The Federal Documents Authentication and Registration Agency (DARA) has ceased authenticating and registering contracts related to the sale of immovable as of today, June 24, 2020.

The decision that was passed by a circular letter has effectively stopped the service for an indefinite period at all 14 branches of the Agency located in Addis Abeba, as well as one office located in Dire Dewa City Administration.

Clients and customers that went to the various branches of the Agency with the need to validate their sales agreement saw a posted notice stating that the Agency was no longer giving service related to the sale of immovable, including private and government sale contacts.

The Agency decided to stop giving the service as the recent cases of the Novel Coronavirus has spiked in the country.

“A single contact made related to the sale of immovable brings at least four people to the office, the seller, buyer, and two witnesses,” said Abnet Solomon, communication and public relations officer at The Federal Documents Authentication and Registration Agency.

“Authenticating and registering sale contacts is a very detailed, time-consuming task. We have been operating with half of our employees since the passing of the state of emergency,” said Abnet.

The Agency that serves around 7000 customers daily believed that it would be in the best interest of public health and safety that we temporarily stop giving this service,” Abnet told Addis Insight.

However, the Agency has not stopped its other operations. The only other service that temporarily terminated other than the registration of sale of immovable is the authentication of donation contacts. The Agency also stopped this service for the same safety reasons.

This is not the first time the Agency has stopped giving the service. A couple of months ago, after the virus was first found in Ethiopia, the government agency ceased providing authenticating and registering sale contacts for two weeks. Though the circular letter does not indicate when the Agency will be closed, Abnet estimates that they will resume giving the service after a maximum period of one month.

However, the decision to stop the service has come at an inconvenience for some of the city’s residents.

“I was not aware of the Agency’s decision and came to know about it as I went to one of their branch looking for the service,” Samuel Girma, a practicing lawyer, told Addis Insight.

“We were never told the reason why too,” he added.

Samuel believes the city should have better communicated its decision and resumed the service as it would hamper the city’s business activities.  

The Agency acknowledges that some problems could result from its actions but argues that its decision is temporary, and customers looking for the service should resort to other means of ensuring their sale contracts, such as down payments until the service is resumed.

Established in 1987, the Agency is responsible for authentications power of attorney documents, contractual agreements, and reconciliation of documents.

In the first nine months of the current fiscal year, the Agency generated 423 million Br serving 1.3 million customers both in-person and online. The Agency has around 700 workers and is currently working at its half capacity.