Chamber board fires back

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Addis Ababa, 14 June 2014 (WIC) - A member of the Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Association (AACCSA),United Insurance Company SC, filed a law suit at the Federal First Instance Court protesting the chamber's decision to ban the company's representative, Eyesuswork Zafu, from taking part in the general assembly meeting held on December 19, 2013, and called for the annulment of the decision made by the general assembly.

In what appears to be another showdown between the plaintiff and the defendant, the chamber's board has filed an appeal to the Federal High Court and publicly downplayed the continued “interference” of Eyesuswork in  chamber affairs.

The chamber announced in the press conference held on Tuesday that the appellate court has decided to stay with the execution and effect of the decision passed by the first instance court to annul the decision passed at the 9th General Assembly meeting until the case is reviewed again.

It is to be remembered that the contested decision of the general assembly meeting held on December 19, 2013 was the election of Elias Genete as new president for the city chamber in place of Ayalew Zegeye, who had just finished serving a consecutive two terms at the time. During Election Day, Eyesuswork was told that he could not get into the meeting hall at the Hilton Hotel. However, Eyesuswork and the company he represented, United Insurance Company Sc, were not to sit back and accept the decision of the chamber of board to ban them from the meeting. In a letter written between the chamber and its member, it showed that the chamber has continuously lobbied the company to change its representative as he was banned from attending general assembly meetings indefinitely. Nevertheless, United did not heed the suggestion of the chamber board and reaffirmed that Eyesuswork would continue to represent it.

The first instance court's decision on the matter was rather two fringed to say the least. The first one which is to annul the decision and the outcome of the 9th general assembly meeting was also accompanied by the second one which is to respect the amendments made by the chamber on the point of the minimum attendance required to meet quorum during general assembly meetings.    
However, the chamber contested the decision and said that charges were intended to defame some of the fairly elected leaders of the city chamber who offered their services for free to promote the chamber’s vision. Mola Zegeye, member of the newly elected board, criticized the Insurance Company for making the court decision public before the final step, even if it means cassation is completed. “It was absolutely inappropriate to talk about the case which was still in the process of review,” he said. He also stated that the case was not about being denied access to general assembly meetings, but it was about rejection of the outcome of the meeting since it was held without the fulfillment of the proper quorum. He further clarified that the appeal was for the cancellation of the votes that were cast without the presence of full members, according to article 20 and 9 of the Chamber’s by law. The court passed a “landmark” decision on this matter, Mola said. He hailed the court’s decision that reaffirmed that quorum doesn’t necessarily mean that the majority vote is rejected whenever a member is missed. He also downplayed the act of Eyesuswork, whose action reveals that he had probably been involved in a sort of personal conflict to come up with such a controversial case.
“He can finish his business with others somewhere else not here. And this is a legal institution that no one can dismantle on his own virtue,” he reiterated. (Reporter)