Transparency’s Home Page for Yemen contains the Challenging Secrecy series of short vids, English subtitled, dealing with access to information, a critical topic (click the “Next” button to get it started if it doesn’t autoplay):
Every ministry is like this, the sums are enormous, but without holding anyone accountable (all crimes were forgiven in the amnesty), there is little incentive to change practices or be more transparent. Also this scam (where generators were rented for greater than the amount of purchase, and the funds allocated exceeded the amount billed) is coming to light via the SEMC not COCAO or SNACC.
The strain on the majority of the populace which lacks of electricity is tremendous. For the origins of the electric shortage, mismanagement and overt theft of allocated funds, see my category Electric. Its also pathetic that all these scandals are only receiving serious scrutiny years after I first wrote about them, whether its the Port of Aden, the oil smuggling, the LNG deal, the diversion of medical supplies; the point being grand corruption was never a secret, and the starvation now is not due to a lack of aid or money but corruption and malfeasance.
Economists and journalists accuse Minister of Electricity and energy of tampering funds allocated for providing power
The Studies and Economic Media center (SEMC) has urged the Yemeni government to uphold transparency in clenching power purchase contracts to offset the electricity shortage across the country.
The Center criticized the violations committed by the government when it bought a total of 60 megawatts over the past few months at the price of of 35.5 million to offset electricity shortage in Aden for two years.
The amount, which is much higher than the real value of the leased generators generating the purchased power, also includes 3.5 million in insurance to be paid for maintenance and fuel, it highlighted. It pointed out that the power bills handed over to Aden port and free zone customs authorities amounted to only 10 million while the value of the purchased power stood at 35.5 million dollars. (Read on …)
Many ranking members of Ali Abdullah Saleh’s former regime made millions through corruption, embezzlement and fraud. The Obama administration continuously blocked all efforts to freeze Saleh’s funds in addition to providing him political cover. Every now and then somebody mumbles something about sanctioning those who block the political transition at the same time that its clear the purse of Saleh et al is what is funding the counter-revolution, like Saddam and the Fedayeen.
Alsahwah.net- Minister of Justice Murshid Al-Arashani received threats of killing by unknown persons on Friday.
A source of the ministry said that they received a letter on late Friday in which the minister was threatened with assassination.
These threats came after Al-Arashani said on Tuesday that Yemen prepares to pursue funds that were looted by the former president Ali Abdullah Saleh and his aides.
In a forum held in Qatar on recovering frozen assets of fallen Arab autocrats, Al-Arashani stressed that those officials who looted funds of the Yemeni people will be hunted through mechanisms of civil laws.
Its too bad no body is seizing assets as this guy likely has uber bucks abroad. The National Petroleum Company is only a year old; it used to be the state owned Safer Oil Co. which was abruptly dissolved last March as protests spread, likely to give the books a new start and hide evidence of mass smuggling, embezzlement. ( Safer took over Block 18 , the big one, in 2005 after Yemen failed to renew the long standing license for Hunt Oil.)
Although books begin in 2011, corrupt institutional practices (like beating employees) remained. The reason for the institutional revolution is not only the upper management withholding (stealing) workers salaries but quite frequently beating and imprisoning employees. Most ministries have “private prisons” including the Endowments Ministry.
Yemen also needs good labor unions but with hyper-politicization, corrupt Sanaa regime loyalists are management, and the state often “cloned” the workers unions with a regime created look-alike.
Yemen Post Director of the Yemeni Petroleum Company Omar Al-Arhabi has resigned following a wave of protests organized by the company’s employees.
They accused Al-Arhabi of standing behind assaults against some of the employees who headed to the cabinet demanding the resignation of Al-Arhabi. (Read on …)
Shoe throwing at the presidents relatives is always a good sign however the arrested show throwing air force officer is probably in pretty poor shape right now.
Yemen Post: Hundreds of officers and soldiers protested inside the International Sana’a Airport on Sunday, demanding to sack commander of the Air Forces, Mohammad Saleh Al-Ahmar, half-brother of the outgoing President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
One officer told Yemen Post on condition of anonymity that five tanks and many military vehicles belonging to the Central Security and Special Guard Forces rushed to the airport with the aim of dispersing the protesting soldiers.
“However, Major General Ahmed Ali Al-Ashwal, Chief of General Staff, immediately headed to the airport and ordered the forces not to assault approximately 500 protesters.” he added.\
He further said that negotiations are being continuing between Al-Ashwal and some officers of the Air Forces, indicating that they insist on the resignation of Al-Ahmar and meet all other demands.
Sources said that Guards of Al-Ahmar arrested an officer, Omar Al-Hatimi, who loudly criticized Al-Ahmar and threw his shoes at him inside a meeting hall of the Air Forces. (Read on …)
The pillaging of the economy continues:
From Chatham House, the full ( PDF report is here):
The recent political crisis in Yemen has created a cycle of hyperinflation, currency depreciation and disruption to the supply of basic goods. This is already having a serious impact on the 10.3 million Yemenis living in poverty, with the prospect of worse conditions to come.
Yemen’s economy is in thrall to a complex, intertwined network of elites that control the oil industry, imports, processing, and packaging and distribution of goods. Many members of these elite groups are key actors in the current crisis. (Read on …)
CH: Anti-government protests in Yemen are complicating Nexen’s efforts to renew its licence for the country’s Masila oilfield.
Nexen may lose its licence for Yemen’s Masila oilfield to a local operator, officials in Yemen said, as the Canadian company’s efforts to renew the deal are hindered by political turmoil and the government’s urgent need for cash. (Read on …)
In plea documents, LatiNode admitted that from about March 2004 through June 2007, it paid $1.1 million to third parties, knowing that some or all of those funds would be passed on as bribes to officials of Hondutel. In addition, from about July 2005 to April 2006, the court records show LatiNode paid $1.2 million to a third-party consultant, knowing some or all of the money would be passed on to Yemeni officials in exchange for favorable interconnection rates in Yemen: Miami Herald
There’s even people in jail. Bypassing the bid process is not hard when you can get people locked up. When al Hubaishi, the editor of 14 October arrives at work, he has drummers precede him in a procession as if he’s a minor king, which he is, and Hubashi junior is a real…
Packaging Essentials: Goss Community SSC press launches color expansion in Yemen
Submitted by Admin on December 21, 2010 – 07:54No Comment
* 14th October Foundation government printing operation enhances color capabilities
* Opportunity to increase circulation of leading daily titles
The inauguration of a new Goss Community SSC press at the 14th October Foundation for Journalism, Printing and Publishing in Aden City, Yemen, was officiated on November 22nd 2010 by the Yemeni vice president, Abdu Rabbu Mansoor Hadi. In a ceremony broadcast via national media channels and reported in the state press, Hadi announced a new benchmark for color and automation in Yemen. (Read on …)
a google translation obviously
al Hadath: Attorney General released on Monday Secretary General of the National Commission for Atomic Energy to ensure the presence and charged after his arrest yesterday on the back of his expulsion of the Group of the Public Authority for the fight against corruption and close the doors of the building .. (Read on …)
This is a huge development that will not please the Yemeni government in the least. The NDC is a grass roots initiative bringing together reformists and concerned citizens, including many prominent personalities from across the political and social spectrum including some from the GPC. They’ve held several consultative meetings and issued many statements. Some members (like Tawakkol Karaman and Ahmed Saif Hashid) resigned due to the committee’s non-performance. Others have accused the group of seeking to replace the parliament. But its more substantive than any other initiative for reconciliation including the Saleh regime’s endless barrage of threats, empty promises and lies.
Dialogue Committee, Houthi Group in Coordination Deal
Yemen Post: The national dialogue preparatory committee and the Houthi Group reached an agreement at their meeting in Saada on Thursday for forming a joint commission to coordinate addressing various national issues. (Read on …)
Good! 4.5 billion YR is about 220 million dollars US. Another area of enormous expense with disproportionately small return is the foreign embassies, which are used as a mechanism for getting outspoken politicians out of the country. For example the actual winner of the al Jawf governor’s election and the first member of Parliament to resign in protest of corrupt practices were both shipped abroad in diplomatic positions. In 2005, Yemen made repeated announcements that it would be closing unnecessary foreign embassies and reducing staff at others in an effort to cut costs. In the end, after months of hullabaloo, one Yemeni embassy was closed, Oct.11, 2005, Romania.
Academic scholarships abroad are important for Yemen’s future but are largely an entitlement to the sons and daughters of influential persons, bypassing much more qualified applicants. Furthermore, hundreds of thousands are on the military payroll but perform no military service, including some al Qaeda. Military commissions are often awarded by tribal sheiks as patronage and the sweeping exclusion of applicants by region (especially the south) during recruitment has triggered riots. The state also has trouble collecting what is due, whether taxes or the millions are owed in electricity bills by high profile persons. There’s really a lot that can be done to rationalize the Yemeni governmental budget, but it remains to be seen if its Romania all over again.
SANA’A, Dec. 3,2010 – SABA: President Ali Abdullah Saleh ordered last Thursday to reduce the proportion of fuel spending given to senior officials estimated at YR 4.5 billion annually. The order comes within the austerity plans, economic and financial reforms and plans to reduce the public budget deficit.
Other measures Saleh has urged included rationalizing the public spending, limiting funds given for medical treatments outside the country, parties, hospitality, advertisement and other unnecessary activities.
The decision could save the budget about YR 10 billion a year.
General Ali Mohsen al Ahmar: the Avis of Yemen
YP: BY DIONNE SEARCEY- Wall Street Journal (For the Yemen Post)
New documents have emerged relating to possible bribery in Yemen by global oil-services giant Schlumberger.
Internal company documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal show that Schlumberger employees raised concerns in 2008 about payments for cars the company rented from Yemeni government officials at above-market rates—including $6,000 a month for a Toyota Camry and two Toyota Corollas. Employees also cited a contract with customs broker Dhakwan Management Petroleum Co., whose chairman had ties to Yemen’s president. (Read on …)
All the more egregious because people there are starving and without water. They are allocating money to buy diesel when the Red Crescent already donated the diesel as well as overcharging and providing phantom services.
Update: English: Yemen Observer:
Studies & Economic Media Center (SEMC) revealed corruption scandals at Local Water Institution in Sa’adah province costing the government YR 100 million. (Read on …)
Faras Manna Interview: All weapons sales legal, National Security corrupt and Houthis get all weapons from the Yemeni military
Fares Manna is the president’s partner and was released from National Security jail after two months (following the incident of the shipload of Chinese weapons). He was recently sanctioned by the UN for selling weapons in Somalia despite an international ban. In an interview at al-Masdar, Manna makes some interesting claims:
- all the Houthis weapons were purchased from the Yemeni Military and systematic leakage occurs by a particular method due to the collusion by some aspect of the military
- the National Security Agency in particular is corrupt and no reform in Yemen is possible without the cancellation of the National Security
- he says he legally brokers deals with Russian, Ukranian and Eastern European countries (as I said in 2005) to purchase arms for the state and he also resells and ships arms all over the Middle East and Africa (which would include Somalia)
- all his transactions are legal according to Yemeni law
- the merchants of war reject peace with the Houthis and instigate new conflicts
- he himself lost over $100 million when his houses were bombed, they were will stocked with weapons as directed by the state, he was storing the arms so they didnt fall into the hands of the Houthis, but the National Security failed to supply the correct intelligence to the state.
- Manna is launching a peace initiative in Sa’ada, more at the Yemen Times.
For more on Fares Manna and weapons smuggling, see our category “Proliferation”.
The interview from al Masdar:
أطلق تاجر السلاح اليمني فارس مناع نداء استغاثة باسم اهالي صعدة وطالب الدول الخليجية عامة والمملكة العربية السعودية وقطر خاصة بالتدخل وتقديم الدعم والمساهمة في إعادة إعمار المحافظة. Yemeni arms dealer called Knight Manna distress call on behalf of the people of Saada and called the Gulf States in general and Saudi Arabia and Qatar in particular to intervene and provide support and contribute to the reconstruction of the province. وفيما حمّل الدولة مسؤولية انتشار السلاح في الاسواق اكد ان السلاح الذي يحمله الحوثيون يعود اصلا الى الجيش اليمني. The state took responsibility for the proliferation of arms in the market confirmed that the weapons carried by Houthis back originally to the Yemeni army. (Read on …)
In a cringe-inducing remark, Mr. Gerald M. Feierstein, Ambassador-Designate to the Republic of Yemen, said to the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, July 19, 2010: “Yemen faces many challenges and threats, the chief of which is terrorism, a global threat that requires a global response.” No. The main threat to Yemen is President Saleh. Could the US State Department possibly believe that Yemen’s main threat is terrorism or are they deliberately spinning a load of hogwash? There’s two US advisers that have a clear view, the rest have been in love with Saleh for a long time.
Well they are trapped in the Embassy and only talk to pro-regime Yemenis: Sen. Lugar expressed his concern over the U.S. embassy team’ being unable to travel outside of Sana’a to monitor key projects on the ground. I guess Obama like Bush prefers a dream world to reality, especially when the reality is the US is allied with an al-Qaeda supporting mass-murderer.
This is a little more realistic Jerry: Regarding how U.S. can measure the effectiveness of U.S. financial aid, Feierstein explained that “We are less confident that we can assure the Congress in particular that this money is being well-spent,” Feierstein concluded.
So what happened? The Health Ministry stole the real vaccines for resale in private pharmacies or never bought them in first place? Its very hard to donate anything to Yemen; monetary donations disappear by the sixth journal entry and even well intentioned physical donations (like to the victims of the Hadramout flood) are diverted for resale. Corruption in the Heatlh Ministry has an immediate lethal impact, just ask anyone with diabetes.
Yemen Observer: The Supreme National Association for Combating Corruption (SNACC) council approved Tuesday the withdrawal of an amount of fraudulent vaccine. The vaccines, which were to help prevent children’s illness such as the flu and malaria, were tampered with and then distributed on May 31 in eight governorates. After receiving reports that the vaccines were not in presentable containers, the authority approved their withdrawal from the markets.
The decision came after the SNACC reviewed reports from field teams sent to a number of governorates in response to the shipment of 400,000 doses of vaccines sent to the Ministry of Health stores on May 5, 2010.
The reports assured that the amounts were distributed to the Capital Secretariat, Sana’a, Taiz, Hajjah, Ibb, Dhamar, Amran and al-Mahwait governorates, noting that some of amounts were closer to damage of the powder.
According to the documents, the amounts of the vaccines sent to Yemen are approximately 611 doses costing $1,847,260. Sources say that the Ministry of Health bears 40 percent of the cost of the shipment.
Its not a cost but a write off.
Yemen Times interviews Dr. Mohammad Ali Jubran, financial analyst and professor of economics at the University of Sana’a:
Yemen is not in need of more donors’ conferences as it has its own natural resources, but its resources are in urgent need of good management. Oil, gas, public companies and taxes are the four pillars that the economy stands on.
But oil revenues do not all reach the budget. Up to USD 1 billion per year goes to a group of people in the name of ‘oil cost’ or ‘barrel cost.’
The highest barrel costs in the world are in Yemen, not because it is the most difficult, but because of corruption. In 2000 and 2001 the barrel cost in Yemen was USD 3, but now it is USD 17. In the agreement between the foreign oil companies and Yemen the barrel cost is fixed at USD 3, so where does the other USD 14 go? (Read on …)
Huge losses to the Yemeni treasury, I wonder who got the graft? In 2006 the South Korean delegation came home crowing about the excellent deal with Yemen. After recently threatening to renegotiate the contracts, Yemen now says it will stand by them. This is a very interesting article, one of the contracts has a floor and ceiling price.
une 18 (Bloomberg) — Yemen LNG Co. will honor its liquefied natural gas contracts with buyers including Total SA, GDF Suez SA and Korea Gas Corp., an official said, after the Middle Eastern state proposed to review them. (Read on …)
It was big news in 2006 when al Wasat published the list of scholarship recipients and they were the sons and daughters of the most powerful people in Yemen. Now its just old news.
Mareb Press: استعرض وزير التعليم العالي والبحث العلمي الدكتور صالح علي باصره اليوم في مدينة مرسيليا الفرنسية التطورات التي شهدها التعليم العالي في اليمن في مختلف المجالات. The Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Dr. Saleh Ali Bazareth today in the French city of Marseille developments in higher education in Yemen in various fields. (Read on …)
Lets see who gets the contracts and if anything ever gets built.
Yemenis protest against surging prices, south ‘violations’
Thousands of Yemenis demonstrated on Thursday following a call by opposition parties to protest against rising goods prices as well as the authorities’ “violations” against southern activists.
Around 10,000 people gathered in a Sanaa stadium to protest against a recent 15 percent rise in custom duties on 71 types of imported goods, which pushed prices up in the impoverished country, an AFP correspondent reported.
“No to hunger, no to intimidation,” chanted demonstrators, referring also to Sanaa’s policy in dealing with southerners. (Read on …)
Yemen Post: Yemen has said that it needs $ 44 billion to implement its fourth five-year economic and social development plan for 2011-2015 and urged donors to release their pledges made during the 2006 donor conference in London. (Read on …)
A government that operates so far above the law that it doesnt pay its own electric bills is going to have difficulty with reforms. Yemen Observer
YEMEN – The Ministry of Electricity, in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and Justice, has a plan to reduce its debts, collecting more than YR20 billion from individuals and institutions, said Awad al-Socatri, Minister of Electricity and Power at a press conference in Sana’a Sunday evening. (Read on …)
I lost the link! I think its from the Yemen Times, I have to check it.
Governmental offices’ corruption cases are totaling to more that YR1.5 trillion in illegal transfering, equivalent to the current state’s budget, said a first draft report by Yemen Journalists Against Corruption (Yemen JAC), in collaboration with the Journalists Without Chains Organization.
The report registered 126 corruption cases last year. The oil sector, registering 19 cases, was at the top of the list, with more than YR700 billion in corrupt deals. Aden Oil Refinery Company illegally bought oil products worth YR300 billion alone without announcing bids. “This contradicts the Bid Act by which all companies should abide,” said Nabeel Abdurab, one member of Yemen (JAC). (Read on …)