing scheme’ will be doomed. Tout fini bien qui fini le dernier. or who laughs last.Published reports were ablaze with a certain Limu cup of coffee from Ethiopia selling for $12/cup. Mind you the experts who taste and grade coffee have their taste buds insured and know which coffee they need to buy from which trader in the seeming archaic ethiopian market. The fact that the govt is waging war on the traders will only back fire unless it allows the free trade in this volatile commodity resume the way it was shaped in a century or so. The Ethiopian govt gets most or all foreign currency garnered from the sale of coffee. All it had to do was print Birr and hand it to the trader upon the culmination of the transaction. It went on a bizzare campaign to chop the traders’ hand….10000 tons of coffee were gone. I am suspecting the traders probablly sent their wares to Kenya where they will trade with their partners. There is no other explanation whereby the Nation is producing more coffee but exporting less of it. As most folks are busier than ever, i dont believe consumption has gone that much higher.

03/25/12 @ 09:51
Comment from: Transparency [Visitor]

Selective Objectivity
Tadias: i am appauled by how your comment is selectively objective in its assesment of the issue, you mentioned that the Blogger mezlekia is devulged as an insider while the reply from ecx suggested otherwise, of you are ready to belive his article why are you not ready to be
Ive ecx’s reply? Perhaps you are biazed?
You also asked us readers to imagine how ecx’s alleged (as the blogger also put it) corruption affects the income of the hard working farmer, which these two do not have direct corelation, the funds in question are of the world bank’s and not generated from the farmers sales of hos crop, ecx self confession of the corruption at different deposit sites of the country also shows its comiitment to transparency and acheiving excellence, you also need to remember that ecx is handling warehouse management going out of its way to facilitate the trade, you should know that a commodity exchange is only a market place and a market place only in its concept. However in a land of talkers and not walkers somebody has to do the job. In ECX’ s defense i would like to say that this institution with all its defects and shortcomings is one good example that if the diaspora focuses on Ethiopia and its people alone and not the petty politics being played out by groups who not even in their wildest dreams would dare come face the elephant in the room (poverty) can make serious changes for the betterment of the Ethiopian Economy and ots people.

03/25/12 @ 10:41
Comment from: [Member]

This is a good reaction by the ECX. It explains a number of things and particularly the involvement of the World Bank in some of the decisions made which was not mentioned in the original article. I am for an open dialog over the internet in this way. If there are things that need to be improved all of us can provide ideas. Mr Wondonssen has started this with his first article. Now I expect him to respond to this with some of the issues raised. Has there been a conversation between the ECX and himself? If yes why didn’t he mention that in his article? Was he not convinced or was the conversation not holding water?

By the way if that conversation really happened it is a very good thing. Cudos to The ECX for trying to engage with stakeholders to try and bring the change that need to happen in our country. The ECX is trying to solve something that is fundamentally wrong with our markets. When I read some of the comments I really wonder whether it is because people want to keep the status quo or is it because we think it is a good thing but are unhappy that it is happening during the current administration? It is unfortunate that it is happening during the current administration but this thing should have started decades ago. All of us need to remember that administrations come and go but that the population will be there long after the EPRDF administration is gone. All the big institutions in the world have had time to mature to reach where they reached now.

Instead of being so negative we can contribute by establishing an alternative organisation to help our population or by providing constructive criticisms for the ECX to improve.

If there was a mismanagement our institutions, with all their limitations, will pick it and people will be accountable for it now or in the future even if somebody tries to cover it now.

03/25/12 @ 12:34
Comment from: Eleni Desalgne [Visitor]
Eleni Desalgne

Dear all, It has come so easy for us to blame one another and distroy what one is trying to build. It has come our custom too to distroy any thing which has a promis to excel. What is wrong with my fellow country men? These people at ECX, who have been diaspora like most of you have taken a gallant step and decided to work for their mother land. Of course when working do’nt we all commit or omit mistakes? It it only those who do nothing that do not make mistakes. Ato Wondwosses if you were really a friend of the Ethiopian farmers and if you really cared about them why did you not mention your concern to the EXC CEO in January when you gus were discussing ECX? Like I said we are a licensed distroyers. Nothing good comes of us, we unite to distroy, we unite for nagative actions and words. But nothing good comes of us to encourage or support to any YETKEDES ASABENA SERA. We all should have been grateful to those young professional at ECX for their dedication and love of their country. We should have been supporting to them and work with them in whatever we could but least we could do is SHUT OUR BIG MOUTH. Ato Wondewosen honestly do you think you are doing a favour to the poor Ethiopian farmer by living in Seatle and write nonensens? Are you really contributing something to your country as a citizen. SHAME ON YOU.

03/25/12 @ 12:49
Comment from: abca [Visitor]

The Commodity exchange, although, put together with good intentions from Dr Eleni will be nothing but a new venue for robber barrons of the system. These barrons need not necessarily be political jackals associated with the regime

The exchange can only be described as yet an other instrument of embezzlment by the unscrupulous upstarts who wouldn’t stop anywhere short of ransacking the country and leaving it to bleeding to death.

Such an institution may be difficult to build but much more diffiuclt to maintain. This is so not because of technical skills required for such an entreprise but because of the vaulturistic nature of the new rich who have made substantial gains through illegal means.

When all is said and done, this well meanign lady may stand to to watch sll the labor of her efforts turn to dust and the fruits of her travails in the hands of the new barrons

03/25/12 @ 14:21
Comment from: yomazu [Visitor]

Bullshit! Bullshit! and Bullshit!

Listen,if Dr.Eleni comes out in the public and tells her story,she will not gain any weight.We see the potential sources of this deadly corruption and robbery from infinite angles and perspectives.

It really hurts;it hurts the coffee farmers and the peasants,as well as Ethiopians.When Dr.Eleni submitted her resume to Meles Zinawi,she must have first planned a coalition as well as a prtnership between him and her, and accepted job duties and responsibilites in the position she held offce today;therefore,Mr.Ali,advise your coleague,Dr.Eleni to answer our questions in front of the public as she did her a presentation to the audiance on the stage sometimes ago;now,this is going to be a face-to-face encounter where Ethiopians will ask Dr.Eleni

1.Dr.Eleni,disclose her yearly salary earned before and after tax.

2.Bonus,perks,petiance or any form of performance appreasal that she received from her boss,Zinawi.

3.Is ECX a none-profit organization or publicly traded? Was Dr.Eleni volunteering or employee of ECX?

4.Who was Dr.Eleni reporting to with regard to running ECX?

5.Did Dr.Eleni ever find Zinawi interfering with her job or put pressure on her to impact her ability to perform tasks she was doing or did she ever feel she was unfaily or unprofessinally forced by Zinawi or someone else to alter facts and figures leading to the existence of corruption?

6.What legal steps did Dr.Eleni take to challenge Zinawi,measures and actions in order to avoid corruption or similar conflict of interest that would possibly impact her performance negatively?

7.If in deed Dr.Eleni is found guilty of unprofessional performance,will she be willing to testfy agianst Zinawi?

8.What did Dr.Eleni do exceptionally to trive or exceed expectation while in ECX? How did coffee farmers benefited from all that she did as a leader,as eductator,as a mentor to Zinawi or someone else,as a woman to empower women farmers,in particular in leadership and similar role?

9.How did Dr.Eleni build trust with Zinawi and automatically become his employee?

10.What was the best thing that she found about Zinawi and her excutive team in running ECX? what difficulties did she ever come accross in a team meeting or on practical field? Of course,there is risk in assuming good intent;what intention did she have when she moved to Ethiopia and to establish ECX? what was the mission statement,objectives,and goals she put on the paper? Did she achieve her goal? Will Dr.Eleni reamin on her job or will she resign?

03/25/12 @ 17:15
Comment from: Tasew [Visitor]

I also faced one tigre woman who holds a high office and selectively benefits tigreans only. She is very very racist. She hates people who are not tigre so much so that she might not even retreat from shooting them from point blank range. I see eleni in the same eye. She holds the same tribal stature as meles and the woman i know. Eleni is serving meles’s tribal government nothing more nothing less.

03/25/12 @ 18:20
Comment from: Col. Bezabeh Petros [Visitor]
Col. Bezabeh Petros

One of the institutions Ethiopians hoped will lay a good foundaton for our poor trading system and bring some transformation to the struggling farmers is on the blink of dismantling. It feels like its demis is nearing because it fell in the wrong hands. My trust for the success of ECX was gone long-ago when TPLF’s EFFORT took control over it. ‘Guna’ an organization owned and run by day-light robbers and shameless gangesters, hungery gunners from the north. They themselves steal the stocks and then blame and intimidate the defenseless merchants for cover-up. They are the prime-criminals who are engaged from pity to large-scale crimes but they punish others for what they have not done pretending as true law enforcers. They do not have a single resource execpt rock but they controlled and exploit from coffee to Gold. They became overnight millioners and collect all the wealth at the expense of poor farmers through corruption and looting by the point of gun. They have guns and they do whatever they want for now. What will happen when the day comes and over-powered by the people that they oppress and the guns are taken away?

03/25/12 @ 18:27
Comment from: woldeyesus [Visitor]

Wow! I find this statement by the ECX very encouraging. I hope other entities of the Ethiopian government learn some civility from this. And also I hope even the ECX treats other critics who live in Ethiopia with the same tone of understanding and sign of tolerance.

03/25/12 @ 19:14
Comment from: ፊታውራሪ Free [Member]

In a country where there is no impartial and independent justice system, election board, academic institutes, and even religious organizations to serve the people, i will take ECX anytime and count it as the proverbial flower in a lifeless desert. Eleni’s success in building ecx from the ground up, and the financial professionals continues effort and dedication to better reward the hardworking Ethiopian farmers and introduce a modern, efficient, and reliable system in the Ethiopian market is very commendable and also a model for the rest of us. Of course, that does not mean the center will execute all its responsibilities perfectly. As someone already mentioned it, mistakes are going to happen. Corruption is going to be given and taken. There will be some losers and hopefully much more winners. That is just how things in the real world work, and only a conceited jealous would demand and expect anything different from ECX and Ethiopia. ‘Letekemach Semay qirbu’ newuna! Therefore, instead of throwing a vindictive ‘i told u so’ mud on ECX, and wishing for its downfall, make a responsible and professional input to clear any confusion and fix any standing problems or corruptions so that the people who actually work in Ethiopia can reap their deserved benefit. I commend ECX’s open policy, and appreciate all its efforts including the time taken to respond for the bitter gossips and constructive criticisms alike.

03/25/12 @ 19:53
Comment from: Girma D. [Visitor]
Girma D.

Bravo Ms. Desalegn. I appreciate your positive attitude. We need to Stop bickering each other and try to help poor Ethiopians.I think the reason behind our poverity is our lack of compassion and respect for each other.We need to look at the mirror before we judge others.

03/25/12 @ 20:27
Comment from: t7 [Visitor]

Wondesson Mezlekia has substantiated his claim with facts and evidence. ECX did not expect for onlookers, inside or out, to peer into its inner workings therefore it got obviously embarassed when caught in what appears to be a tempting-once- in-while opportunity to pocket a sizeable cash. As usuall Ato Mezlekia wrote a first rate investgative article and ought to be thanked for it. Maybe 1. Elleni G/M is a sole actor 2. She may be a co-conspirator 3. A front and a sacrificial lamb. 4. In unlikely scenario, innocent.

03/25/12 @ 22:05
Comment from: Dynamite [Visitor]

The fact that the anti-corruption commission came out public about this is very telling. The Meles regime never lets the commission go against big fishes they want to keep. It does so only when they want to bring down someone. Just watch..

03/25/12 @ 23:40
Comment from: Chewa Ethiopiawi [Visitor]
Chewa Ethiopiawi

I often read various comments posted by different participants. And I sometimes ask myself, where has our Ethiopiawi Chewanet gone? Why can’t we give our comments in a decent manner? Can we take a few seconds and re-read our comments before we post it? Thanks

03/26/12 @ 03:03
Comment from: Imperial Body Guard [Visitor]
Imperial Body Guard

Definite fraud and corruption brought on by the neo-colonial regime of ethnic federalism. With the alien puppets of secession claiming to own all Ethiopia’s rural land holdings which are supposed to provide the sustenance for Ethiopia’s survival. The regime by using brutal tactics of eviction and slave labour for wages below the poverty threshold continues to feed the ECX and export Ethiopias agricultural produce whilst neglecting the Ethiopian people with hunger to pursue selfish ends.

United Nations Declaration
on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Article 26
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired.
2. Indigenous peoples have the right to own, use, develop and control the lands, territories and resources that they possess by reason of traditional ownership or other traditional occupation or use,
as well as those which they have otherwise acquired.
3. States shall give legal recognition and protection to these lands,
territories and resources. Such recognition shall be conducted with
due respect to the customs, traditions and land tenure systems of the indigenous peoples concerned.

‘In our own times, there are those expansionists who by shedding blood, desire to achieve their ambition and by dismembering themselves they are seen as tools for alien interests. Our people from Ethiopia shed blood, to save them from disintegration. Those personalities who believe in freeing a country by secession are selfish and prey to outsiders. We will not accept their motives.’ Selected speeches of HIM Negus Haile Selassie I, page 426

“Neo-colonialism today takes two forms: economic and political. We recognize that economic dominance is not only often the more difficult to eliminate, but often serves as the entering wedge for political domination. We further recognize that, given the history of our continent, and the conditions under which we came to freedom, it is not unusual that, despite our best efforts, the economic independence which we seek is long and difficult in coming. Long-established patterns of trade are not easily or quickly reoriented. Let us not delude ourselves in thinking that these facts, for such they are, are of no significance for the future of Africa. But let us, at the same time, toil with all our strength to alter them.
When we consider political neo-colonialism, our desires, although perhaps no less difficult of attainment, are at least easier of articulation. We seek to avoid a rigid and inflexible posture which prejudices our position on major issues before the world. We seek to avoid alignment, to achieve true non-alignment. Our late good friend, H.E. Prime Minister Nehru of India, put it thus: ‘The only camp we should like to be in is the camp of peace and goodwill.’” Selected Speeches of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I, page 269-70

“The fundamental obstacle to the realisation of the full measure of Ethiopia’s agricultural potential has been, simply stated lack of security in the land. The fruits of the farmer’s labour must be enjoyed by him whose toil has produced the crop.” Selected speeches of HIM Negus Haile Selassie I, pages 492-3

“We must concentrate increasingly on the agricultural sector as holding the greatest hope for expanding the revenue which the Government must dispose of in financing the nation’s development. Coffee, for example, has for many years been a highly important earner of foreign exchange for Ethiopia. But coffee is now in over-supply in the world markets. Today, other products are gradually increasing in importance in Ethiopia’s export trade = hides and skins, cereals, oilseeds = all the products of an agrarian economy. This process must be accelerated.” Selected Speeches of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I, 492

“The aim of those leaders that is based on ambition for power and personal gain is one with no firm foundation and will, consequently, crumble easily.” Selected Speeches of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I, page 471

“The soil of Ethiopia is a fertile soil. And it is loyal and dependable. Given but the proper attention and care, the Ethiopian soil remains, however much it is tilled, a dependable source of livelihood and dignity and wealth. It is thus ill-advised and indeed unreasonable to abandon the honourable and rewarding livelihood of farming in quest of other forms of employment in urban areas. A renewed dedication and diligence in farming would surely be a venture of more rewarding and lasting value.
It is not only that Ethiopia is ideal for the development of agriculture but the preponderant majority of its people also happen to earn their livelihood from farming. Draft legislations aimed at accelerating the tempo of agricultural development have been therefore prepared, following a thorough study of the existing systems of land administration and tenure in the various governorates-general.” HIM Negus Haile Selassie I

“For those of you who possess the land and labour but lack capital, We have made credit available at low interest. For those of you who have the necessary capital but do not possess land to work on, We have, in accordance with Our proclamation which entitled every Ethiopian to ownership of land, established offices in every province through which you may be able to acquire land. Those who have neither land nor money will be granted land and a financial loan at low interest. For those of you who possess land, who have financial resources and manpower, We have made experts available to furnish you with the necessary guidance and advice in your undertakings.” Selected Speeches of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I, page 486

“The longevity and tenacity of a building can be judged by its foundation.” Selected Speeches of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I, page 495

“Every structure must be built on a solid foundation, for those constructed otherwise would soon collapse. The proclamation by which We made land grants to the entire Ethiopian people is the foundation of this scheme.” Selected Speeches of HIM Haile Selassie I, page 487

“Man can only begin an enterprise it is for God to dispose of it to a good end.” HIM Negus Haile Selassie I

Long Live the Constitutional Monarchy!
Long Live the African Unity!
Long Live the Charter of the United Nations!
Fire burn down the satanic star of secession
Beka! Tinsae Moa Anbessa!
Gasha for Ethiopians!
Long Live Ethio-Eritean oneness!
The Lion of Judah shall throw off the yoke of oppression and set the captives free!
Long Live Independent Ethiopia!

03/26/12 @ 05:29
Comment from: kul [Visitor]

Wondessen Mezlekia’s article is full of objective facts and supported by actual emails and other correspondences. ECX’s response doesn’t refute any of these facts. I don’t see anything in ECX’s response that substantially disprove Wondessen’s allegation. ECX is simply saying that the World Bank cancelled the bid due to a mere “technical error made by the bid evaluation committee”. Really?! How can one regard fraud and corruption as simple “technical errors? It is really very funny. In the world of woyane, fraud and corruption are not crimes; they are simple technical errors.
I have a suggestion to Dr. Eleni. If you are saying that the World Bank cancelled the bid citing technical error, then I urge you to post the copy of World Bank’s decision. This way we will know exactly why the World Bank cancelled the bid.

03/26/12 @ 10:27
Comment from: azew [Visitor]

for sure,we,Ethiopians hold Dr.Eleni responsible for running a corrupted ECX whose sole purpose was to reinforce and expand the finacial empire,EFFORT that has been established by a mafia group lead by Zinawi and his family.

Ethiopians have been fighting the evils since 1991 and before that when the evils were supported by the external enemies of Ethiopia.Today,this battle and fighting against our common enemy is a tooth and nail fighting in every conrner in the country and outside the country with one and only one goal, to remove the enemy from the surface of Ethiopia and to completely get rid of the cancerous enemy from within the lives of Ethiopians.We do fight corruption,too.EFFORT and ECX are fraternal twins that were conceived at different in different places by the same evil men and women.ECX is a baby,yet highly lethal;it did hurt coffee and grain farmers and deprived Ethiopia of economical benefits.

Today,everything and anything that is available above and below the lands in Ethiopia is owned,controlled,and run by a group of mafias lead by the known criminal,Legesse Zinawi,given name at birth, but later changed his name to Meles and other suitable identities that used to carry out banditory,vandalism,robbery,and murder in different part of the country,and also crossed boundries and collaborated with the groups that had similar interest in dismantling Ethiopia.It is with this internationally known criminal,Zinawi that Dr.Eleni,with full knowledge and understanding of Zinawi’s involvement in different kinds of criminal activities that she willingly became partner and established ECX to harm grain farmers in Ethiopia.

Legesse,given name at birth,currently called by his nickname Meles is the fugitive wanted for weird and wicked crimes that he committed on Ethiopians,and for being a terror boss since the time he has been an outlaw.This criminal,for sure,will be captured;however,justice will not waste its time until Zinawi is captured and walk him to the court being accompanied by Azeb Gola and Dr.Eleni,either to comfort him or to help him wipe off his tears or to testfiy agianst him;rather,justice with its duality nature,it can effectively and efficiently handle the curruption allegations brought and charges laid against Dr.Eleni.In 1991,the robbers came into Ethiopia with a lot of guns and bullets to loot and murder Ethiopians;time favored them and invaded Ethiopia and quickly disperesed accross and allover Ethiopia and crossed into villages,towns,cities,and neighborhoods,broke into homes and vandalized the lives of families.Why did not Dr.Eleni run ECX with dignity and honor?

Why did not Dr.Eleni plug herself into truth and reality? Why corruption? What actually defines Dr.Eleni? What made Dr.Eleni change as soon as she arrived in Zinawi’s planet?

03/26/12 @ 17:40
Comment from: Teshome [Visitor]

The article itself and many of the comments here and everywhere are dealing with the symptom than the root cause of the problem. It is not only the Exchange but, the entire system that make it possible for Dr Eleni and the like is rotten. Until it is dealt publicly in the open (free media) and neutral parties (civic organization) are involved to sort out the good and the bad in society corruption and many more crimes will continue.

In principle, a functioning Exchange is good for all involved, especially the farmers who almost always get the end of the stick. But, The Ethiopian Commodity Exchange is noting other than a propped up government marketing board that tapped in international Aid money in the name of development. The benefactors are the regime cronies.

The problem with the CEO is she acts clueless and come up with all kind of gibberish to defend the operation when she fully understand what she is doing on behalf of the regime.

As simple as reviling in public; who is funding the operation, paying her salary and by how much, as she should will tell a story of the Exchange to close it down.

03/26/12 @ 21:31
Comment from: t7 [Visitor]

By the way, does this mean there are no Ethiopian software companies who could have vied for the contract. In this age of software ubiquity, it would have been easy for an upstart Ethiopian owned company to adapt an existing code for ECX.

Important passages from the article - The people vs. ECX:

In 2009, the International Development Association (IDA) approved the government’s request to funnel part of the money it borrowed for the purpose of financing the Rural Capacity Building project to ECX, and the latter floated an international Invitation for Bids (IFB) Number ECX/ICB/02/2009/01 for the supply, installation, and maintenance of a commodity exchange software. After a lengthy and messy process, ECX eventually awarded the contract to a Sri Lanka based company called Millennium IT. Before the signing of the contract, however, the World Bank rejected the contract award proposal and cancelled the loan due to alleged fraud and corruption during the bidding process.

According to the World Bank’s Guidelines, a proposal for award will be rejected when the Bank determines that the recommended bidder has “engaged in corrupt, fraudulent, collusive, coercive or obstructive practices in competing for the contract in question". When the Bank determines that the representatives of the Borrower of the loan were engaged in similar corrupt practices during the procurement of the contract, however, the Bank will entirely cancel the portion of the loan allocated to that contract.

It may be difficult to know exactly which bidder should have won the contract without a thorough and complete investigation of the bid evaluation, but it is quite apparent from the dossier that the proclaimed winner, Millennium IT, could not have won the award had it not been for an act or omission “that knowingly or recklessly misleads, or attempts to mislead, a party to obtain a financial or other benefit or to avoid an obligation.” [3]

The World Bank’s Guidelines, which ECX was supposed to observe throughout the tender, states that “the Borrower shall award the contract, within the period of the validity of bids, to the bidder who meets the appropriate standards of capability and resources and whose bid has been determined (i) to be substantially responsive to the bidding documents and (ii) to offer the lowest evaluated cost.” [4]

By this standard, Millennium IT’s bid was neither “substantially responsive” nor did it “offer the lowest evaluated cost". First, Millennium IT’s bid was not “substantially responsive” as defined in the bid document in that the bid security expiry date was shorter than required. According to sections ITB 17.1 and ITB 18.1 of the bid document, bids need to be secured by a bid security of ETB 400,000, or the equivalent in a freely convertible currency. The document also stipulates that “a bid security that expires ahead of the 148 days after the date of bid opening shall be rejected as non-responsive.” In other words, since the bid opening date was July 12, 2010, the bid security guarantee should be valid through December 7, 2010. Millennium IT’s bid security was due to expire a month earlier on October 9, 2010, but it somehow emerged out as the declared winner any way. Second, Millennium IT’s bid price was the highest at USD 3,585,105 at opening. At the conclusion of the evaluation, ECX further bumped up the price to USD 4,855,800 – a mysterious increase of USD 1,270,695.

03/26/12 @ 23:20
Comment from: Derese [Visitor]

This criminal Eleni Zewde has been caught red handed. She is corrupt and is used by the tplf looters as whore to suck the blood of poor Ethiopian farmers. Eleni,we will punish you with Meles very soon. Aynega mesluat………

03/27/12 @ 00:31
Comment from: Visitor [Visitor]

I give them credit for at least responding.

I am just curious though how ECX was able to access Nazret website from Ethiopia. The last time I heard it is one of the sites blocked by the government not accessible via the regular Internet unless you surcumvent this via some illigal means.

03/27/12 @ 01:13
Comment from: uluyedait [Visitor]

Dr.Eleni Zewdai, not coming out from her hideout will make matter worse;it is going to be worse on her career,if she plans one.Well, is Dr.Eleni Zewdai telling us,the man who hired her to run ECX is credible enough and to mention his name in bad terms is not good?

We definitely hold Dr.Eleni Zewdai responsible for defending a know criminalin the court of her chatty mouth.Why is that difficult enough for Dr.Eleni Zewdai to come out in the open and open her mouth as wide as she could make it and tell us her story in a way she wants us to hear her?

Why is that Dr.Eleni Zewdai chosing to keep quiet while the shattered ECX is fallen on the ground broken?

For sure, soon or later,Zinawi will be standing for a trial for all wrongs he did to Ethiopians,if Dr.Eleni Zewdai wants to stand behind or beside him and defend his crime,let Dr.Eleni Zewdai start the music in a key of C and entertain the criminal,but before she starts composing the music,she had better practice her move behind the curtain and come out on the stage with power point to make Zinawi animate himself in the drama she participates.

03/28/12 @ 23:23



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