The Ethiopian Authority for Civil Society Organizations (ACSO) Issues Directive No.1002/2024 to Monitor, Control and Investigate CSOs

The Ethiopian Authority for Civil Society Organizations (ACSO) has issued Directive No. 1002/2024, which will become effective upon its digital publication on the Ministry of Justice’s website. The Directive aims to monitor and control the performance of all CSOs in Ethiopia registered based on the purpose of their establishment and to investigate whether their work is compliant with the law.

Generally, the Directive has indicated that the monitor and control shall be a desk monitor and control mechanism based on its annual monitoring plan, i.e., using the annual reports, audit reports, project documents, and agreements of civil societies available to the authority and/or provided to it by governmental, and non-governmental actors. However, the Authority, for sufficient reason may pursue field control and monitoring mechanisms, to ensure performance and legal compliance.

The Directive states that control and monitoring activities carried out by the authority on organizations should be consistent, and that performance monitoring should be only to the extent necessary to check the actions that are said to have been done or that may be done by the organizations. Thus, under Article 7 of the Directive, it is provided that, based on available evidence and/or information, the Authority shall monitor and control issues like:

  • Inadequate internal control, finance, & purchase systems for its funds and scope of operations.
  • Problems with the management guidelines and procedures of the organization’s personnel.
  • Lack of procedures by the organization to identify and resolve violations of law.
  • Collection of money by the organization from illegal sources or receiving donations contrary to the law.
  • Where it’s an organization with users, there is a lack of transparent procedures for selecting users.
  • Where donations to organizations don’t comply with tax procedures.

With regards to investigation, it is understood from Article 9(1) of the Directive that, there are two types of investigations: general and specific. However, no clarification is given on which matters fall under investigation of a general or specific type and what the procedure for each type of investigation will be.

Nonetheless, the Directive has outlined mechanisms for reporting legally unsound practices and breaches of the guidelines provided for under this directive, or the purpose of the CSO’s establishment as a whole. The Directive has also indicated the manner in which investigation examinations are to be taken, the professional diligence required by the examiner, and the degree to which confidentiality for the CSO’s information is kept throughout the investigation.

After the investigation, if it is found that there is a breach or underperformance in lieu of its organizational purpose, the Directive is identified as a first response, a written warning followed by suspension ranging up to 3 months, and after the lapse of said 3 months, if the CSO under suspension hasn’t remedied the breach, it will be dissolved upon the Board’s decision. And as the case may be, the Authority is required to report any criminal activities found in the investigation to the public prosecutor.

You can download the Directive here:

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