Armies of Liberation

Jane Novak's blog about Yemen

Two important Yemen economic reports

Filed under: Corruption, LNG, Oil, Yemen-Economy, govt budget, non-oil resources — by Jane Novak at 9:11 am on Friday, May 9, 2014

That ” ‘Yemen’s PUBLIC TREASURY is mainly relied on OIL and GAS production that constitutes 60-65 percent of government revenues in recent years is not the shocking news’; however corruption state in the Ministry of FINANCE and of OIL is the fresh issue revealed by specialized committees of the Public Shadow Authority* affiliated to Revolution Salvation Front (RSF)* in 2 separate monitoring reports:

Monitoring Report on Finance

Monitoring Report on Oil and Minerals

Protocols Of Corruption In Yemen, via The National (updates continue)

Filed under: Corruption — by Jane Novak at 6:58 am on Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Good analysis! The breath and depth of corruption in Yemen is hard to fathom. Usually reports are all about “influential people” or “important Sheikhs,” which doesn’t highlight to the international community that its their “partners” that are looting Yemen.

الاثنين، 14 أبريل، 2014

Protocols Of Corruption In Yemen National Yemen/ By Mohammed al-Absi

Hamid al-Ahmar and Shaher Abdel Haq have acquired an operator license for a mobile phone company costing 20 million dollars. In Sudan, the same license costs 150 million dollars, and in Lebanon it costs one billion dollars. In this way only, most of the country’s wealth, resources and fisheries are sold.

Many sheikhs of the second and third degree—not sheikhs of first category—receive monthly payments ranging from ten to twenty thousand dollars a month from Yemen’s oil companies. These payments are listed on balance sheets under the item “Security Consulting.” The funding for these payments comes out of Yemen’s share of oil profits, and thus from the state treasury, and Yemen’s revolution was not enough to put an end to these payments.

These corrupt payments are delivered solely to sheikhs. The sons of military leaders also take a cut through their positions at the head of security companies inside the oil market, known today as the “security trade.” Yahya Saleh, Mohsen Ali Mohsen, and Nagel Ghalib al-Kamsh are just a few examples!

In general, there is no state sector able to recoup these losses. This stands in particular contrast to other oil-generating states in the region.

In Morocco, 24% of GNP is accrued from taxes; in Djibouti 21%; in Lebanon 17%. In Yemen, taxes only constitute 6% of GNP.

Why?

Because of the relative marriage between power and commerce.

All of the involved parties are traders and officials, and all of them are relatives to each other. All of them work only for their personal interests.

Wasted resources and oil wealth can free Yemen from begging from donors. But what should be done under such corrupt rule? It is impossible to use our dwindling resources on the interests of the country given the controlling hands of the tribes, sheikhs and traders.

It is difficult to list Yemen’s sheikhs’ according to the privileges and industries claimed by each. If Sheikh Mashreqi supplies the tents for Yemen’s Armed Forces, what about Sheikhs al-Shayef, al-Kader, Mkassa, Iboulihom, and al-Awadi?

Al-Ahmar Group investments for Trading weren’t just a big enterprise on their own, but they were also processing and establishing private and public shelters for the army. These investments gave the al-Ahmar Group power through their agents, the TEMETOY Finnish company. Of course, this arrangement occurred under the direction of the former president.

The number of arms traders among sheikhs and military leaders cannot be imagined. Some of the most famous are the owner of the Peace Conference and al-Houthi Governor Fares Manna.

Even the media’s favorite officials have fault, like Secretary of the Capital Abd al-Qader Helal—who spent almost 320 million dollars repairing roads and building bridges that did not fix congestion but simply relocated it. Helal said that he was having trouble finding projects without declaring any tender. So what about the fifty bridges given to Helal’s company without any tender declared?

The worst kind of corruption in Yemen is the lack of administrative efficiency among officials when contracts are signed. This is like selling a kilo of gold at the price of a kilo of zinc.

As another example, Saudi Arabia doesn’t buy its natural gas as a raw material because some gas derivatives are very expense. It’s better to sell derivatives instead of selling the raw gas.

Every time I write, I promise to write optimistically, to avoid frustrating the people. But what can I do?

There is no electricity or fuel in Sana’a, and every day and night officials crow about false achievements. In fact, they are destroying our future as they spread the corruption of the past and present.

Related: Half of Yemen government employees don’t exist

Atlantic Council Minister of Industry and Trade says half of public sector workers are “ghosts”

In an interview with the newspaper al-Hayat, Yemen’s Sa’ad Ad-deen bin Taleb talked through the economic and energy crises plaguing the country. He spoke at length about the government’s decision not to lift fuel subsidies as a result of the outcry from citizens and the burden it would impose on them. Bin Taleb called on donors to invest in alternative energy in order to ease this burden. He revealed that more than half the number of public sector workers are “illusory,” with salaries going to people who do not exist or who do not engage in their work. Bin Taleb was speaking specifically about the military and security forces but remarked, “There are other sectors that have this problem; we call them ghosts.” [Al-Masdar (Arabic), 4/15/2014]

More: A 2014 Yemeni parliament report on the country’s oil sector stated that foreign oil firms operating in the oil-producing regions of Hadhramaut, Shabwah, and Marib paid a total of US$238 million each year to Yemeni army generals for ‘security services’. The report stated that the commander of an armored brigade in Hadhramaut was directly paid over US$2 million a month by a Canadian oil firm to protect its operations. These payments were made without oversight from the Yemen Defense Ministry.

New report documents corruption, mismanagement in Yemen’s Ministry of Minerals including TOTAL gas contracts

Filed under: Corruption, Employment, Enviornmental, LNG, Oil — by Jane Novak at 3:18 am on Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Update: Awesome, its at Yemenat here in proper formatting: Monitoring report on Yemen’s Ministry of Oil and Minerals, a very important report.

Original: Hopefully I’ll find where it is posted on the web but until then here’s the intro and then the report: (Read on …)

Hadramout tribes warn oil companies against corrupt practices, environmental disasters

Filed under: Corruption, Enviornmental, Hadramout, Oil — by Jane Novak at 2:42 am on Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Essentially they are demanding equal access to work as well as the remedying of environmental damage, but the Sanaa oil mafia is very powerful and the foreign companies (TOTAL and DNO) know it:

Warning for Oil Companies

Hadramout Tribes Confederacy (HTC) warns oil companies operating in Hadramout to give any future contracts or duties have been already given to contractors from the concession areas or from Hadramout or outside Hadramout; except for work to remove the remains of the pollution caused by the oil pipeline explosion which damages the local community and the environment.

If this procedure is meant to fulfill one of HTC’s demands, it is not acceptable to be implemented in this way without the knowledge of HTC and without the coordination with HTC. Oil companies have called some contractors from the concession areas, but did not call other contractors, to Sana’a who were given improper and non transparent work contracts. Maybe these contracts were given to concession areas’ contractors in an oblique manner with previous settlement with old influential contractors to continue their business but with Hadrami faces;and this is meant to cause conflict among contractors from Hadramout.

That is why HTC strongly refuses contracts, whether they are already given contracts or potential ones, to be given in this suspicious manner. At least it should be coordinated with HTC to implement one of its demands and to distribute it equally and transparently among local contractors; in order to stop improper agreements imposed on local contractors and protect their rights, and not being blackmailed by the Oil Mafia in Sana’a.

Based on this, HTC alerts these companies to retreat from these improper methods otherwise they have to bear the responsibility of what may result out of it.

Issued by:
Hadramout Tribes Confederacy (HTC)
15th of April, 2014.

http://www.alhelf.com/?p=1055

More from the HTC:

Hadramout Tribes Confederacy (HTC) official website issued PR No. 50 on 9th of April 2014 regarding urging Hadrami people to take responsibilities

HTC PR talks of the intended escalation of violence in Hadramout carried by Republic of Yemen (RoY) forces and other groups like what happen in Al Shehar city by shooting civilians and governmental services premises by RoY forces; and shooting in a crazy way at the street of Mukalla and hit the head of Mukalla central Jail by RoY forces.

The PR mentions many incidents which took place in the past few days, from the date of the PR, in Hadramout like killing of innocent people, kidnapping, shooting, threatening by official forces or gangs that are supported by frivolous influential groups.

HTC calls all members of the Hadrami community whether they are working in the government or others to stand united against such lawlessness campaign against Hadramout and its people. It also warns influential groups who wage such campaign and that HTC will not keep quiet about it.

You may need to refer to HTC website (link provided below) for more details in Arabic Language:

http://www.alhelf.com/?p=1043

Transparency.org on Challenging Secrecy in Yemen

Filed under: Civil Rights, Civil Society, Communications, Corruption, Media, smuggling — by Jane Novak at 10:10 am on Friday, September 27, 2013

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):

http://action.transparency.org/yemen/yemen-challenging-secrecy-video

http://action.transparency.org/yemen/naif-hassan

http://action.transparency.org/yemen/ahmed-saif-hashid

http://action.transparency.org/yemen/we-can-make-a-change

Yemen rented electric generators for more than their purchase price

Filed under: Corruption, Electric — by Jane Novak at 10:06 am on Sunday, September 30, 2012

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 …)

Justice Minister gets death threat after statement about seizing former regime’s funds

Filed under: Corruption, GPC, Judicial, Ministries, Post Saleh, assassination, political violence — by Jane Novak at 8:54 am on Sunday, September 16, 2012

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.

Yemen’s institutional revolution hits oil sector

Filed under: Corruption, Oil — by Jane Novak at 10:33 am on Thursday, March 8, 2012

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 …)

Yemen Air Force revolts against corrupt commander, Saleh’s half brother

Filed under: Corruption, Military, Post Saleh, Sana'a, protests — by Jane Novak at 10:38 am on Sunday, January 22, 2012

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 …)

Yemen’s elite capture of economy

Filed under: Corruption, Crime, Economic, Yemen, Yemen-Statistics — by Jane Novak at 11:09 am on Thursday, November 3, 2011

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 …)

Five years of negotiations between Yemen and Nexen stall

Filed under: Corruption, Oil, Yemen, govt budget — by Jane Novak at 10:26 am on Saturday, September 24, 2011

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 …)

LatiNode pleads guilty to bribery in Honduras

Filed under: Communications, Corruption, Crime, Yemen, govt budget — by Jane Novak at 12:23 am on Wednesday, December 29, 2010

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

14th October’s new printing press: a story of massive corruption and abuse of power

Filed under: Corruption, Media, Yemen, govt budget — by Jane Novak at 8:01 am on Tuesday, December 21, 2010

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 …)

Atomic Engergy Commission in Yemen under investigation

Filed under: Corruption, Electric, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 1:48 pm on Monday, December 20, 2010

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 …)

Grassroots National Dialog Committee Meets Houthis Representatives in Saada Yemen

Filed under: Civil Society, Corruption, JMP, Sa'ada, Saada War, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:52 pm on Thursday, December 16, 2010

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 …)

Yemen to cut half billion dollars in perks, payolla and subsidies to senior officials

Filed under: Corruption, Presidency, Reform, govt budget — by Jane Novak at 11:00 am on Friday, December 3, 2010

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 linked to Schlumberger bribery scandal

Filed under: Biographies, Business, Corruption, Oil, Yemen, Yemen-Economy, govt budget — by Jane Novak at 11:40 am on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

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 …)

Corruption in Sa’ada Water Contracts

Filed under: Corruption, Sa'ada, Saada War, Water — by Jane Novak at 11:01 am on Sunday, October 10, 2010

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

Filed under: Corruption, Proliferation, Saada War, Yemen, smuggling — by Jane Novak at 1:50 pm on Tuesday, August 10, 2010

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 …)

New US Ambassador to Yemen: Yemen’s Main Threat is Terrorism

Filed under: Corruption, Counter-terror, Diplomacy, Donors, UN, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:32 am on Wednesday, July 28, 2010

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.

Corruption kills, Vol. 128: $1.8 million in vaccines withdrawn as fraudulent

Filed under: Corruption, Medical, Ministries, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 6:35 am on Saturday, June 26, 2010

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.

“Barrel cost” of oil rises from $3.00 in 2001 to $17.00 in 2010

Filed under: Corruption, Oil, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 1:43 am on Friday, June 25, 2010

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 …)

Yemen Natural Gas Sold at One Third of Market Price: $193/ton vs. $689/ton

Filed under: Corruption, Donors, UN, Investment, LNG, Oil, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:05 pm on Saturday, June 19, 2010

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.

Businessweek

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 …)

YR 13 Billion on Foreign Scholarships

Filed under: Corruption, Education, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:41 pm on Saturday, June 19, 2010

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 …)

Yemen’s $1 Billion Tourist Upgrade

Filed under: Business, Corruption, Yemen, govt budget — by Jane Novak at 9:57 am on Monday, May 10, 2010

Lets see who gets the contracts and if anything ever gets built.

TML: Yemen plans to build six beach resorts over the next five years to change the image of the war-torn country and draw tourists. (Read on …)

Demonstration in a Sanaa Stadium

Filed under: Civil Society, Civil Unrest, Corruption, Sana'a, South Yemen, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:36 am on Saturday, April 17, 2010

thats new

Yemenis protest against surging prices, south ‘violations’
All Africa.com

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 Needs 44 Billion

Filed under: Corruption, Yemen, Yemen-Economy, govt budget — by Jane Novak at 11:18 am on Wednesday, March 31, 2010

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 …)

Yemeni Ministries Owe YR Billions in Electric Bills

Filed under: Corruption, Electric, Yemen, govt budget — by Jane Novak at 10:14 pm on Monday, January 18, 2010

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 …)

Journalists Against Corruption Document YR 1.5 Trillion in Corruption

Filed under: Civil Rights, Civil Society, Corruption, Media, Ministries, Yemen, govt budget — by Jane Novak at 11:31 am on Monday, January 11, 2010

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 …)

“Academics Against Corruption” Fired for, Well, Being Against Corruption

Filed under: Civil Society, Civil Unrest, Corruption, Education, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 1:39 pm on Wednesday, January 6, 2010

This is it in a nut shell, a snapshot of the entrenched difficulties of building a better dictatorship in Yemen, which seems to be the plan.

Yemen Times This protest came after the administration of Sana’a University suspended a group of professors after they formed an organization called “Academics Against Corruption”.
This organization was intended to reveal financial and administrative corruption at the university caused by the rectorship of the university.
The violations against professors by the rectorship included suspension from teaching, elimination, threatening, and interrogation by the university.
Protestors from teachers’ syndicate, doctors’ syndicate, members of the parliament, human rights activists, and college students raised billboards that said, “Stop violations against professors”.
“ The academics now have joined us in the freedom square against corruption and injustice,” said Sultan Al-Atwani, a member of the parliament.“ The government had considered the academics as supporters of its mistreatment, but the professors have proved this to be an incorrect assumption,” he added. (Read on …)

Dubai World, Aden Port Operator, Unable to Pay Debts

Filed under: Aden, Corruption, Other Countries, Yemen, non-oil resources — by Jane Novak at 6:37 pm on Friday, November 27, 2009

BBC: Assets (of Dubai World) include DP World, which caused a storm when trying to take over six US ports (and operates Aden Port.)

DPI corporate page here. Kuwait had a better bid than Dubai for Aden Port, but Dubai World got the contract, which was heavily weighed in their favor initially and even after the contract’s revision. But with DWI currently unable to pay its debts, development at Aden Port may stall. There is an the ongoing strike at Aden port for more than a year, prompted by DWI’s unfair labor practices. I have a copy of DWI’s employment contract and it allows for arbitrary dismissals among other discriminatory actions. DWI has called for the dismissal of union leaders. DWI took control of container operations in November 2008.

Yahoo: DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – A top Dubai finance official said the emirate fully expected fallout from its debt problems and assured foreign creditors that Dubai World’s request to postpone payment on some of its $60 billion in debt was “carefully planned.” (Read on …)

Over 80% of Fisheries Production Never Recorded

Filed under: Corruption, Fisheries — by Jane Novak at 1:36 pm on Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thank you. The fisheries have been irking me for years. The numbers do not and never did add up. The diesel smuggling is much clearer, but the level of smuggling and under-reporting on the fisheries is astounding. The black market economy in Yemen is the main wheel of industry. If the massive corruption is what underpins political instability, then dismantling criminal networks is a primary requirement and a job beyond the capacity of SNACC as the political and military elite are the beneficiaries of the current system.

Is this a new Fisheries Minister? He’s taking quite a stand. There were also statements a few weeks ago accurately indicating the level of corruption in the Ministry as well as the industry. Random fisheries factoid, Abdelmajid al Zindani was on the corporate board of the Yemeni Fisheries Company, but it never made any money (very high expenses) and investors lost on the stocks.

Yemen Times SANA’A, Nov. 14- More than 40,000 tons of shrimp and squid were exported illegally from Yemeni coasts during 2008 and 2009, said the Minister of Fishery Wealth, Mohammad Shamlan. (Read on …)

First LNG shipment exported

Filed under: Corruption, Investment, LNG, Marib, govt budget — by Jane Novak at 9:48 am on Monday, November 9, 2009

The gas, like the oil, is in the south. With the EITI agreement about to fall flat on its face from a lack of transparency about oil sales, prices and volume, one would expect the proceeds from the LNG sales to be stolen at a similar rate. Click here for my 2006 write up of some of the issues associated with the LNG project.

Yemen Times On Oct. 15, Yemen Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) announced the Company started producing from its liquefaction terminal in Balhaf, on the Gulf of Aden.

The Yemen LNG project is the largest and most important investment ever made in Yemen with an investment of around USD 4.5 billion. It consists of supplying gas from Block 18, located in the Marib region in central Yemen, through a 320 kilometre pipeline to the LNG plant located at the port of Balhaf on the Arab Sea, south east of Yemen.

The plant started production with the first train while the construction of the second train is being completed. The total production capacity will reach 6.7 million tons of LNG per year.
Launched in August 2005, the project shareholders are TOTAL (project leader) (39.62 percent), Yemen Gas Company (16.73 percent), Hunt Oil Company (17.22 percent), SK Energy Co., Ltd. (9.55 percent), KOGAS (6 percent), the General Authority for Social Security and Pensions of Yemen (5 percent) and Hyundai Corporation (5.88 percent).

60% of Yemen’s Government Budget Lost to Corruption

Filed under: Civil Unrest, Corruption — by Jane Novak at 4:35 pm on Sunday, September 6, 2009

That figure sounds right to me and in line with other studies by sector. Corruption is the underlying cause of instability, and one thing needed to establish a culture of confidence in government is an open and independent audit of the government’s books. Military spending, which consumes a third of public funds, is in the budget as a line item. Beyond corruption is the issue of criminal enterprises facilitated by senior officials who often deploy the tools of the state in generating illegal profits.

Yemen Post Corruption in Yemen is driving the country to a real disaster as about 60 percent of the General Budget is misused, local and international anti-corruption experts have said.

Amid ineffective efforts to tackle this cancer undermining the poorest Arab state, a disaster has become inevitable, a Yemeni economist affirms.

Participating in writing an evaluation about corruption in Yemen in 2006 for the USAID, Abdul Ghani Al-Eryani said diesel trafficking costs the government as much as twice as the country’s budgets for the health and education sectors, more than one billion dollars.

The public funds are misused by corrupt senior officials, fueling, beside economic turmoil, tribal rebellions and the rage of separatists as well as helping Al-Qaeda extremists to tighten their grip in Yemen.

A westerner diplomat, who asked not to be named, suggested that Yemen’s worsening situation is a direct result of corruption, with the Yemeni people thinking about inequality.

For his part, a WB expert said corruption is very serious in Yemen, saying, for example, week salaries are a key reason for bribes by junior officials, while senior officials receive much more than these state employees.

Arun Arya says all trials over corruption scandals seem like well-studied plays, even suspected corrupt officials escaped charges against them through bribes and corruption.

Yemen signed with the UN in 2005 an agreement committing it to fight corruption through establishing an independent anti-corruption authority. And despite the authority was established in 2007, all efforts exerted to tackle corruption remain ineffective and no progress seen on the matter.

Corruption the Central Issue in Yemen

Filed under: Corruption, Ministries, Parliament, Political Parties, Presidency, Reform — by Jane Novak at 1:09 am on Thursday, September 3, 2009

A spot on report: Corruption, the government cannot survive without it. The Houthi rebellion, Southern uprising and al Qaeda’s increasing infiltration are all rooted in corruption. The Yemeni regime is structurally reliant on corruption. Its a mafia more than a government.

SANAA, Sept 2 (Reuters) – A Yemeni tank unit fighting rebels is said to have run out of ammunition after its commander stole his men’s wages, telling them to make money selling spent shell casings instead — so they blasted away at anything that moved.

True or not, Yemenis readily believe the tale.

Corruption is rampant in Yemen, whether defined as the abuse of public office for private gain, or in the form of patronage, the diversion of state resources to seek political quiescence.

Its tentacles stretch from top to bottom of the government, with powerful tribes and the military-security establishment among the main beneficiaries, according to a 94-page assessment by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

Efforts to fight the scourge, notably the creation of a Supreme National Authority for Combating Corruption (SNACC) in 2007, have made little headway, Yemeni and foreign experts say. (Read on …)

More on the Chinese Massage Parlors in Sana’a

Filed under: China, Crime, Parliament, Religious, Women's Issues, Yemen, Yemen-Corruption, smuggling — by Jane Novak at 11:17 pm on Sunday, July 26, 2009

The relationship between Yemen and China is quite strong and well established. Yemen balances its external relations in a similiar manner to its internal affairs. Yemen’s alliance with the US is offset by its relation with China, Russia, Iran, even Cuba. Yemen supports the Chinese position on Taiwan, and China never pressures Yemen on Human Rights issues, of course. First up, we have Yemen quite understanding of the Chinese crackdown on the Uighur’s and insisting its some conspiracy, which is the standard line for the Yemeni government regarding civil unrest in Yemen.

CNN: The July 5 riot in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region is an internal affair of China, the Yemeni ambassador to China said on Wednesday. Yemen supports China’s efforts to defend its national sovereignty, to safeguard its social stability, and the people’s security and property, Abdulmalek Mualemi said in a written interview with Xinhua.

The riot in Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang region, left 197 people dead and more than 1,680 injured….

“Considering the grave loss of lives and property caused by the violence, we believe the incident did not happen spontaneously as some people have claimed, instead, it was premeditated and organized,” he said.

AQAP may target Chinese interests in Yemen- report.

Bloomberg: Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb said it will target the 50,000 Chinese workers in Algeria and Chinese nationals and projects across northwestern Africa, said Stirling Assynt, which has offices in London and Hong Kong….“Some of these individuals have been actively seeking information on China’s interests in the Muslim world which they could use for targeting purposes,” Stirling Assynt said, adding locations included North Africa, Sudan, Pakistan and Yemen. Other militant groups may make similar threats and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula “could well target Chinese projects in Yemen,” according to the report.

More from Yemen Observer and al Sahwa.

Next: Chinese investment in Yemen, the overt kind. China needs to secure energy supplies and is one of Yemen’s main trading partners.

July 14 (Saba) – Yemen and the Chinese Commercial Vessel Building Company reviewed on Tuesday benefits and investment opportunities provided to investors in Aden Free Zone (AFZ).

Vice-chairman of the General Authority for Free Zones, and Head of the AFZ Abdul-Jalil al-Shuaibi re-invited, during his meeting with deputy general director of the company, Chinese investors to invest in Yemen, especially in establishing a factory for Chinese cars in the country.

Finally the Chinese massage parlors in Sana’a targeted by the Virtue and Vice Commission. The Chinese girls trafficked to Yemen as sex slaves were left crying on the street.

Al Arabyia: Yemeni religious police were out in force Tuesday in a major crackdown that saw many massage parlors and Chinese restaurants in the capital Sanaa shut down for allegedly promoting prostitution and vice.

The Yemeni religious police, modeled after Saudi Arabia’s Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, targeted popular tourist areas in Sanaa.

Authorities dragged Chinese women working in several spas and restaurants to the streets and sealed the businesses after posting a sign reading “closed by the authorities,” an eyewitness told Al Arabiya.

The number of Chinese restaurants and spas in the capital has increased significantly in the capital despite the fact that none of them have a legal work permits or Ministry of Health authorization, said an official who supervised the clampdown but spoke on condition of anonymity. (Read on …)

Yemeni to Sue Journalists to Reported News of Plane Crash

Filed under: A-INFRASTRUCTURE, Business, Corruption, Transportation, Yemen, disasters, govt budget — by Jane Novak at 8:36 pm on Thursday, July 2, 2009

Must adhere to the party line or else… The French maintain the plane was banned; Yemeni authorities insist it never happened. The military aircraft have similar problems with upkeep on their fleet. The maintenance budget(s) are subject to embezzlement, there’s no oversight and the press is barred from reporting on the military. A journalist who did was kidnapped a few years ago.

al Motamar
Aviation Committee is to sue media instruments that offended Yemeni Airways reputation
Thursday, 02-July-2009
Almotamar.net – The Yemeni Higher Committee for follow-up Aviation Incidents has on Thursday on all different media instruments to the necessity of observing the facts about the crashed Yemeni Airbus plane A 310 that crashed offshore Comoros last Tuesday.

The Yemeni Transport Minister called, in a press conference he held at Sana’a International Airport a short while ago, on the media hat published wrong information to correct them , affirming their keeping the right to sue those media instruments that endeavour to target and offend the reputation of the Yemenia Airways Company via publishing wrong information.

The Minister also pointed out that the Committee has established an information centre at Sana’a International Airport for providing in formation and developments on the crashed plane and operations of rescue that would be reported by an official spokesman in the name of the Committee via continuous news conferences.

The Yemeni Transport Minister also confirmed that the crew of the Yemeni plane was of high skill and efficiency and that the Company would remain adhering to safety criteria.

Half Yemen’s Subsidized Oil Smuggled Abroad: USD 2 Billion

Filed under: Corruption, Oil, govt budget, smuggling — by Jane Novak at 2:56 pm on Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Yemen Post

Yemeni economists considered raising the prices of oil derivatives a political suicide, emphasizing that there are no realistic justifications for such a critical decision by the government.
Dr. Mohammad Jubran, Professor of Economics at Sana’a University, said that the 2009 general budget included an increase in some materials’ prices among which were petroleum products.
Jubran pointed out that, raising prices of oil derivatives in such circumstances might lead the citizens’ living conditions even worse.
He stressed that, any justifications for increasing oil prices would seem to be pointless as oil prices are within safe limits, for the time being.

Moreover, Jubran warned that taking such a step would create many problems and unrest for the country. Confirming that not more than 50%of oil derivatives are consumed locally while the rest 50% is smuggled abroad, Jubran said that Yemeni government is not obliged to support foreigners while Yemenis are deprived of their country’s wealth.

Subsidies exceed USD 4 billion, Yemen Post:

Head of Foreign Affairs Circle at the ruling General People Congress (GPC) Mohammed Al-Qubati revealed the government has no plans to increase the prices of oil derivatives on what it known among locals to be a new Jur’ah (dose).

In an interview aired by Al-Saeeda Satellite Channel, Al-Qubati stated that Yemen spends about $4 billion in supporting oil derivatives, stressing this huge sum does overburden the country’s state budget.

The governmental subsidy on oil is a huge structural problem; the subsidies are supposed to be reduced a little at a time and in conjunction with increased social support so the poor is not unduly burdened. Equally important steps include a reduction in military spending and firm anti-corruption measures. Two billion a year of public funds is diverted into the blackmarket with the subsidies, and thats just one vein of corruption in a vast web.

President Saleh’s New Joke: He Will Solve Land Issues in Aden

Filed under: Civil Unrest, Corruption, land disputes, theft: land other — by Jane Novak at 10:10 pm on Thursday, June 18, 2009

In honor of President Saleh’s announcement that he will resolve land issues in Aden, I would like to re-publish my 1/1/08 post that reproduces an official list of Yemeni government officials guilty of land theft, according to the Yemeni government.

I invite President Ali Abdullah Saleh, as his first step of national reform, to throw all these people in jail along with his son Ahmed, another big crook:

Posted here Jan. 01, 2008:

A Yemeni Parliamentary committee issued a report in 2006 naming 26 persons who illegally profited from land confiscated in Aden following Yemen’s 1994 civil war. The list includes Members of Parliament and the Shoura Council, military and security force commanders, current and former judges and ministers. The Parliamentary committee recommended that the land owners receive compensation for their losses, however none has been paid.

list26arabiccropped.jpg

The following is a translation of the document that includes a description of the individual’s position in brackets for the readers’ benefit:

LIST OF THE NAMES AND AREAS OF INDIVIDUALS WHO RECIEVED CONTRACTS FROM THE GOVERNORATE LEADERSHIP AND PREVIOUS MANAGER OF INTERIOR TRADING CORPORATION (HUSSEIN NASER OMAYER), ACCORDING TO THE (PARLIAMENTARY) FIELD SURVEY.

NAME (CURRENT POSITION) AREA DISPOSITION

1 NASER MANSOOR HADI
(The brother of Yemeni Vice President, Abdo Rabo Mansour Hadi, and Agent of Political Security Forces of Aden,Lahj and Abyan governorates)
received 4.6 ACRES,
sold to ALI SOLAIMAN DAHSH 2 ACRES, and ALAWADHI 3 ACRES

2 HUSIEN NASER OMAYER
(Previous general manager of Interior Trading Company in south)
received 20 ACRES
SOLD TO Gamal Qasem 7 acres, Salem Balfaqeh 2 acres, Abdul baset 1 acre

3 MUHAMMED SALEH AL-MOHAMMADI
received 3.0 ACRES
SOLD TO SADEQ ABDO MOHAMMED 3.0 ACRES

4 MOHAMMED SALEH TUREIQ
(General Manager of Sa’ada Security Forces, former GM of Aden Security.)
received 5.3 ACRES (Read on …)

Deadbeat Parliament

Filed under: Business, Corruption, Parliament — by Jane Novak at 7:13 am on Saturday, June 13, 2009

Its just an absolute zoo in every area. The primary problem in Yemen is the state does not obey its own laws.

Yemen Observer: The Commercial Court in the capital, headed by Judge Nabil Abdul Habib threatened to force the Parliament, represented by its Spokesman Yahya al-Ra’ai, to comply with the court sentence that orders the parliament to pay the amount of YR 340 million in rent and compensation to Mohammed Hassan al-Matari. The court, in a letter to the parliament, called for speedy implementation of the sentenced fine, and payment of rent without failure within the legal time limit of 45 days. (Read on …)

Massive Fraud at State-Owned Cement Factory In Yemen

Filed under: Corruption, Ministries, Transportation — by Jane Novak at 10:15 am on Sunday, May 31, 2009

Its very, very good, and they all deserve commendation, but will anyone go to jail?

Inquiry into Cement Plants Frauds
SANA’A, May 31 (Saba) – A widening investigation into an enormous graft involving hundreds of billions of Riyals at the state-owned cement plant is underway, head of the Supreme National Anti-Corruption Commission has said. (Read on …)

Yemeni Military Beyond Central Control

Filed under: Corruption, Military, Qat, Saada War, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:45 pm on Thursday, May 28, 2009

I really have to stop reading and blogging and get back to work, but I want to highlight one aspect of the very accurate CGO Sa’ada report which lays out (with supporting documentation) many basic truths that have been obscured for years- including the following on page 25, which correctly notes the four ceasefires failed in part because the regime failed to implement its own part of the deal- because the military failed to follow orders.

The military, ministries, security forces etc. function as fiefdoms and are beyond control of the central government, which is also why the reforms never get implemented and development projects fail time after time. Because of corruption and the complete lack of accountability, different parts of the government go in different directions and compete with each other and, in sum, produce an overall irrational outcome. Saleh could never make peace, he didn’t have the capacity (assuming he was sincere) because the military had an agenda of its own.

Arguably the most serious impediment was that both
mediation efforts and steps announced by the government
to calm the situation were either undermined by
accompanying repressive measures or, more simply,
not implemented at all.149 This partly resulted from
competing approaches between the political leadership
and army command. According to a Zaydi scholar who
participated in unofficial mediation efforts, “when the
president called for mediation, the army did not always
cooperate
. Mediation efforts would have succeeded
had there been a consensus between the politicians and
the army. Instead, they were sabotaged by disagreement”.
150 This claim was supported by different participants
and independent observers. Another mediator
offered an example of government branches working
at cross-purposes:

So now extrapolate that lack of central control of the military and the security forces to the issues of terrorism and organized crime, and what do you get – a mafia with an airforce and military commanders training terrorists in military camps. This too one day will be documented.

Update: Yemen Post: Man wounded as police destroy his home with bulldozers.

Update 2: ISPN:

“Qat is a major source of tax revenue and the centre of all corruption in Yemen. Over 50 percent of tax revenue is derived from qat, but this is only about a third of the real revenue it generates. Everyone from farmers to the highest officials is involved in the qat trade and taking money under the table.”

While the government makes broad statements about its intention to reduce the consumption and cultivation of the narcotic plant, any genuine effort is thwarted from within, he adds. “Much of the crop is actually grown on government land, so officials involved will block any attempt to reduce its market.”

Its the same configuration over and over in every area including the political realm, corporate, security, basic services, development and terrorism. There is no single government, only multiple actors deploying state power and resources for a variety of ends.

(As a side note, Im so happy the report documents that, NO, the Houthi prisoners were never released- since 2005- despite at least 25 government announcments to the contrary. The regime arrested its own fact finding committee, and so on. Its a good report. You can’t imagine the incredible flack I got in 2005 for writing that 68,000 Sa’ada residents were displaced by the war; by 2008 the number was 130,000. Hopefully there will be some changes now as the truth is better documented by both CGO and Human Rights Watch. My photo essay of destruction in Sa’ada is at Bill’s. You can see, there really needs to be some changes.)

The National Consultation Meeting

Filed under: Corruption, Military, Security Forces, South Yemen, political violence — by Jane Novak at 6:24 pm on Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Bin Shamlan quote is telling. Yemen Times:

SANA’A May 24 — A number of recommendations considered a basis for national dialogue on the country’s urgent issues were outlined during the National Consultation Meeting, which concluded its activities on Thursday. (Read on …)

Unitel Sues HitsUnitel (2007)

Filed under: Communications, Corruption — by Jane Novak at 11:04 am on Saturday, May 16, 2009

This is really old, but I need it. al Motamar July 2007

NewsYemen – While the HitsUNiTEL company is preparing to launch the GSM service as the third operator in Yemen, under the sponsorship of Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technology, the Yemeni UNiTEL company says such behavior is a belittlement of laws and judicial orders. (Read on …)

Iranian Spies= Political Retribution for Commerical Ventures

Filed under: Corruption, Iraq, Trials, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 11:00 am on Saturday, May 16, 2009

The three convicted of spying for Israel Iran! have a whole other back story that has nothing to do with spying but rather a variety of commercial ventures that were in competition with regime associated individuals. Its complicated, but as usual, nothing is as it seems and the judiciary is a political tool.

Marebnews.com

Bassam al-Haydari, who was convicted of collaborating in the interests of Israel a few months before, told from within prison in Sanaa, the details for the first time disclosed a means for information, noting that Ihab Tawfiq was the reason behind the president and his involvement in the issues of terrorism and intelligence with Israel, and defended himself by saying: “God is enough, yes agent “, in reference to what was raised about the mere allegations are false. (Read on …)

Yemen’s Ruling Family and its Accumulation of Wealth and Land

Filed under: Business, Corruption, GCC, LNG, Military, Presidency, Security Forces, govt budget, theft: land other — by Jane Novak at 5:25 pm on Thursday, May 14, 2009

Thats good stuff indeed, and yes the ruling family has billions in the UAE. More on Yahya Saleh and MAZ below the fold, but there’s so many criss- cross relations between the Yemeni adminstration and corporate misconduct that its mind boggling.

Yemen Post

With the passage of time, the democratic project has turned to be a family one and “Al-Saleh” name has started to label all government, charity and officials activities, with wide media coverage financed by state funds as well as money obtained from businessmen. This clearly indicates that the state is following the Gulf family model.

Even the ruling party, the General People Congress (GPC), has turned to be a tool in the hand of the ruling family leaderships who control its policies, decisions and financial affairs.

Political Control through Economy
General Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh has started to show up in mass media as paying visits to some Gulf countries to meet with these states’ kings, Sheikhs and crown-princes. The last visit was made to Bahrain on April 25 and Ahmed had meetings with the crown prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa.

The recent issue of Al-Maz Company, which works as a subcontractor for Total Yemen, Total drivers revealed the way in which the sons of the ruling family obtain agency contracts from the largest oil companies. The company receives $1200 for each driver; but it just pays each one of them $225. Thus the company’s profits from the salaries of 100 drivers reach $97,000 a month.

Commissions of Protection and Partnership
Informed sources revealed that two sons from the ruling family received $40 million in commission for buying modern weapons from Dubai during the recent Russian Weapons Exhibition.

A military and economic affairs observer noted that a military leader from the ruling family got over $20 million in commissions for military deals over the years 1996 – 2005.

A Yemeni expatriate in United Arab Emirates quoted a senior Emirate official as saying that Yemeni officials from the ruling family invested over $15 billion in his country.

Land Plots and Farms
Feeling their importance, the ruling family sight has been directed towards lands and farms being one of the easiest ways, towards speedy enrichment. It is known that an influential from the ruling family owns over 150,000 Lebnah (Lebnah = 56 square meters).

Sheikh Tareq Al-Fadhli distributed plots of lands to senior officials; the areas of some plots come close to the area of a small country. They also have larger farms in Abs, Hajjah, Al-Hodeidah and Hadramout.

Army: External Gate
An observer reviewing the map of army and security will easily find that the leaders of these institutions belong to the ruling family or the areas neighboring the family’s homeland. They are assuming the leading posts in the Republican Guard, Special Guards Forces, Central Security, Air Forces, Military Areas and Brigades.

Informed sources also speak about thousands of soldiers enlisted in the payrolls but they never exist and their salaries, in millions, go to the leaders of military units in which such names are enlisted.

(Read on …)

Thieves Judging Criminals

Filed under: Corruption, guest posts — by Jane Novak at 8:23 pm on Monday, April 27, 2009

وثائق اتهام نجل الرئيس
الحلقة الثانية: ( فضيحة التبرئة)

منير الماوري
almaweri@hotmail.com
ارتكبت وكالة الأنباء اليمنية سبأ التي يرأسها صحفي قدير هو نقيب الصحفيين السابق نصر طه مصطفى، خطأ مهنيا فاحشا، أستطيع أن أجزم أن رئيس الوكالة لا ناقة له في الخطأ الفضيحة ولا جمل، لأن الخبر الفضيحة صادر من دوائر التظليل والخداع باسم الوكالة دون أدنى حياء أو خجل من افتضاح الكذب الذي أصبح سياسة رسمية. ففي محاولتها لتبرئة نجل الرئيس من فضيحة الرشوة التي تطرقت إليها وثائق محكمة أميركية في فلوريدا، واعترفت بتقديمها لمسؤولين يمنيين شركة لاتين نود الأميركية، كذبت تلك الدوائر على الجمهور اليمني بأن وزارة العدل الأميركية أصدرت بيانا جديدا ” يؤكد نزاهة تصريحات حكومة بلادنا في نفيها أن يكون لأي من أولاد فخامة رئيس الجمهورية أي علاقة بالشركة الأمريكية المذكورة، وأن الإشارة إلى اسم نجل الرئيس ليس سوى خطأ غير مقصود تم تصحيحه من الجانب الأمريكي.”
والواقع أن وزارة العدل الأميركية لم تنزه أحد، ولم تصدر بيانا جديدا بل أعادت تحديث بيانها الأول نفسه مؤكدة في نفس البيان أن “الوزارة لا تنوي محاكمة أحد من المسؤولين الأجانب”، وأعادت التأكيد بأن الشركة الأميركية دفعت الغرامة واعترفت بذنبها وانتهت القصة. ويمكن قراءة البيان مع الإضافات المدخلة عليه في الرابط التالي:

http://www.entrepreneur.com/PRNewswire/release/145177.html

وفي واقع الأمر فإن الصحف اليمنية وعلى رأسها صحيفة المصدر عندما نشرت خبر الفضيحة الأولى لم تعتمد على بيان وزارة العدل الأميركية بل اعتمدت على وثائق المحكمة مباشرة، والتزمت الصحف الأمانة في نقل الحقائق، بالقول إن الوثائق لا توجه اتهاما صريحا لنجل الرئيس، وإنما توجه الاتهام للشركة التي اعترفت بدفع رشوة لأشخاص ووسطاء يزعمون أن لهم صلة بنجل الرئيس، وتقول الوثائق إن كلام الوسطاء قد يكون صحيحا لأنهم استطاعوا بالفعل أن يحصلوا على تسهيلات للشركة داخل اليمن بأسعار تفضيلية.
نؤكد مرة أخرى أن الوثائق لم تتغير وأن القضية صحيحة، وليس هناك في اليمن من يحتاج إلى أدلة من وزارة العدل الأميركية على وجود فساد في اليمن، لأن روائح الفساد قد وصلت كل مكان في مؤسسات البد، ومن يريد التأكد فما عليه إلا المرور من قرب منازل المسؤولين في حدة وفج عطان وسيجد فيها، أكبر دليل على فساد هؤلاء المسؤولين وسرقاتهم. كما أن الرئيس نفسه اعترف في خطاب رسمي بأنه لن يستمر مظلة للفاسدين، وهذا اعتراف مسجل بالصوت والصورة على وجود الفساد، والرئيس أكثر من يعرف بوجود الفساد لأنه يقرأ تقارير الجهاز المركزي للرقابة والمحاسبة، وهو الجهاز الذي لم يحاسب أحدا ولم يقدم كبشا ولا وزيرا للمحاكمة وإنما تحولت تقاريره إلى وسيلة للابتزاز السياسي وإسكات المشاغبين.
أما ما يتعلق بنجل الرئيس فإن وزارة العدل الأميركية لن تحاكمه، ولا نريدها أن تحاكمه، بل نريد الشعب اليمني والرأي العام اليمني أن يحاكم الرئيس ونجل الرئيس وسكرتير الرئيس، ومزوري توقيع الرئيس، ومدير مكتب الرئيس، وكل من له علاقة بالرئيس، ما دام أن الرئيس لا يريد أن يحاكم الفاسدين، مستعيضا عن ذلك بمحاكمة الصحفيين والناشطين الحقوقيين، ومحاربي الفساد.
النصيحة التي قدمتها لنجل الرئيس في مقالي السابق مازالت قائمة، ولها ما يبررها لأن نجل الرئيس يرأس لجنة غير دستورية تشرف على كل استثمارات البلد، ومن أبرز أعضاء هذه اللجنة الأخوة التالية أسماؤهم:
أحمد علي عبدالله صالح
طارق محمد عبدالله صالح
يحي محمد عبدالله صالح
يحي عبدالله صالح دويد
خالد الأكوع
فارس السنباني
صلاح العطار
حافظ معياد
جلال يعقوب
با لإضافة إلى وزير الاتصالات الجبري
ومن الملاحظ أن الخمسة الأوائل هم من أقارب رئيس الجمهورية، ولا نعرف لأي جهة دستورية تتبع هذه اللجنة، وهل يعرفها مجلس النواب أم لا، ولكن يبدو أننا دخلنا مرحلة الاستثمار الأسري. والأدهى من ذلك أن بعض أعضاء اللجنة ورئيسها، يتولون مناصب عسكرية رفيعة لا تتناسب مع الإشراف على استثمارات البلد المدنية. وكان الرئيس قد كشف في إحدى مقابلاته التلفزيونية أنه عين أقاربه في مناصب عسكرية رفيعة، لكي يمنع حدوث انقلاب عسكري قد يخطط له ضباط من خارج الأسرة. ولكن السؤال المطروح الآن ما هي مبررا ت الرئيس في تعيين أقاربه في أعلى لجنة لحماية الاستثمار داخل البلاد؟! هل يريد أن يحمي البنك المركزي من القوات الجوية أو من الفرقة الأولى مدرع؟! أم أنه يعتبر اليمن كل اليمن ملكا له يفعل بها ما يشاء؟!
لاحظوا معي هنا أن قائد الحرس الجمهوري هو رئيس اللجنة، وأن وزير الاتصالات هو عضو في اللجنة. وبما أن الشركة الأميركية صاحبة الفضيحة ارتبطت بالاتصالات، فإن من حق كل يمني أن يطالب بتحقيق محايد، ومحاكمة للمتورطين إذا أراد نجل الرئيس أن يبرئ نفسه؟ بدلا من الإفتراء على وزارة العدل الأميركية. وأتحدى وكالة سبأ للأنباء أن تنشر الترجمة الكاملة للبيان الجديد الذي تقول إن وزارة العدل الأميركية أصدرته، فليس هناك أي بيان سوى البيان الأول مع الإضافات المطمئنة التي أدخلت عليه.
ونحن بصراحة نريد تحقيقا محايدا، لأننا بصراحة فقدنا الثقة ليس في نجل الرئيس فقط بل في الرئيس نفسه وفي النظام برمته. وما لم تكن هناك شفافية في سير التحقيق فإن التهمة ستظل قائمة إلى أن يموت الشعب أو يموت النظام. و الأمر الذي نوه له الرئيس في خطابه هو تذكير أن ثورة سبتمبر قامت ضد الحكم الأسري والقروي. وأظن أن 90% من القراء يتفقون معي أن تعيين أفراد الأسرة واصحاب القرية في مناصب رفيعة تحتكر التعامل مع المستثمرين سوف يعيدنا إلى القروية والأسرية، ويعيدنا إلى “المربع الأول”. ورحم الله الشهيد علي عبدالمغني الذي ضحى بحياته وهو في عز الشباب من أجل التخلص من الحكم العائلي والتخلص من الاقتصاد العائلي الذي أفقر الشعب اليمني، وعاد إلينا الفقر والظلم في ثوب جديد.

Donors Dissatisfied with Reform Implementation

Filed under: Corruption, Donors, UN, GCC, Ministries, Yemen, govt budget, poverty/ hunger — by Jane Novak at 11:11 am on Sunday, April 26, 2009

Yemen is unable to absorb donor aid in a constructive and transparent manner. A large percentage of aid, grants and loans- beyond the 5.5 bil- have also not been utilized or were diverted. Yemen Post

SANA’A // More than two years after a donors conference in London pledged US$5.5 billion (Dh20bn) to help Yemen, just over $375 million has been disbursed. The challenge now, according to a top World Bank official, is obviously translating those pledges into action.

“We made significant pledges of financial and other assistance in London, but the challenge is now one of implementation, of ensuring that these pledges translate into actual action on the ground, and that the activities we finance are true priorities for the country,” said Daniela Gressani, the World Bank’s regional vice president for Middle East and North Africa. Almost half of the pledges – $2.5bn – came from Gulf states.

Nabil Shaiban, Yemen’s general director of international co-operation at the ministry of planning and international co-operation, said the delay in using the funds was because of the time needed to meet donors’ requirements for allocating the money. (Read on …)

Iran Pays 60 Million to Yemen’s Energy Ministry

Filed under: A-INFRASTRUCTURE, Corruption, Electric, Iran, Ministries, Yemen, govt budget — by Jane Novak at 10:54 am on Sunday, April 26, 2009

A funky little story about the Marib gas power station project, but not so odd following the scandal surrounding nuclear project and the later Latin Node. No mention of exactly where the 60 mill is at the moment.

Sahwa Net – An Iranian company ( the Persian ) have reimbursed the Yemeni Electricity and Energy Ministry $ 60 million for violating the agreement terms signed with Yemen’s ministry , according to well-informed sources. The sources said that the Iranian firm bought transformers with bad quality, violating the agreement of Marib Gas Power Station Project.

More at the Yemen Post: apparently it was well known that the Iranian firm substituted an Indian generator instead of the agreed upon Sieman’s. (Read on …)

2700 Yemeni Government Officials Fail to Submit Disclosure Form

Filed under: Corruption, Economic, Judicial, Local gov, Ministries, Parliament, Reform, Yemen, poverty/ hunger, theft: land other — by Jane Novak at 10:26 am on Sunday, April 26, 2009

The SNACC is going to bring it to the President’s attention. There is no information if there are irregularities in the forms submitted. Also Parliament is asking for prosecution of officials who stole YR72 billion in 2007 through corruption

Yemen Observer: The Supreme National Authority for Combating Corruption (SNACC) is taking legal procedures to refer 3 ministers, 8 governors, and 40 ambassadors to the judiciary, pursuant to article 24 of the second chapter of Anti-Corruption Law, according to SNACC member Ahmed Qurhesh. (Read on …)

Hadramout Flood May Drive Farmers Out

Filed under: Agriculture, Corruption, Demographics, Economic, Local gov, Yemen, disasters — by Jane Novak at 1:40 pm on Wednesday, April 15, 2009

That’s really a shame, predictable though. OpenDocument

Yemen: Fears of flood-affected farmers abandoning agriculture
Source: United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs – Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN)

Date: 12 Apr 2009

SEYOUN, 12 April 2009 (IRIN) – An official has warned that delays in restoring the severely flood-affected agriculture sector in Hadhramaut Governorate, southeastern Yemen, will prompt farmers to abandon their jobs and seek work in other sectors, affecting food security in the impoverished country. (Read on …)

Yemen’s Human Rights Ministry Gears Up to Dispute Wide Array of HR Reports

Filed under: Biographies, Civil Rights, Corruption, Donors, UN, Reform, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 1:12 pm on Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Further damage control on the son of the Yemeni president being a thief according to US federal courts: here here and here

al Motamar

US State Department reports are political targeting: Human Rights Minister
Tuesday, 14-April-2009
Almotamar.net – Yemen Human Rights Minister Dr Huda al-Ban has on Tuesday revealed a government tendency for engaging civil society organisations working in human rights field in the reply to international reports issued by the US State Department, Amnesty International, Freedom House and others, so that the reply would be a national one instead of official. She has accused report by the US State Department of inaccuracy, reshuffling cards and fabrication of non-existing realities. She added that 95% of the issues and incidents the report has tackled had been literally mentioned in previous years. (Read on …)

Fisheries in Yemen

Filed under: A-NATURAL RESOURCES, Business, Corruption, Fisheries, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 1:04 pm on Wednesday, April 15, 2009

None of the fisheries numbers line up and they haven’t for years (the exports reported by businessess and the official reports-and the prices reported). Its among the most corrupt for sure, which is saying a lot. The question is where is the leakage going and is the connection to Zindani severed informally as well as officially? Thers’s all the deals with the foreign companies, the diversion of donor aid and the destruction of the marine ecosystem as additional concerns.

Yemen Post

The country has seen a fall in fish production over the last few years. Despite the conflicting statistics of the Ministry of Fish Wealth about Yemen’s exports of fish products, the contribution of this sector is still limited and does not exceed 1.7 percent of the total exports.
According to the ministry, fish production of 2008 dropped to 127,000 tons, from 256,000 tons in 2004 and 230,000 tons during in 2005 and 2006. It fell to 180,000 tons in 2007. (Read on …)

More of the back story on the next president of Yemen taking bribes

Filed under: Biographies, Business, Communications, Corruption, Presidency, Reform — by Jane Novak at 9:51 am on Thursday, April 9, 2009

Update: Now thats funny right there. The Telecommunication Ministry says that what the article actually means is that the fine (which is payable to the US government) is what was paid to the ministry’s officials in exchange for the favorable rates. Nothing to see, just move along…

Yemen Post: Informed sources from the Ministry of Telecommunications told news web site that such report by media outlets is groundless. “Latinode agreed to pay a $2 million fine during a three-year period to officials in Yemen in exchange for favorable interconnection rates,” the source said, calling on all media outlets to be accurate and objective when reporting news.

Al-Tagheer says a government official said in a phone interview that the information was “incorrect” and “false” and designed to harm the reputation of Yemen, and some symbols in the forefront of the son of the president.

Mareb Press: مصدر مسئول في الاتصالات ينفي تورط شخصيات رفيعة في عملية رشوة لشركة أمريكية An official source in communication denies involvement in the process of eminent persons to bribe a U.S. company
الخميس 09 إبريل-نيسان 2009 الساعة 02 صباحاً / مأرب برس – خاص Thursday, April 09 – April 2009 at 02 am / Marib Press – private

نفي مصدر مسئول في وزارة الاتصالات اليمنية ما ذكره موقع التغيير نت Denied official source at the Yemeni Ministry of Communications with the site change Net من تورط مسئول كبير في الوزارة ونجل الرئيس علي عبد الله صالح في عملية رشوة قيل انها قدمت من قبل شركة ” لاتين نود ” الأميركية والمتخصصة The involvement of a senior official in the Ministry and the son of President Ali Abdullah Saleh in the process it was a bribe offered by the company, “We wish to Latin American” and specialized في خدمات الاتصالات. Communications services.

وقال المصدر المسئول لـ” مأرب برس ” ان ما ورد عبارة عن تلفيقات من قبل جهات لها دوافعها الخاص ولا اساس له من الصحة، مؤكد ان الوزارة ستكلف عدد من القانونيين للرد على تلك الاتهامات الزائفة ومقاضاة من ويقف وراء تلك الإخبار الكيدية. The official source of the “Marib Press that” as a fabrication by the private actors motivated and unfounded, confirmed that the ministry will be a number of lawyers to respond to the accusations false and the prosecution of the stands behind the news that malicious.

Miami Internet phone firm pleads guilty to paying bribes
BY PATRICK DANNER
pdanner@MiamiHerald.com

A Miami-based Internet phone company has agreed to pay a $2 million fine after pleading guilty to paying bribes to officials in Honduras and Yemen in exchange for favorable interconnection rates.

Latin Node paid more than $2.2 million in bribes that company e-mails indicate were intended for, among others, the son of the Yemeni president and officials of the Yemeni Ministry of Telecommunications, court documents show. (Read on …)

US Co. Pleads Guilty to Paying Son of Yemeni President Over $1,000,000

Filed under: Business, Corruption, Media, Ministries, Presidency, Yemen   · — by Jane Novak at 3:27 pm on Wednesday, April 8, 2009

They don’t name the son but it could be Ahmed Saleh, the son of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and the heir apparent to Saleh’s throne. He is also the commander of the Special Forces and the Republican Guard which directs the mechanized units including artillary, the new tanks and rockets. Payments also went to the ministry of telecommunication and other Yemeni officials.

US Department of Justice

Latin Node Inc., Pleads Guilty to Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Violation and Agrees to Pay $2 Million Criminal Fine

WASHINGTON – Latin Node Inc. (Latinode), a privately held Florida corporation, pleaded guilty today to violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) in connection with improper payments in Honduras and Yemen, Acting Assistant Attorney General Rita M. Glavin of the Criminal Division announced.

At a hearing before U.S. District Judge Paul Courtney Huck in the Southern District of Florida, Latinode pleaded guilty to a one-count information charging a criminal violation of the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions. As part of the plea agreement, Latinode agreed to pay a $2 million fine during a three-year period.

According to court documents, Latinode provided wholesale telecommunications services using Internet protocol technology countries throughout the world, including Honduras and Yemen…

In addition, from approximately July 2005 to April 2006, court documents show that Latinode made 17 payments totaling approximately $1,150,654 either directly to Yemeni officials or to a third-party consultant with the knowledge that some or all of the money would be passed on to Yemeni officials in exchange for favorable interconnection rates in Yemen. Each of those payments was made from Latinode’s Miami bank account. According to court documents, company e-mails indicate that the intended payment recipients included, but were not limited to, the son of the Yemeni president; the vice president of operations at TeleYemen, the Yemeni government-owned telecommunications company; other officials of TeleYemen; and officials from the Yemeni Ministry of Telecommunications.

PSA: Contest for Ideas on Fighting Corruption

Filed under: Corruption — by Jane Novak at 11:38 am on Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The contest is open to non-governmental organizations. The Global Integrity report on Yemen is here and finds a “huge” gap between the law and its implementation. The contest requires the idea to be connected to or derived from the Global Intergrity analysis/diagnostic tools. There’s the potential for the winners to get their ideas funded as well with a $20K grant.

The Global Integrity Impact Challenge is seeking proposals for projects that use Global Integrity’s diagnostic tools to fight corruption. The best proposals get a US$1,000 prize and a chance to pitch the Partnership for Transparency Fund (PTF) for funding to implement their ideas.

This year, Global Integrity released our 3rd annual assessment of anti-corruption and good governance trends around the world. The Global Integrity Report: 2008highlights the strengths and weaknesses of government accountability mechanisms in specific country contexts, creating a checklist for incremental reforms. Now that the data has been gathered, where do we start addressing these governance gaps? This a question that Global Integrity believes has to answered locally.

To answer this question, the Global Integrity Challenge will offer cash prizes to groups that use the Report’s Integrity Indicators to develop projects that fight corruption. We’re looking to promote direct linkages between the problem of corruption, Global Integrity’s diagnostic tools, [your proposed project here] and measurable change on the ground. For more information on the types of proposals we’re accepting and the application process, please see http://tinyurl.com/impactlink
The application deadline is April 5th, 2009.

A jury will review the proposals and select six to ten finalists. An online public vote will select three winners. Each winner will receive a US $1,000 prize as well as an introduction to the Partnership for Transparency Fund, an organization that provides grants to groups working on corruption issues.
You can learn more about the Impact Challenge at http://tinyurl.com/impactlink.

Radioactive Waste in Yemen

Filed under: Corruption, Enviornmental, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:50 am on Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Mukallah Press reports Yemen is making hundreds of millions in contacts for illegal dumping of radioactive waste. There’s a lot of environmental damage to the country side but this is deliberate, the paper claims. I wouldn’t put it past them, but its an unsubstantiated claim and the first I’ve heard of it. Radioactive is harder to believe than toxic waste somehow. Still its good to keep an eye on radioactive substances in Yemen in particular.

Caused the spread of cancer .. شركات اجنبية بتواطئ نافذين تدفن نفايات اشعاعية على طول خط قرية المعيان بالشحر الى تريم – ساه بحضرموت The complicity of foreign companies burying radioactive waste in force along the line of the village to Taryam Almaian Baahr – Sah Bhoudermott الشحر – المكلا برس – خاص التاريخ: 7/3/2009 Ash – Makla Press – a special date: 7/3/2009
كشفت مصادر مطلعة للمكلا برس عن وجود نفايات أشعاعية دفنت خلال الفترة الماضية القريبة على طول الخط الممتد من قرية المعيان بمديرية الشحر حتى تريم – ساه بحضرموت الداخل جلبت من الخارج وبتواطئ مسؤولين من ابناء المحافظة . Knowledgeable sources told the Press of Mekele on the presence of radioactive waste buried in the past period, close along the line extending from the village of Ash, even Almaian Department TRIM – Sah Bhoudermott brought home from abroad and the complicity of officials of the sons of the province. (Read on …)

Failed Development Projects in Yemen

Filed under: Business, Corruption, Economic, GCC, Investment, Reform, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 1:44 am on Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Yes well I guess after a decade you can presume they are just not going to get completed. Even free land grants wasn’t enough motivation.

Yemen Observer

The government’s investment authority announced Tuesday that it has cancelled 189 projects financed by Yemeni and Gulf investors, including projects that have not yet been implemented after ten years of planning.

The Manager of the Hadramout Investment Authority Khalid al-Sa’di explained that the 189 projects were cancelled as a result of investor negligence, following the grace period of four months given to them by the Hadramout governor. The governor’s actions came from directions issued by the President, which stipulated the cancellation of the licenses for projects after a designated expiry date. He highlighted that these measures were especially necessary for projects where no work has been done in the ten years since the issuance of the licenses.

Last year, the President ordered the cancellation of the land licenses of investors who had failed to begin their investment projects in Hadramout, despite the free land offered to them ten years ago. (Read on …)

Zinc Mine Planned in Yemen

Filed under: A-NATURAL RESOURCES, Corruption, Economic — by Jane Novak at 9:41 pm on Thursday, February 26, 2009

Wow this was a long time coming, three years, 25 announcments and two withdrawn investors later, ta da…corner stone. In 2007, the agreement was delayed and delayed until certain issues were worked out.

A 2006 report documented deposits of four million tons of copper and nickel. The zinc deposit in Jabali contains a geological resource of 12.6 million tons of oxide ore, grading 8.9 per cent zinc, 1.2 per cent lead and 68g/t silver. A feasibility study (in 2006) conducted by ZincOx for the development of the Jabali deposit estimated a rate of 800,000 tonnes per annum of ore, with a grade of 9.2 per cent zinc, over a mine life of 12 years. Gold reserves were discovered with one estimated 687,000 ton geological reserve containing about 15 tons of gold. Yemen also has significant quantities of marble and granite.

Yemen Observer
Prime Minister Dr. Ali Mujwar laid the foundation stone for Yemen’s first and largest mine, in the area of Jabal Salab in the district of Nahm, 110km northeast of Sana’a. The giant investment project cost more than $200 million dollars, and was built by the Jabal Salab Company (Yemen) Limited. The project is a joint-venture between the Jabal Salab Company, the ANSAN Company, and the British firm ZincOx.

The mine will provide the country with a large source of lead, silver and zinc; crude ore alone is estimated at being over 12.6 million tones, and contains 8.86% pure zinc.

During the inauguration ceremony, the Prime Minister expressed the state’s desire to support the mining industry as one of the most important sources for Yemeni economic diversification. The state is keen to diversify the country’s economy in order to alleviate the over-reliance on oil exports. During the inauguration ceremony, the Prime Minister expressed his hope that this mine will be the first of many, as many such future projects are planned. This includes possible gold mining in Hadramout and Hajjah, and copper mining in Amran and Taiz.

Mr. Brett Grist, the manager of ZincOx Resources PLC in Yemen said that work on the project had been long going, commencing in 1980, however the project had already brought numerous benefits to the region. He expected exports to commence in the first half of 2010 with the mines first shipment of Yemeni Zinc.

In reference to the benefits this project will provide to the country, Mr. Grist stated that the project is likely to create 400 jobs, and more than 1,000 indirect employment opportunities, through related businesses. He added that Yemeni employees will be properly trained, and amount to 95% of the projects employees. He went on to say that equipment used to search for zinc will be transferred over to the country, allowing Yemeni’s to benefit in the future, through the use of the equipment to search for gold.

The citizens living in the area expressed their hopes for the success of the project, and thanked the companies involved for the opportunity to participate in the projects development. Dr. Ishmael al-Janad, the Head of the Geological Survey Authority said this project represents the development of the second largest sector of the Yemeni economy after oil.

Economists have said this project will have a strong impact on Yemen’s economy, ensuring the country’s future growth and development. In total, the returns from this project will amount to nearly $600 million for the country’s economy.

GCC Requested Donors Delay, WB Grants not Loans

Filed under: Corruption, Donors, UN, GCC, Investment, Reform, Saudi Arabia, govt budget — by Jane Novak at 10:30 pm on Sunday, February 22, 2009

al Motamar

Almotamar.net – The World Bank WB said Monday that it intends to assist Yemen for facing ramifications of the drop in oil prices for enhancement of efforts and orientations of the Yemeni government aimed to diversify sources of national income and lessening dependence on oil revenues.

Vice President of the WB for the Middle East and North Africa Daniela Gressani, currently on a visit to Yemen, said there is a steady progress Yemen has achieved in implementation of reforms. Gressani added that the WB has raised the ceiling of the annual support to Yemen to $ 120 million and adopted since the last year to offer all forms of assistance to Yemen in the form of gifts instead of loans in order to support the Yemeni government efforts for encountering the world rise in food prices and facing consequences of the floods disaster that hit governorates of Hadramout and Mahara.

Gressani also praised the level of improvement in the government performance in Yemen especially in regards to carrying out the foreign sources-funded projects. She has also stressed the significance of donors meeting of their commitments to Yemen pertaining to completion of allocations they had pledged at London Donors Conference in November 2006. She revealed that the WB would work for urging donors to speed up completing allocations of their pledges.

On the reasons behind postponement of the 3rd consultative meeting between the Yemeni government and donors, scheduled to be held last Sunday in Sana’a, Ms Gressani said the postponement was imposed by coincidence of its convening with the date of holding an international conference of donors for the reconstruction of Gaza Strip. She added, in a statement to Saba news agency on Monday, the Gulf Cooperation Council GCC states proposed postponing the meeting to a later date in order to secure large attendance. And that has been agreed between the Yemeni government and the donors.

Tribes Reject Government and Democracy due to Non-Performance

Filed under: Civil Rights, Corruption, Tribes, govt budget — by Jane Novak at 1:34 pm on Sunday, February 22, 2009

Blaming democracy not corruption.

Yemen Online

Yemen: “We don’t need a country the government of which doesn’t at all respect its own nationals.” A Yemeni tribe in Al-Jawf stated.
YemenOnline. Feb 22 – A number of Al Heridan – Almahashimah tribesmen in Al-Jawf governorate demanded withdrawal of all the government’s troops and military equipment off their land because they do not need a country the government of which doesn’t at all respect its own nationals. “Yemen Government practices all standards of racism and nepotism against us, and we are being marginalized in every aspect of our own rights.” said Al Heridan – Almahashimah tribesmen in a letter addressed to civil society organizations concerned in human rights issues. Calling on Saudi Arabia to embrace the tribe, the letter confirmed that Al Heridan – Almahashimah tribe does no longer need a system that overlooked them.

Yemen Online

Yemen Should be a Kingdome, seriously said Shiekh Mabkhoot Bin Hadhal.

YemenOnline, Special. Feb, 22 – “Yemen should be a Kingdome, and President Ali Saleh should be a king.” seriously said Shiekh Mabkhoot Bin Hadhal, Marib governorate in a special statement to YemenOnline. “My own point of view, which a huge number of Yemeni people share with me, is that Yemen’s democratic system is to be cancelled. We no longer need any political parties or the Parliament itself due to the fact that those parties proved to be just headache and they caused us a lot of troubles at all levels, even at the family level”, he added.”Huge amounts of money are wasted inefficiently on the electoral process which is in turn corrupt.”, he stated, highlighting the fact that Yemen is surrounded by Gulf Kingdoms and it is much better for Yemen to be a Kingdome too.”This is going to make it a lot easier for Yemen to join Gulf Cooperation Council” he added, expecting a strong denouncement among Yemeni political system and even among opposition parties themselves.”An 18-year of failure is enough to prove that the democratic experience is useless.”, he commented.

UNHRC in Yemen Denies Knowledge of Bribes

Filed under: Corruption, Demographics, Donors, UN, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 6:55 pm on Thursday, February 19, 2009

Yahya’s boy, Naba News, is oddly not responding to my query on their reporting. However, nearly all international organizations in Yemen are penetrated by regime informants. The UNHRC is not performing well for a variety of reasons and many, many in dire need are not assisted including Somali refugees and Christian converts.

Since I published the article from Yemen Online, I’ve heard from quite a few refugees in Yemen who are desperate for any kind of assistance and begging for their lives. I will document what I can, but the risks sometimes outweigh the benefits when it comes to the UN and Yemen. The UNHCR’s rebuttal is at Yemen Online, at least they published it. But really, Yemen is a Stalinistic system, are we going to pretend forever?

YemenOnline, Special. Feb 24 – YemenOnline received today a clarification email from Mr. Andrew Knight, UNHCR-Yemen Office in response to an article that YemenOnline had published on its website in February 18, 2009 concerning an Iraqi protest at the gate of UNHCR’s office in Sana’a.

“No such protest took place at any of our offices in Yemen and there was certainly no raging environment with a number of discontented Iraqi families headed for the gate of UNHCR office Mr. Andrew Knight confirmed in his email.

Stressing that “the picture accompanying the article is not of UNHCR’s offices in Sana’a or even in Yemen.”, he added that it was just “ONE male Iraqi refugee” who came to the office to renew his family’s documents for the coming year, and when physical presence of his family members was required, according to UNHCR security policy, he “proceeded in anger to tear up his papers and then threw them at our reception staff.”

“With regard to the US$ 10,000 that has to be paid to staff in order for the resettlement documents to be processed, Mr. Knight confirmed that “this is certainly not UNHCR policy and, if anybody has an allegation to make, UNHCR strongly encourages them approach the office and submit their allegation with evidence. The Office takes these issues very seriously and an investigation will be carried on any substantiated reports of resettlement fraud”

In fact, YemenOnline published the abovementioned article based on a report published on Nabanews website which is run by an Iraqi national resident in Yemen.

Background, for years there has been an issue:

IRIN report on Somai refugees 2005 protests: “They say they’re ready to die, one by one, if the UNHCR doesn’t give them their rights,” added Zeyad.

One of the refugees’ chief demands is that their national identity cards, which allow them to work and send their children to school, be renewed.

Many of the refugees complain that, once IDs expire, they are unable to exercise their legal rights as legal residents. “Our children can’t go to school and we can’t work without them,” said Abdullah Adam, a refugee in Yemen for 15 years. “We want the UNHCR to renew our cards.”

The refugees in Yemen are a burden and the camps they go to are horrible, but no one wants to annoy the regime too much:

“Yemen has carried a major burden in dealing with irregular migratory movements in the region, yet has maintained an open-door policy to
refugees,” said Claire Bourgeois, UNHCR’s Representative in Yemen.
“Support from the international community however remains an absolute
necessity.” UN

Global Integrity: Yemen Among the Worst Assessed

Filed under: Civil Rights, Civil Society, Corruption, Judicial, Parliament, Presidency, Reform, govt budget — by Jane Novak at 10:12 am on Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Global Integrity finds a “huge” gap between the law and its implementation.

Yemen earned very weak scores across the board, from civil society and government accountability to business regulation and the rule of law. The country’s executive, judicial, and legislative accountability mechanisms are among the worst assessed in 2008.

Although there are strong anti-corruption laws on the book, the anti-corruption agency is ineffective. Furthermore, political financing is generally unregulated, while civil society organizations are ineffective in fighting corruption. The media, which is subject to political interference, also receives poor ratings. Several journalists have been arrested, harassed, or imprisoned for their corruption-related investigative stories. Government control over private radio is among the most draconian in the world.

Update: Oh Yay, they are referencing my articles as well as this website in the media section. What happens a lot is the original links to Yemeni papers go down and the only copy is here, which is one function of the site, to provide a historical data base for researchers and others by category. The Yemen Observer trashed their entire archives with the last website upgrade, so the only detailed searchable history in English is at the Yemen Times and here.

Update 2: A very detailed and accurate report with excellent footnotes in all categories.

Links at the main page include scorecard:

Yemen: Integrity Indicators Scorecard

Overall Score: 46 (+/- 2.81) – Very Weak

Category I Civil Society, Public Information and Media 36 Very Weak
I-1 Civil Society Organizations 47 Very Weak
I-2 Media 35 Very Weak
I-3 Public Access to Information 27 Very Weak

Category II Elections 46 Very Weak
II-1 Voting & Citizen Participation 62 Weak
II-2 Election Integrity 65 Weak
II-3 Political Financing 11 Very Weak

Category III Government Accountability 30 Very Weak
III-1 Executive Accountability 45 Very Weak
III-2 Legislative Accountability 22 Very Weak
III-3 Judicial Accountability 17 Very Weak
III-4 Budget Processes 35 Very Weak

Category IV Administration and Civil Service 44 Very Weak
IV-1 Civil Service Regulations 28 Very Weak
IV-2 Whistle-blowing Measures 21 Very Weak
IV-3 Procurement 57 Very Weak
IV-4 Privatization 70 Weak

Category V Oversight and Regulation 52 Very Weak
V-1 National Ombudsman 53 Very Weak
V-2 Supreme Audit Institution 47 Very Weak
V-3 Taxes and Customs 50 Very Weak
V-4 State-Owned Enterprises 48 Very Weak
V-5 Business Licensing and Regulation 63 Weak

Category VI Anti-Corruption and Rule of Law 66 Weak
VI-1 Anti-Corruption Law 100 Very Strong
VI-2 Anti-Corruption Agency 56 Very Weak
VI-3 Rule of Law 54 Very Weak
VI-4 Law Enforcement 54 Very Weak

HRW 2008 Report Yemen

Filed under: Civil Rights, Corruption, Counter-terror, Media, Saada War, South Yemen, USA, political violence, prisons — by Jane Novak at 9:27 am on Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Human Rights Watch Report 2008 via UNHCR, rather straightforward:

Events of 2008

The human rights situation in Yemen has deteriorated markedly over the past several years. Yemen had previously made advances in the rule of law, setting out rights in the constitution, the penal code, and criminal procedure code. However, these have been eroded by hundreds of arbitrary arrests and several dozen enforced disappearances, mainly in the context of armed clashes in the north, but also relating to the government’s domestic counterterrorism efforts and crackdown on social and political unrest in the south of the country. (Read on …)

Yemeni Central Security Forces’ Outright Theft of Land Without Compensation

Filed under: A-GEOGRAPHY/ Land, Business, Civil Rights, Corruption, Electric, Local gov, Security Forces, land disputes — by Jane Novak at 1:55 am on Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The poor people. The state comes, knocks down your house and sells your land for a park, and there’s nothing to do about it because the authorities you would appeal to are the ones driving the backhoe.

The concentration of land “ownership” substantial and growing due to the daily confiscation of private property. Its not just political and commercial monopolies.

Yemen Post: Dozens of families in the western province of Hudaida have been left homeless after backhoes that were guarded by many troops destroyed their homes in a north area in the province. Websites said that the area was largely devastated as the backhoes eliminated everything; the people’s homes along with all properties at them.

The people in the area were shocked because they were not notified before that such measure would be taken.

As the backhoes were accompanied by many troops from the Central Security Forces, the appeals of the people were met by oppression.

Influential officials tried many times before to take over our lands in this area and displace us but they failed and now they came supported by government orders to do so, people in the area said. (Read on …)

40 Million Barrels of Excluded from Government Figures in Yemen

Filed under: Corruption, Oil, Yemen, govt budget — by Jane Novak at 1:47 pm on Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I spoke to a knowledgeable, normally skeptical person who said this is a credible figure and a credible scenario. So if we estimate $40.00 per barrel and 40 million barrels excluded from the official accounting, what is that, 1.6 billion, give or take some hundreds of millions?

The other thing to keep in mind is that government owned Safer took over after Hunt lost its PSA, so its likely the diversion of funds out of the government budget is continuing at a higher rate than ever.

Attagammua

Personalities involved in the window of the biggest corruption scandal in the country .. سرقة أكثر من 40 مليون برميل نفط Theft of more than 40 million barrels of oil
الأحد , 25 يناير 2009 م Sunday, January 25, 2009 m

“التجمع”-صنعاء/ خاص “Assembly” – Sana’a / special

علمت “التجمع” ان جهات وشخصيات نافذة في وزارة النفط متورطة في اكبر فضيحة فساد ونهب للمال العام تقدر قيمتها بمئات الملايين من الدولارات. Learned of the “Coalition” the views and personalities in the window of the Oil Ministry was involved in the biggest corruption scandal and the looting of public funds worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
وقالت مصادر حكومية رفيعة لـ”التجمع”: معززة بوثائق خطيرة ان اكثر من 40 مليون برميل نفط خام من حصة الحكومة تم التغاضي عن احتساب قيمتها ولم تستوعب في الدفتريات الحسابية الرسمية كاستحقاقات للحكومة بعد تقاسم حصة الانتاج بين شركة هنت ووزارة النفط اليمنية. Government sources said a high of “assembly”: enhanced documents serious that more than 40 million barrels of crude oil from the government’s share has been overlooked for the calculation of the value was not absorbed into the formal mathematical Aldvtrellat benefits for the government’s share of production-sharing venture between Hunt and the Yemeni Ministry of Oil.
كان انتاج اليمن حينذاك يتراوح ما بين 400 – 450 الف برميل وتقول المصادر: ان الوثائق الرسمية كشفت ان تلك الكمية (40 مليون برميل) تم الاستيلاء عليها على مدى سنوات وكان ذلك قبل بلوغ النزاع بين الدولة وشركة هنت الامريكية اوجه عندما رفضت الحكومة اليمنية التجديد للشركة في استثمار حقول صافر في العام 2005 ولجوء الطرفين الى محكمة دولية للفصل في النزاع وكانت المحكمة اصدرت في منتصف العام 2008 حكماً ببطلان ادعاء الشركة الامريكية وحكمت لصالح اليمن واثبتت حقها في استثمار حقل صافر وعدم التجديد لشركة هنت. Yemen was the production time ranges between 400 to 450 thousand barrels, sources say: The official documents revealed that the quantity (40 million barrels) has been seized over the years and this was before the conflict between the State and the U.S. company Hunt aspects when the Yemeni government has refused the renewal of the company whistling in the investment field in 2005 and by the parties to an international tribunal for the adjudication of the dispute, the court issued in mid-2008 ruling invalidating the U.S. company’s claim and ruled in favor of Yemen and has proved its right to invest in a wheezy and non-renewal of the Hunt.
وكانت “التجمع” قد اتصلت بمسؤولين بوزارة النفط للتعليق وعلمت ان توجيهات عليا صدرت الى وزير النفط الحالي الاستاذ أمير العيدروس لمتابعة هذه القضية ورفع تقرير بشأنها لرئيس الجمهورية, وقالت المصادر: إن وزير النفط وبعد التشاور مع السلطات العليا وجه رسالة رسمية الى النائب العام تطالبه بالتحقيق في القضية والكشف عن تفاصيلها وعن الجهات والشخصيات المتورطة وتقول مصادر “التجمع”: إن النائب العام شكل بموجب توجيهات رئاسية لجنة قضائية رفيعة من مسؤولين في النيابة العامة للتحقيق في القضية وعلى اثر ذلك تم استدعاء عدد من المسؤولين في وزارة النفط ولجنة تقييم الاحتياطي المعنية بالقضية وكان محللون ومراقبون للنزاع بين وزارة النفط وشركة هنت قد قالوا: إن جهات يمنية رفيعة قد لوحت لمسؤولي الشركة الامريكية اثناء جلسات المحاكمة الدولية وصدور الحكم لصالح الجانب اليمني.. The “assembly” had contacted the oil ministry officials for comment, and learned that the guidance issued to the high current Oil Minister Amir ALAIDEROOS professor to pursue this issue and submit a report thereon to the President of the Republic, the sources said: The Oil Minister, after consultation with higher authorities in a formal letter to the Attorney-General asking him to investigate in the case and the disclosure of the details and the actors and personalities involved and the sources say, “assembly:” The Attorney-General under the guidance of a presidential form of a judicial commission of high officials in the Attorney General to investigate the case and then was summoned a number of officials in the Oil Ministry and the Commission assessment of the reserve on the case and was Analysts and observers of the conflict between the Ministry of Oil and Hunt had said: The high points of Yemeni had signaled to U.S. officials during the meetings of the company’s international prosecution and sentencing for the Yemeni side .. ان الجانب اليمني مستعد لفتح الملف الخاص بـ(40 مليون برميل) اذا أقدمت الشركة الامريكية على استئناف الحكم الذي صدر لصالح اليمن وهو الامر الذي يعتقد المراقبون انه دفع مسؤولي شركة هنت الى قبول قرار المحكمة مقابل تغاضي الجانب اليمني عن ملف (40 مليون برميل). The Yemeni side was ready to open the file on the b (40 million barrels) if the U.S. company to appeal the ruling which was issued in favor of Yemen, which observers believe that the payment of officials Hunt to accept the decision of the court in exchange for tolerating the Yemeni side of the file (40 million barrels).
وقال خبير نفطي لـ”التجمع”: وهو على اطلاع بتفاصيل القضية, لو كان الجانب اليمني قد جدد لشركة هنت العمل في حقول صافر لعشر سنوات لما كانت الشركة حصلت على قيمة الـ(40) المليون برميل. The oil expert of the “assembly”: who is familiar with the details of the case, if the Yemeni side has been renewed for Hunt work in the fields of wheezy ten years since the company has recently obtained a value of (40) million barrels.

A Decade of Failed Business Investment in Aden

Filed under: Business, Corruption, Investment, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:43 am on Friday, December 26, 2008

If the projects came to completion, they would have employed 26,000 people

Nearly 78 percent of investment projects in Aden have stalled, says a recent study

Yemen Times: A recent study conducted by the government revealed that 1132 investment projects in the Aden governorate have stalled or are no longer active, accounting for 78 percent of the total projects registered by the General Investment Authority.

The study was undertaken by a team from the branch of the investment authority in Aden and was headed by Mohammed Hilbub, professor of investment and supply in Aden University. The report also received support from the Germen Organization for Technical Cooperation (GTZ). According to the study, between 1992 and 2008, 601 projects have stalled and 531 remain registered by the authority but have failed to proceed as investors were unable to find land and supplies for the projects. (Read on …)

Direct Shipments from Yemen to Syria

Filed under: Corruption, Ports, Syria, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:14 am on Friday, December 26, 2008

Aden, Laziqia ports to be twined
LAZIQIA, Dec. 19 (Saba) – Yemen ambassador to Syria Abdul-Wahab Tawaf discussed on Friday with the governor of the Syrian city governorate of El-Laziqia the executive procedures of the Joint Yemeni-Syrian Committee regarding twining the two ports of Aden city and El-Laziqia as well as establishing a direct sea line between them.

The discussed the executive steps of the cabinet regarding Yemen’s joining to the Syrian-Jordanian Company for Maritime Navigation.

On the other hand, Tawaf also met with rector of Tashreen University of El-Laziqia Mohammed Muala and discussed with him situations of Yemeni students in the university and means of reinforcing scientific cooperation between Yemeni and Syrian universities

Yemen’s Ruling Party Spent YR 60 Bil Public Funds in 2003 Elections

Filed under: Corruption, Elections, GPC, Parliament, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:42 am on Thursday, December 18, 2008

Kudos to IFES for speaking plainly. Yemen Post

The ruling party allocated almost YR 60 billion to buy votes in the 2003 parliamentary elections in an attempt to increase its election opportunities in Parliament, an international expert specialized in the election affairs said.

Chief expert of political finance at the International Foundation for Election Systems IFES Dr. Marshen Walky, however, expressed regret over using such sum in what he described as political and electoral corruption while the sum was rather to used to implement infrastructure projects such as schools, hospitals and roads.

He said that a report by the IDEA Organization on democracy building in Yemen revealed that the ruling party in Yemen had allocated between YR 40-60 billion during the 2003 elections to buy votes.

At a press conference in Sana’a on Wednesday Walky said though the Yemeni election law bans buying electoral votes and using the public funds in elections, there is no observation or control of the spending of public funds on electoral campaigns.

He likened Yemeni legislations to Swiss cheese full of holes.

He urged that candidates must exercise transparency to disclose resources to fund their electoral campaigns.

Walky said political corruption linked to financing electoral campaigns is a threat to the whole development and the development of democracy in particular in any country as some businessmen endorse candidates in return these businessmen can ensure they can get back what they paid for electoral campaigns through obtaining contracts and investment tenders through winning candidates they endorse.

Walky brought up the misuse of the public funds during elections saying that international monitors judged the electoral process in 2006 was not totally fair due to exclusive use of public funds.

He said the EU mission, which observed the 2006 local and presidential elections in Yemen, found out that many officials used the country’s resources such as buildings, cars and ceremonies to succeed their electoral campaigns.

Walky said changing the electoral system will not solve the problem of political corruption; however, he said the Party-List system is the best solution to restrict buying votes, even if it will not tackle the problem completely.

He urged media to play a vital role in establishing awareness to curb illegal spending of candidates so that only efficient and right winners come to power.

(Read on …)

Syrian Companies Smuggling Drugs to Yemen Listed

Filed under: Corruption, Crime, Syria, Yemen, drugs, smuggling — by Jane Novak at 8:22 pm on Friday, December 12, 2008

SABA

Yemen hands over Syria involved-drug trafficking companies list

DAMASCUS, Jan. 12 09 (Saba) – Yemen handed over on Monday to Syria a list of the Syrian companies involved in trafficking drugs to Yemen.

The list was delivered by the Yemeni ambassador to Damascus Abdul Wahab Tawaf to the Syrian Industry Minister Fouad Issa Juni.

The Ambassador told the minister that the companies facilitate hiding drugs within their goods exported to Yemen, demanding Syria to take deterrent measures against the companies and including them in the blacklist.

During the meeting, both sides discussed activating the cooperation protocols signed between the two countries to increase the trade exchange volume.

Yemen Lowest GDP per Capita of Arab States

Filed under: Civil Unrest, Corruption, Economic, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 11:02 am on Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Even worse than Dijabouti

Yemen comes last among Arab states in terms of GDP per capita: report

SANA’A, Dec. 10 (Saba) – Yemen ranked last among Arab states in terms of the Gross Domestic Product per capita with $ 901, a report has said.

The report of the Arab Economic Unit Council, released on Sunday said Yemen recorded the lowest per capita income behind Mauritania whose GDP per capita reached $ 909.

Djibouti came ahead of the two states with GDP per capita of $977.

However, Qatar came in first place with $ 72.376, Emirates was in second place with $ 42.273, Kuwait third with $ 33.646, Bahrain fourth with $ 24.151, Saudi Arabia $ 15.158.

While the per capita GDP in Libya is $ 8903, in Lebanon $ 6243, in Algeria $ 3976, in Tunisia $ 3423, in Jordan and Iraq $ 2343, in Morocco $ 2290, in Syria $ 2136, in Egypt $ 1759 and in Sudan $ 1543.

The report said average per capita income in Arab states for the current prices raised to $ 4661 in 2007, up from $ 4188 in 2006, at a growth rate of 11.3 percent.

World Bank Yemen Water Project: Little Accountability

Filed under: Corruption, Donors, UN, Water, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:57 am on Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Corruption and the fractured nature of the government as well as bureaucratic inefficiency hinder progress on nearly every crisis the country is facing. The WB needs to stay on top of all funds in Yemen. And as the article notes, the strategy impacts the poor.

Bicusa

As Yemen suffers from water crisis, Bank support for water sector hinges on private sector solutions

8 December 2008

A recent meeting between the World Bank and the Yemeni Planning Minister focused on preliminary negotiations on a proposed water sector project. However, the central question remains whether the Bank is ensuring water access for the poor.

In October, the Yemeni news agency Saba reported on a meeting between the World Bank and the Government of Yemen that focused on discussions around a proposed $90 million grant to support Yemen’s national water strategy. Last week, the Bank disclosed documents that indicate new estimates on project approval and anticipated donor financing commitments, though they offer little in terms of substantive plans for the project.

Despite the large volume of money that is being committed for the project – with expected Dutch, British and German government contributions, the total is expected to surpass $380 million – it remains unclear what specifically will be financed. There is only scant information available from the World Bank, and the five-year national strategy on which the aid is based is not publicly accessible. According to World Bank documents, the Yemen Water Sector Support Project is expected to go to the Board for approval in February 2009.

At the same time, while the decision to finance Yemen’s water strategy as a Sector-Wide Approach (SWAp) lends to better donor coordination, it raises the possibility that the process is driven by and tailored to donors, whose expected contributions together account for nearly two-thirds of the cost of the project.

Yemen is the least developed country in the region, and one of the world’s most water poor countries in the world, where per capita availability of water is only 2% of the world average, according to the World Bank. Yemen’s water crisis has not only hindered the efforts to reduce poverty and stimulate economic growth but has also resulted in social disputes over water wells and land ownership, as demand for water outstrips supply.

Rainfall represents the main source of water needed for agriculture and households, and nearly all of the rainfall evaporates. Reports show that about 90% of the ground water in Yemen is used for irrigation, mostly to grow qat, which accounts for roughly 40% of cultivated land. Meanwhile, in order to keep up with the increasing demand on water, landlords and private companies have been drilling unauthorized wells that have depleted Yemen’s groundwater.

Considering the depth of Yemen’s water crisis, the World Bank has rightfully emphasized water provision in its portfolio, as well as in its Country Assistance Strategy (CAS). Since 2000, the Bank has committed $303 million for the water sector, or 27% of approvals.

However, while preliminary project documents indicate that the bulk of the proposed Bank grant will support irrigation infrastructure and urban water systems, the nature of the investment remains unclear, including what if any policy changes in the water sector will accompany the grant. Typically, World Bank grants entail much more stringent conditions than loans that need to be repaid. To date, the Bank’s support for the water sector in Yemen has been predicated on fostering private sector involvement, particularly in urban water services, and in granting private companies the responsibility to assess water and demand levels and to determine prices. The Bank has also advised the government to lift subsidies on diesel, a major expense in qat cultivation

Some observers have raised concerns about how effective the World Bank’s interventions have been in addressing Yemen’s water problems, and questioned the impact and rationale of the Bank-supported strategies such as introducing water tariffs, encouraging public-private partnerships, pushing for a greater private sector role, and lifting subsidies on maintenance, spate irrigation, and diesel. These advocates have suggested that the Bank’s approach to date has placed a disproportionate emphasis on private sector solutions to Yemen’s pressing water needs, and that these efforts have not been accompanied by adequate measures to mitigate adverse impacts on the poor and ensure equitable access.

Border guard in Hodeidah Prevent Yemeni Coast Guard

Filed under: Corruption, Ports, Saudi Arabia, Security Forces, smuggling — by Jane Novak at 8:00 am on Tuesday, December 9, 2008

www.alghadyem.net

Received an official note tomorrow to complain about the Coast Guard and the Customs Directorate of the coastal province of Hodeidah beard that their employees are threatened by the border guards prevented from carrying out their duties in the seizure and prosecution of smugglers of petroleum products, sheep from Africa across the coast of the Directorate.
وأوضح مصدر محلي مسؤول في المديرية، فضل عدم الكشف عن هويته، بأنه قد تم إبلاغ الجهات المعنية بالمحافظة والعاصمة بالقضية، إلا أنه لم يتم اتخاذ الإجراءات القانونية لوقف عمليات التهريب، ومحاسبة حرس الحدود المرابطين في المنطقة ممن يقومون بحماية المهربين بالتعاون مع مجموعة من مشائخ المنطقة المتنفذين. The source said a local official in the Directorate, on condition of anonymity, that he had been informed stakeholders and to maintain the capital case, however, are not taken legal action to stop the smuggling operations, and to hold the border guards stationed in the region who were protecting the smugglers in collaboration with a group of the region Mchaik powerful.
وأكد المصدر بأن ظاهرة تهريب الأغنام والمشتقات النفطية إلى بلادنا من إفريقيا تسير بوتيرة عالية وبصورة علنية عبر سواحل المديرية، وخاصة في خور المديرية ومرسى العلوي دون أي حسيب أو رقيب، وبحماية من حرس الحدود المتواجدين في المنطقة، والذين يقومون بمنع أفراد خفر السواحل والجمارك بالمديرية من مزاولة أعمالهم في مكافحة التهريب وضبط المهربين وهم في حالة تلبس، كما يمنعونهم من ترقيم القوارب اليمنية والأجنبية والكشف عليها أو تفتيشها. The source added that the smuggling of sheep and oil derivatives in the country of Africa is moving quickly across the public and the coast of the Directorate, particularly in the Directorate and the creek without any upper berth total impunity, and to protect the border guards who are in the area, who are members of the prevention of the Coast Guard and the Customs Directorate of the to operate in the fight against smuggling and smugglers who are controlling in the case of flagrante delicto, and prevented the boats from the numbering of the Yemeni and foreign disclosure or inspection.

Corruption Efforts Lack Enforcement, Yemen

Filed under: Corruption, Ministries, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 6:57 pm on Sunday, December 7, 2008

Only half of the finacial disclosure statements were received, there’s still 5000 outstanding.

Yemen Times
SANA’A, Dec. 3 — Forty-nine complaints against various government bodies have been forwarded to the Supreme National Authority for Combating Corruption in the third quarter of this year. Only one of the complaints was transferred to persecution while 19 were dismissed as irrelevant to the authority’s field of work. (Read on …)

Public Funds Pillaged

Filed under: Corruption, govt budget — by Jane Novak at 11:39 pm on Sunday, November 2, 2008

Is the budget suplemental 66 Billion or 660 Billion? Its a different figure in every paper.

Yemen Post

In its recent meeting, the council of ministers approved a project for an additional credit during the current financial year at YR 66 billion.

Even with the profits in oil and other resources the country has been getting, it still relies on donors to finance the different development projects as loans and donation packages to the country have reached $800 million, according to the annual reports presented by the Central Administration for Control and Auditing (COCA).

As to the crimes of wasting and pillaging the public money, COCA listed over 1165 crimes of waste for public money over the last three years. The total amount of money wasted during the last three years are as follows: YR19 billion, $14 million, 3 million euros and 2 million marcs, together with 18 cars and large areas of lands. (Read on …)

Millions of Meters of Stolen Land Returned to the State in Hodeidah

Filed under: Corruption, South Yemen, land disputes — by Jane Novak at 9:22 pm on Monday, October 6, 2008

28 public funds cases completed in Hodeidah

HODEIDAH, Oct.06 (Saba)- Appeal Court for Public Funds in Hodeidah branch completed during the last nine months 28 cases with an executive seizer decision to pay public debts at $ 288,875, in addition to YR16 million.

In a statement to Saba, chairman of the prosecution judge Eshak Salah said that the prosecution has returned millions of meters of lands to the state during the period from January to September.

He added that the prosecution completed during the same period around 88 public funds cases and referred them to court and 7 cases which were referred to concerned bodies.

President Saleh Spends 60 Million of Personal Funds for Mosque

Filed under: Corruption, Presidency, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:23 pm on Saturday, September 27, 2008

Nice of him to spread it around a little.

The al-Saleh’s mosque is partially opened on the advent of Ramadan as many people from Sana’a and visitors from the governorates went to pray in it.

The president’s mosque which is built on the president’s expense is considered to be an immense Islamic building and one of Sana’a city distinctive features. Its cost is mounted to $60 million.

Yemen Observer

thats over 1/4 mil US

Corruption at the Aden Refinery

Filed under: A-INFRASTRUCTURE, Corruption, Oil — by Jane Novak at 10:33 am on Sunday, September 14, 2008

Yemen Times

SANA’A, Aug. 3 — A parliamentary report reveals corruption over the past two years at Aden Oil Refineries, a company belonging to the Yemeni government. Prepared by the Parliament-affiliated Oil and Minerals Development Committee, the report indicates that corruption at Aden Oil Refineries “consumed $200 million from public finances.” The committee prepared its report in light of its field visits to the refineries over the past four years.

Based on analysis of figures in the public budget and the Central Monitoring Apparatus, the results indicate that corruption was rampant within the administration of Aden Oil Refineries, one of the region’s oldest established energy companies. The oil refinery dismissed the report as “mere personal speculation.” (Read on …)

Corruption Kills: Donated Medical Equipment Stolen

Filed under: Corruption, Donors, UN, Medical, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 11:47 am on Saturday, September 13, 2008

The importation and distribution of medicines is riddled with corruption, which impacts directly on the standard of living of the entire population.

YO

The German Hammer Forum threatened to quit from Yemen if the sequestration of the organization’s containers continued in Hodiedah port.

The organization’s coordinator, Dr. Ali Al-Zakhmi, said that the organization is studying pulling out from Yemen if the health sector’s authorities continued their rigidity against them despite the charitable health services they provide to the Yemeni children in particular.

Al- Zakhmi said that the higher medical authority is still sequestrating 93 medicines and medical equipment packages, which the organization sent to al-Thawra Hospital in Taiz, since last February. He added that the organization donated these medical appliances and medicines to Taiz al-Thawra Hospital yet the higher medical authority holds them under the excuse that they contain foreign medical appliances incompatible to the specifications. (Read on …)

1650 Officials Not Submit Financial Disclosure

Filed under: Corruption, Ministries, Reform, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 11:17 am on Saturday, September 13, 2008

SNACC looms prosecuting 1650 Yemeni officials

SANA’A, Sep. 13 (Saba)- The Supreme National Authority for Combating Corruption (SNACC) loomed on Saturday prosecuting 1650 Yemeni officials who didn’t deliver their financial disclosures yet.

Member of NSACC Mohammed al-Matari said that the number of financial disclosures received by the national commission reached to 5200 financial disclosures.

The al-Matari pointed out that the SNACC had sent legal notes to officials in some government bodies whom exceeded the legal limit for the delivery of financial disclosures.

“The SNACC is going to take a legal action against those officials”, said al-Matari.

200 Projects Not Implemented in Aden

Filed under: Corruption, Investment, Saada War, South Yemen, govt budget — by Jane Novak at 7:41 am on Monday, September 1, 2008

Workshop on failure of investment projects in Aden to be held

[29 August 2008]

ADEN, Aug. 29 (Saba)- Economic sources said on Friday that a workshop would be held in Aden province next Saturday for reviewing and assessing unimplemented projects.

The sources affirmed that 200 projects have been faltering in the province as well as some projects have been transferred from investment projects to housing purposes.

The workshop will be organized by the General Authority for Investment (GAI) in collaboration with German Technical Cooperation (GTZ).

The sources added that the workshop would be attended by about 60 investors and representatives of the General Authority for the Lands, the Chamber of Aden Commerce and Industry and other government bodies to assess the causes of the failure of those investment projects in Aden.

Paper Burnt for Naming Corrupt Officials

Filed under: Corruption, Media, Unions — by Jane Novak at 7:35 am on Monday, September 1, 2008

YJS dispute about admission of new members delays elections, Yemen Post

The Editor in Chief of Al-Ray Al’am (Public Opinion) newspaper Kamal Al-Olfi revealed that his newspaper’s office was set into fire by anonymous elements last Friday.

Al-Olfi mentioned in a press release that the fire was casued by petrol, which was poured outside the office’s door, therefore, setting the entire office on fire, hinting some of the office equipments were destroyed completely.

Stressing that the paper will not change its stance, Al-Olfi accused corruption forces of standing behind the incident especially when his paper has been launching wide campaigns to criticize corruption and corrupt officials.

In its recent issues, the paper attacked the Minister of Local Administration Abdul Qader Ali Hilal and a number of commercial institutions.

For its part, Yemeni Journalists Syndicate (YJS) described the incident to be a dangerous development targeting independent newspapers. It also considered this incident to be a new way for intimidating the independent media.

The syndicate demanded Interior Ministry to launch a prompt investigation into the circumstances of the incident and to reveal those who were behind it.

In related news, YJS will hold elections next October to vote for a new council. Though these elections were supposed be conducted last June, political differences over admitting new members among the syndicate’s affiliates pushed the syndicate’s presidency to delay the elections.

SNACC Refers Two Cases to Court

Filed under: Corruption, Reform, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 11:55 pm on Monday, August 25, 2008

two, i guess thats a step in the right direction but its a long journey ahead

Anti-corruption authority refers two cases to public prosecution

SANA’A, Aug. 20 (Saba) – The Supreme National Authority for Combating Corruption (SNACC) announced on Monday that it had filed two cases against the project of repairing the Cairo citadel in Taiz province and allocations related to supporting Yemeni communities’ schools abroad due to financial irregularities.

In its reported submitted recently to President Ali Abdullah Saleh and the parliament, the authority said that the results of its investigations in the first case had revealed financial abuses reached more than YR 2 billion, adding that the second corruption case included the abuse of public office and exploiting it to achieve personal benefits which damaged the public funds.

“The authority is still pursuing the liquidation of the financial disclosures accumulated by the cultural attachés of Yemen embassies abroad, affirming that they did not present financial reports for the period 2001 to 2007.

According to the report, more than YR 4 billion and 257 million of the total financial disclosures reaching about YR 16 billion and 81 million had been settled till the end of last June.

The government body said it had received 71 complaints during the second quarter of 2008, noting it is completing the investigations in nine corruption cases, including irregularities related to biddings and bids, forgery offences and the seizure of public funds and properties as well as tax and customs evasions.

Corruption

Filed under: Corruption, Reform — by Jane Novak at 7:36 pm on Friday, August 1, 2008

YT

SANA’A, July 22 — The Anticorruption Authority (SNACC) stated that it has received 3,200 financial declarations from various government officials and 212 notifications on issues regarding corruption, some of which were transferred to the Office of Public Prosecution to begin cracking down on government corruption.

Since it began last year, SNACC has been trying to enforce a new law that requires government officials to turn in financial statements to the authority. This way SNACC can track any suspicious fund transfers and look out for financial abuses perpetrated by government employees.

“SNACC activated a law about financial declarations and started with the Prime Minster and the members of the cabinet,” said Bilqis Abu Osba’a, the Head Deputy of SNACC. “Now it receives financial declarations from governorates as well.”

Ahmed Al-Anesi, the Chief of SNAAC, said at conference this week with Transparency International (TI) that his office is looking for ways to promote international cooperation in the field of anti-corruption. Al-Anesi added that the Anti-Corruption Authority is devoted to partnering with TI and promised to make use of the support it offered in the consultancy and technical fields.

Transparency International is a network of civil society organizations that help monitor global corruption and work to help install good financial practices in place of corruption in the hardest-hit countries worldwide.

The organization releases a corruption index every year, which rates more than 150 countries on a scale of 10 (least corrupt) to Zero (highly corrupt) based on perceived levels of corruption, as determined by expert assessments, opinion surveys and the Transparency International Index Advisory board.

In 2007, Yemen scored a 2.5 (compared to the lowest score of 1.4 for both Somalia and Myanmar). However, the organization points out that this score is not a judgment on Yemeni citizens at all. “Corruption by a limited number of powerful individuals, and failure of leaders and institutions to control or prevent corruption, does not imply that a country or its people are most corrupt,” said Transparency International’s 2007 index report.

On Tuesday’s conference, Al-Anesi spoke about the steps that SNACC has taken to build up institutions inside Yemen, such as bettering communication between the different authorities concerned with financial oversight and fighting corruption at the local, national and international levels.

Anticorruption expert and former German Technical Cooperation director, Dr. Hans Elhorst, affirmed the importance of a coalition between the Anticorruption Authority and the governmental bodies that it monitors. He also said that the civil society, media and private sector are crucial to eradicating Yemen’s corruption problem. “I stress the importance of conducting awareness campaigns, because the state is not the only one responsible for anticorruption,” said Elhorst.

“We tried to learn about other countries’ experiences in fighting corruption and what the public opinions are in societies that fight corruption,” said Abu Osba’a. During TI’s visit, SNACC reviewed similar anticorruption programs in other Middle Eastern and North African countries such as Palestine, Morocco and Lebanon.

“TI does a lot regarding anticorruption; first, it consolidates national transparency. It supports the countries that have system of transparency and offers expertise and consultations for countries,” explained Abu Osba’a.

Besides scoring countries on their corruption, TI also ranks the countries according to corruption levels. Yemen is currently ranked at 131 for the year 2007, but Abu Osba’a said that with the effort exerted by the Anticorruption Authority, both Yemen’s score and ranking will improve in 2008.

SNACC officials said that they work on two main objectives. The first one is the systematic and institutional construction of the authority. The second is activating the anticorruption law through three provisions included in it: First, investigation, scrutiny and judiciary follow-up. The second provision is poverty prevention. The third provision is about spreading awareness and educating citizens on the importance of fighting corruption.

Abu Osba’a mentioned that two lawsuits resulting from officials’ financial statements have already been transferred to judiciary. One of the lawsuits concerns Al-Qahira castle in the Taiz governorate, but Abu Osba’a refused to elaborate on the other. She added that SNACC has the right to interfere in any case and has the right to ask for any information from any other Yemeni authority.

The Anticorruption Authority has a department for notifications and complaints, which average citizens can use to report incidents of corruption or fraud that they have witnessed. The authority will then conduct an investigation into the claim and search for evidence carefully before it transfers any lawsuit to the Office of Public Prosecution, said Abu Osba’a. She added that SNACC will also follow up on media reports about corruption.

SNACC is also in the process of amending some laws that contradicts new anti-corruption measure, said Abu Osba’a, adding that the SNACC is also conducting a study with the World Bank to determine the level of corruption in Yemen.

Corruption in Tenders

Filed under: Corruption, Reform, Yemen, govt budget — by Jane Novak at 4:11 pm on Saturday, July 19, 2008

Theres corruption and then theres grand corruption, elite capture of the vast majority of national resources and wealth on an organized and methodical basis. The best report ever I think was the Journalists Against Corruption report Available here. This YO report is a tad confusing on what the numbers mean:

Tender corruption is currently costing millions of dollars worth of public wealth. This came in a statement for the Supreme National Authority for Combating Corruption (SNACC) manager, Ahmed al-Anisi, at a debate organized by the al-Saeed establishment last Thursday.

Al-Anisi said that they cooperated with other authorities to issue cabinet resolutions to cancel all private authorizations. Al-Anisi helped in controlling some important corruption cases, pointing out that both public and opposition press were their source for discovering some of the corruption cases, mentioning the atomic energy case as an example. He reviewed their achievements as realized in the discussion of the scholarship case and the deductions on the students’ bursaries at the higher Education Ministry.

He ensured the recovery of YR 2 billion and YR 600,000, with several cases being referred to prosecution following long tedious procedures…. (Read on …)

1000 Officials Disobey the Law

Filed under: Corruption, GPC, Ministries, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 4:54 pm on Thursday, July 10, 2008

SNACC to refer 1000 officials to prosecution

[05 July 2008]

SANA’A, July 05 (Saba) – The Supreme National Authority for Combating Corruption (SNACC) threatened 1000 governmental officials to be referred to the public prosecution due to not submitting their financial disclosures to the authority.

The head of the Financial Disclosure Sector at the SNACC Mohammad al-Matari said that the authority sent last week messages to 1000 officials in more than 12 ministries indicating to their financial disclosures’ delay, the GPC-run almoatamr.net stated Saturday.

In strongly worded messages, the authority gave a week for those officials to submit their financial disclosures, otherwise it will refer them to the prosecution on charge of refusing implementing the Financial Disclosures Law.

Worth mentioning, SNACC received till the middle of last June 2400 financial disclosures for officials from various government bodies.

Minister of Expatriate Affairs Resigns in Protest

Filed under: Corruption, Elections, Ministries — by Jane Novak at 5:47 pm on Friday, May 30, 2008

Yemen Post

Ten days before announcing the new ministerial reshuffle, Minister of Expatriates Affairs Saleh Sumi’ee resigned from his post in protest against the constant demands by the head of investigation sector at the Anti-corruption committee to pay the due sums for the Yemeni community schools in the Horn of Africa.

Sumi’ee hinted that the head of the education center for community schools Abdul Bari Al-Dhamari embezzled YR 45 million over the years 1998 to 2002 at the leniency of Finance and Expatriates’ Affairs ministries. (Read on …)

8700 Cases of Corruption Among Ministries: SNACC

Filed under: Corruption, Ministries — by Jane Novak at 5:35 pm on Friday, May 30, 2008

Good report by the SNACC. It would be nice if there was any judicial enforcement to back up the investigations. YO

The first comprehensive investigation into corruption in Yemen has revealed 8709 corruption cases in the past 3 years. Astonishingly, 3932 of these occurred in 2007 alone. The offenders were the Ministries of Education, Health and Population, and Labour, Works and Roads. The most corrupt governorates were Ibb, Aden, al-Muhrah, and al-Muhwaid. (Read on …)

Dutch Shocked and Sad

Filed under: Corruption, Donors, UN, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 1:30 am on Monday, May 19, 2008

Me too! Elite capture of donors’ funds is a very tragic and common circumstance. And the Dutch have supported Yemen for a long time in a benevolent manner and really do good work, or try to, until the funds get stolen from the mouths of the hungry people.

Alsahwa.net -The Dutch Embassy in Yemen expressed sorrow over misusing its technical and financial support provided to Shabwa province in the frame of mutual cooperation.

“We were deeply shocked that the three cars supplied by embassy were delivered to members of administrative authority” The Dutch ambassador to Yemen Harry Buikema said in a letter directed to the Shabwa governor Mohammad al-Rwaishan.

Buikema’s letter which Alsahwa.net has a copy of it demanded the governor to offer a final report of the technical and financial support.

“I wish the embassy be able to visit the province through June-July to discuss future cooperation” Buikema said.

A majority of the ruling party in Shabwa had voted in April 2008 for distributing cars granted by the embassy to the heads of the local council amid fierce objection of the opposition members.

YJAC Corruption Report

Filed under: Corruption, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 4:44 pm on Wednesday, May 14, 2008

News Yemen

SANA’A, NewsYemen

Yemen Journalist Anti-Corruption, NGO, has released its first report on corruption for 2007. The report has disclosed cases of corruption in many state institutions.
The report, prepared in cooperation with Yemeni Women Journalist Without Chains, the cabinet, Ministry of Defense and Presidential Office came first in a long list of institutions that practiced corruption in 2007costing the country over YR 452 billion, according to the report. Most of the amount was granted for projects which the government has not planned and studied well, said the report.

The report said the government has not benefited from assistances estimated at YR 7.7 billion due to misconduct. It said the government has been contradictory with transparency policy and has not offered explanation about what it called “undistributed costs” estimated at YR66.5 billion.

Meanwhile, the official website 26sep.net has condemned the report of “the so-called Yemen Journalists Anti-Corruption organization” on corruption cases in different ministries and other institutions”. It said the report was based on individual assessment and inadequate analysis.

The report contained moral and scientific blight as accusations against national institutions, like the Defense Ministry, of corruption have been derived from individual evaluation, said the report.

On the other hand, the Supreme National Anti-Corruption Committee (SNACC), president Saleh formed last year to fight corruption, has denied press reports that the commander of Republican Guards Yahya Mohammad Abdullah Saleh has presented a financial disclosure to SNACC .

Corruption Cases SNACC: Construction, Education

Filed under: Corruption, Ministries, Reform, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:29 pm on Saturday, May 10, 2008

Yemen Observer

The Supreme National Authority for Combating Corruption (SNACC) announced last week that it is finishing investigations on six corruption cases, dysfunctions and financial violations of about YR 20 billion, said Dr. Bilqis Abu Usba’a in a recent report issued by SNACC. This report comes every three months and is submitted to the president and the Parliament as a disclosure of these cases. These cases are among 141 claims that SNACC received since the authority’s establishment last year.

The authority received 78 of these claims in the period from January to the end of March 2008. The authority’s report enlisted the major tasks that they undertook at the first quarter of this year, disclosing that most of the claims are allegations that are not competitive to the corruption concepts, and they are of a procedural judicial type. It said that 16 of these are of an administrative nature which the authority has no legal authorization to undertake.

Regarding the cases that are computable with corruption, the report confirmed that six of them are about to finish, while the others are still under investigation and follow up.

The cases, according to the report that are about to be completed, include Taiz-al-Turba road rehabilitation project, where the authority discovered financial violations amounting to YR 117 million out of the total agreed amount of YR 971 million

The scholarship trustee money of the higher education is also on of the authority’s discoveries, where the their investigations disclosed that there are accumulated trustee money in more than 27 countries, amounting to YR16,081,146,000 during the period 2001-2007.

The investigations on this case showed that there 2053 unauthorized applications, exerting pressure on the ministry and preventing application of equal opportunities, despite the president’s directions not to accept any illegal applications.

The report added that SNACC met with the minister and the relevant officials at the higher education, and agreed to summon the cultural attaches in order to settle the trustee money and to submit them to the prosecution, pursuant to the law.

The two sides agreed that an open meeting will be held for the relevant officials to come to a long term strategy that reconsiders scholarships situations.

The third case concerned the investigations over the Cairo fortress restoration, which disclosed YR3,559,698,000 violations in 2002, amounting to ten times of the project’s original cost reaching an amount of YR118 million.

The violations come under article 30 of the corruption law, notwithstanding the tender laws and the financial systems, on the procedures of the project’s implementation stages.

According to the periodic report the project was contracted in 2002 according to the then prevailing prices, which exceed those of 2007 prices, yet there were no technical designs, specifications, certain amounts in addition to entire absence of engineering observance to the project. This is in addition to granting the contractor reimbursement prices and technical specifications price differences in addition to undeserving transport and risk allowance costs.

The report stated that the authority stopped paying any extra sums to the contractor, and appointed an investigation team to assess the so far accomplished works to settle the real contractor’s accounts. The authority also asked COCA to conduct an audit.

The fourth case concerned the Thamar university staff ‘s claim over fraud in the faculty of engineering’s tender, however the authority addressed the prosecution to proceed on the case which is filed before them. It wrote to the Higher Education Ministry in order to return to work the staff members, who were transferred and replaced by others for filing the case, to their posts and to pay them back all their dues.

The fifth case was over the discovery of the authority that the Expatriate Ministry did not settle their trustee money for support of the East African community schools’ accounts for 1999-2007.

The authority according to the report asked the expatriate ministry to provide the payment documents of 1999-2007, however the ministry did not respond despite the repeated addressing.

In the authority’s report to the president and the Parliament, the authority said that they received 1060 financial disclosure reports at the first quarter of this year raising the total to 1219 during the period of September 2007 up to last March.

Law 30 from 2006 of the Financial Disclosure Act is applicable to all higher officials, higher administrative posts and higher financial posts. It also included the first quarter’s issues, cases being discussed, the resolutions, meetings and activities.

Law 39 from 2006 for anti-corruption stipulates that SNACC should submit unified quarterly reports to the president and the Parliament.

Double Dippers Sacked

Filed under: Corruption, Employment, Reform, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:34 pm on Saturday, May 3, 2008

More good news

Yemen Observer:

A large number state employees numbering 9,600 were fired by the Ministry of Civil Service for failing to give their automated fingerprints on time, said Minister of Civil Service Hamoud al-Soufi last Tuesday.

In a statement to Yemen satellite TV channel, al-Soufi said the decision was taken after the different ministries and state institutions affirmed those employees have over passed the legal period of absence and for not come to give their electronic fingerprints on time. The fired employees are believed to be either ghost employees or ones that had dual jobs and did not want to be discovered they had more than a job.

Also, in its session held last Tuesday, the cabinet ministers approved the decision of the Ministry of Civil Service to adopt the new DERMALOG MultiFinger Biometrics system for payments of all the state employees across the country starting from July 2008. The system will also be used for the employees daily signing in. (Read on …)

Corruption Widespread

Filed under: Biographies, Corruption, Ministries, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:09 pm on Friday, May 2, 2008

Anti-Corruption Parliamentarians May Face Charges For Uncovering Corruption

And what do these percentages mean? How much of the ministry’s budget is lost to corruption?

Yemen Online

YEMEN: Oil, military and security “most corrupted” areas – says report
Sana’a, April 29, 2008 (Yemenonline.info) – Yemen’s Parliamentarians Against Corruption (YEMEN PAC) recently issued a report demonstrating that corruption is widespread in the areas of oil, military and security.

According to the report corruption is spread the most in the fields of oil, military and security.

“Corruption spreads in the oil, military and security areas by 87.2%, 61.8% and 60.9% respectively,” said the report.

A government source firmly denied the content of the report on the multitude of corruption in government sectors.

According to the report, corruption spreads in the areas of health, diplomacy, fisheries and agriculture by 53.6%, 48.1%, 35.4% and 33.6% respectively.

Doha-based Al-Jazeera kept broadcasting excerpts from the report during all its business news briefs on Monday.

The source asserted the government’s right to prosecute those who prepared the report for harming and libeling the country by allegedly providing false information about its institutions.

“The government may also demand lifting diplomatic immunity of those parliamentarians,” the source concluded.

News Yemen

Good for the bio section
(Read on …)

Education Minister Pressured to Give Scholarships

Filed under: Education, GPC, Reform, Yemen, Yemen-Corruption — by Jane Novak at 8:42 am on Monday, April 21, 2008

Yemen Post

Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Saleh Basurah called on dignitaries and social personalities not to exercise more pressure on state to establish new universities, hinting that any expansion in this respect does not serve the development.

Basurah hinted the existing universities have not yet set completely their infra-structure and buildings, adding that his ministry is working at the present time on the preparing higher education law draft which will be referred to the cabinet next month.

Likewise, the ministry is working on academic accreditation system and quality assurance which will be applied on both government and private universities, calling for the establishment of more community colleges instead of universities.

Meanwhile, Basurah threaten to disclose the practices of high-ranking officials and some members of parliament who exercise pressure on his ministry to distribute scholarships for those who do not deserve them and in a way that does not serve the country.

In a meeting involving the anti-corruption authority and Minister of Finance Noman Al-Suhaibi by the end of the last week, Basurah threatened to resign from his post in case he is sued for errors committed by others.

Sources pointed out that Basurah asked the anti-corruption authority to help him rid of the interferences of high-ranking officials in running his ministry’s affairs, or otherwise he would expose the secrets on any satellite channel.

For their part, the anti-corruption authority demanded Basurah to hand in the file of financial and cultural attaches abroad including the attaches of Jordan and Malaysia who failed to submit a financial disclosures.

By the end of the meeting, officials ordered withholding the allocations of all attaches who have not presented their financial disclosures. They also asked for take serious measures against those who delay the payment of students’ money together with starting payment right from the next year through the Ministry of Higher Education only.

16 Billion YR Lost Overseas, Woops

Filed under: Corruption, GPC, Ministries, Reform, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:53 am on Friday, April 18, 2008

Kudos to the SNACA for addressing the issue. Where did the money go? That’s a lot of money.

al-Motamar

Almotamar.net – The Supreme National Anti-Corruption Authority (SNACA) gave Yemeni cultural attaches in Yemeni embassies in 46 countries a 2-month time to settle funds in their charge before it takes measures against them and holds them accountable according to its authorities under the law.

The member of the SNACA, the head of information sector Yassin Abdeh Saeed the funds under care of the cultural attaches in 46 countries that since 2001 have not been settled amount to YR 16 billion, 81 million and 142 thousand, affirming the Authority’s follow-up of this issue with the ministry of higher education.

In this regard the SNACA official praised the cooperation shown by the Yemeni minister of higher education Dr Saleh Basura in this issue and issues of failures of which Mr Saeed the minister opposes them.

800 Tons of Wheat Sold to Dijabouti

Filed under: Agriculture, Corruption, Other Countries, Somalia, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:11 am on Monday, April 7, 2008

Let me guess, the Saudi wheat that was donated to Yemen

ADEN

1800 tons of national goods exported to Somalia, Djibouti

Around 1800 tons of national goods were exported via Muala Sea Port in Aden City on Saturday to Djibouti and Somalia.

The goods exported to Somalia were biscuits, soap and sweets, in addition to 800 tons of wheat to Djibouti.

According to the statistics of the port, 32,752 tons of cement were unloaded in the platform of the port. The port also received on Saturday 1,115 sheep from Somalia.

US Official Praises Yemeni Reform Efforts

Filed under: Corruption, Reform, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 2:59 pm on Sunday, April 6, 2008

al-Motamar

American official advises Islah media to use suitable words
Sunday, 06-April-2008
Almotamar.net – An American official has recently advised those in charge of the media of Muslim Brotherhood in Yemen (Yemeni Congregation for Reform) Islah Party to be keen on using suitable expressions, affirming that the ceremony of signing the assistance to Yemen by the foundation of the millennium challenge has been postponed and not suspended, as it was mentioned in a question put forward by Al-Sahwa newspaper, organ of the Islah party.

In an interview to Al-Sahwa newspaper published in its issue of last Thursday, Director of the American Agency for Development in Yemen Mike Sarhan lauded the Yemeni government commitment to reform in all areas, repeating his confirmation that Yemen has walked a long distance since the convention of London conference in 2006 as it has taken serious reform steps, among them for instance the approval of the law of purchases and legislations of anti-corruption as well as the establishment of the higher committee for tenders and bids.
Responding to a question on delivering the support funds to the Yemeni government for implementing projects and whether there is no confidence in honesty and seriousness of the Yemen government in implementing the projects, head of the American Agency for Development said the question is not a matter of non-confidence in integrity of the government and pointed out that in all the countries where it is present the Agency takes implementing partners close to the communities and areas that the Agency desires for carrying out its programmes and for helping them. Therefore, the Agency engages the beneficiary communities, civil society organisations, the local governments and those entertaining necessary efficiency for implementing services programmes.

The American official said that is not applied to Yemen alone but rather it is the policy of the American agency wherever it is =resent, pointing out that the agency has last year signed an agreement with the Yemeni ministry of planning and international cooperation on carrying out anti-corruption programmes.
On his assessment of performance of the Supreme National Anti-Corruption Authority Mr Sarhan made it clear that any new organisation may need a year or two before it can work and implement the tasks they are assigned to it completely. He said nevertheless that his personal assessment of the authority is very good and added that the American Agency for Development would offer help to the authority for moving to its new premises and provide necessary equipment for it such as computers as well as sending many of its members to several countries like Malaysia and Indonesia for training courses.

Anti-Corruption Committee, Nine Employees and No Office

Filed under: Corruption, Reform, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:06 am on Thursday, April 3, 2008

Yemen Post

Saadaldeen Bin Talib, Supreme National Anti Corruption Committee Member (SNACC):
“For corruption to be fought in Yemen, it will not only require the committee to do their duty, but it will require all citizens to feel the responsibility of fighting corruption in Yemen, and the importance it will have in our life. In the end, the poor will benefit the most when corruption is gone.”

Interviewed By: Hakim ALmasmari ( YEMEN POST STAFF )
Article Date: April 07, 2008

YP: Are there any obstacles faced by The Supreme National Anti Corruption Committee (SNACC)?

ST: Naturally there are some difficulties in the work of our committee. The first is that it was newly established only nine months ago. Secondly, we still don’t have a permanent office that can hold our staff. We don’t have the power to employee enough staff to carry out this task.

YP: What is the percentage of corruption cases that the committee has been able to solve?

ST: Our concern is about the importance of those cases that come and results we give, not the quantity. We have some high-profile cases which have been published in the press including those of the Ministry of Electricity and Ministry of Water. Still, some other cases are in the prosecution. (Read on …)

Aden Port Dubai Deal Still Facing Criticism

Filed under: A-INFRASTRUCTURE, Corruption, Economic, Investment, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 12:08 am on Monday, March 31, 2008

Still not going to the highest bidder, wonder why?

Yemen Post

In a symposium organized by Al-Tagheer.net, economic experts stressed that government should bring the agreement relating to operating and developing Aden Container Terminal before parliament for discussion, and demanded it to act responsibly with this issue because the terminal is of vital economic importance to the country.

The participants also demanded the government to reconsider all agreements as to operating Aden Container Terminal, hinting all the previous agreements are not binding to the country because they harm its interest.

They further stressed that an international tender for operating Aden Terminal should be announced through which qualified and eligible companies can bid, maintaining that the bidding process should be conducted according to the tenders law, together with presenting it to parliament for approval.

Several papers have been presented during the symposium including one paper by Ayman Mohammed Nasser who pointed out that bidding or buying the government institutions should be referred to parliament for approval and later a republican decree should come next.

Political science professor Abdullah Al-Faqih warned against the new agreement signed with Dubai Ports Authority, stressing the agreement wastes Yemen’s financial rights. He also indicated that partnership of 50 percent of profits is not beneficial, and maintained this could lead other bidding companies to sue the Yemeni government.

Al-Faqih added that the bidding of the three companies was as follows:

1. Kuwaiti alliance with $462 million.

2. Philippines International Services with $451 million.

3. Dubai Ports with $297 million, hinting the best bid was offered by the Kuwaiti company and instead of declaring it as the successful bidder or having negotiations, Yemeni government decided to re-ask for new tenders.

In return, former Member of Parliament Salim bin Talib declared that the government withdrew the agreement from parliament in an effort to pass the agreement away from the parliament‘s control, adding that any agreement like that of Aden Terminal should not be signed only under the approval of parliament.

For his part, Mohamed Abdul Majeed Al-Qubati expressed his sorrow over the appalling situation of Aden Terminal, mainly because of the confused and unclear government policies.

Al-Qubati, however, indicated that Aden can be an international port and cited an American report speaking of the possibility of turning Aden Terminal into the most important free zone in the Middle East.

Economists and MPs demanded the formation of a civil coalition to defend Aden Terminal and maintained that it was a famous port in the past.

Yemeni businessman Saleh bin Fareed Al-Surimah pointed out the eligibility of his company Gulf and Kuwait Coalition Company (KGL) to operate and develop Aden Terminal and hinted that several parties cheated and beguiled in an effort to deprive KGL of it.

Al-Surimah emphasized the agreement with Dubai Ports is invalid and it abuses people’s right, hinting that if those people succeed in passing this dubious deal, this could help corrupted officials to pass the selling of other government institutions like Aden Refinery, etc. in the future.

He also requested President Saleh to act according to his constitutional responsibility to stop what he named as misuse and abuse in Aden Terminal because it does not serve the country’s interests.

Blacklist

Filed under: Corruption, Reform, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:23 am on Thursday, March 27, 2008

Government approves contractor, supplier blacklist draft

[25 March 2008]
SANA’A, March 25 (Saba) – Government approved in its regular meeting held on Tuesday a blacklist draft of violators from Yemeni and non-Yemeni contractors, suppliers and consultants in all fields.

A committee is to be formed headed by minister of public works and roads to be in charge of the blacklist that aims at eradicating manipulation and procrastination of carrying out the projects and reducing the problems raising while implementing them.

The committee will follow up the contracts’ implementation level, encourage contractors, suppliers and consultants to improve their professional and economic performance and eliminate delay causes as well as depriving the violators of them from receiving any projects during the fixed time in the blacklist.

YR 1 Billion Funds Recovered

Filed under: Corruption, Reform, Yemen, govt budget — by Jane Novak at 8:05 pm on Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Yemen Observer:

The Public Money Prosecution managed to recover YR1 billion in embezzled public funds in 2007.

Dr. Abdul al-Malik al-A’wash, a lawyer with the Public Money Prosecution, declared that YR1,000,248,747 was recovered in addition to $284,000 and 2300 Euros, due to sequestration and attestation rulings in embezzlement cases in the same year.

Al-A’wash said that they received 1,758 cases in all governorates last year, and 589 of them were considered serious.

Al-A’wash added that verdicts were passed on 202 of these cases, 832 are still undergoing investigation, while 20 were dropped due to lack of jurisdiction. Decisions of absence of right were passed on 204 of the cases. He added that they received 68 cases from the Central Organization for Control and Audit (COCA), asserting that the Capital Secretariats in Aden, Taiz, Hodeida, Hadramout, Lahj and Ibb were the worst offending regions in the public money cases.

Customs Authority Interview

Filed under: Business, Corruption, Ministries, Yemen, smuggling — by Jane Novak at 8:49 am on Sunday, March 9, 2008

CA chairman: Blacklist for violators of customs law due to be issued soon

SANA’A- March 07 (Saba)- Chairman of the Customs Authority (CA) Ali al-Zabidi has revealed that the authority is preparing a blacklist for traders who breach customs law.

In an interview with Saba, al-Zabidi said that solutions to tackle issues of customs need safe measures and care for employee of the authority.

Saba: what are the key reforms taken in Customs Authority during two years ago?

Al-Zabidi: The reforms focused on two domains, one on legislation and the second on administration. The authority worked to review laws associated with customs tariff and correct some customs measures.

Regarding the administrative reforms, the authority has conducted a study over
restructuring the authority, held several training courses for employees, appointed skilled personnel and rehabilitated certain customs outlets in some regions like in Mukalla, and Taiz airport as well as set up new customs centers after agreement with neighboring countries within joint cooperation.

The authority also has supplied these centers with up-to-date customs systems. (Read on …)

Corruption Commission May Bring Charges

Filed under: Corruption, GPC, Ministries, Presidency, Reform, Yemen, govt budget — by Jane Novak at 10:36 am on Thursday, March 6, 2008

Update:

Through looking at the other side of the corruption cycle, the different levels of governance have varying degrees of involvement in corruption, ranging from the baselines to middle and high-level officials. However, the recent formation of the Supreme National Authority for Combating Corruption has raised hopes in the sincerity of government’s efforts towards enhancing transparency and battling corruption.

However, spectators indicate that the anti-corruption commission will have limited success in any anti-corruption reforms, quoting that the commission has distributed over 3000 applications for the disclosure of net wealth to high ranking government officials, while less than 300 officials cooperated with the commission and disclosed their net worth. Challengingly, a source who requested to remain anonymous indicated that the president himself refused a request from the commission to take the lead and disclose his own net worth in order to influence other officials, but the presidential office turned that request down.

It is obvious that the anti-corruption commission will be facing a serious challenge if it is to succeed in its anti-corruption mission; however, the hope relies within the support of the international community and donor organizations such as the World Bank and USAID.

Original Post: The article doesnt mention how many declaration forms were sent out, I think its around 2000. Its a good system. As with everything else, the key will be enforcement. Publishing the names in the newspaper is not enforcement; legal action is. The state cannot be above the law, but it is.

al-Motamar

Almotamar.net – The Supreme National Anti-Corruption Authority (SNACA) in Yemen has on Wednesday threatened to refer all those who are lagging behind in delivering their financial declarations to prosecution to be accounted on heir properties and to be tried on charges of corruption cases in case they did not deliver those declarations as soon as possible.

Head of financial declaration sector at the SNACA Mohammed al-Matari told almotamar.net that the authority would in the next three weeks prepare statements of the names of those who failed to present their financial declarations and sending them to prosecution and trial.

The SNACA has earlier defined a date for all those involves in financial declarations in 60 days from receiving the form but many of those included have delayed in committing to that and that impedes the authority work. Al-Matari said the number of those who delivered their financial declarations from ministers, directors general and government officials is so far 592 persons, indicating to almotamar.net that all the ministers have handed over their declarations while many of directors general still have not delivered their declarations.

This measure comes at a time the authority has revealed that of investigations carried out by officials at the authority in 54 cases of corruption.

Parliament Investigates, the Media Reports

Filed under: Agriculture, Corruption, Ministries, Reform, Yemen, Yemen-Corruption — by Jane Novak at 9:15 am on Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Another hugely corrupt deal. Privatization is an important process for economic growth. It hasn’t gone very well at all. However, this report is very good actually in that the Parliament is investigating corruption and the media is reporting it. That’s the way it is supposed to work. Corruption is countered by transparency and accountability.

On this specific issue, the Ministry of Agriculture is an obstacle to the implementation of the water strategy, with about 90% of water used for agriculture and the vast bulk of that used in qat production. The ministries are not coordinating; some are profit centers for associated individuals while others are pushing to sustain Yemen’s viability into the future. Another example is the Health Ministry whose employees own many of the shops that sell the smuggled pharmaceuticals.

Yemen Post

A report by Agriculture, Irrigation and Fish Wealth Committee at Parliament revealed gross violations by the Supreme Committee for Privatization while selling the General Corporation for increasing genetically improved seeds as the real value was estimated at YR 1.8 billion while it was sold for YR 78.5 million with a difference of YR 1.3 billion.

The report demanded the Public Money Prosecution to act against some Ministry of Agriculture affiliates and Hadramout Deputy Governor for Wadi and Desert Affairs under corruption charges.

The corporation which was established in 1998 as a public company at a capital of YR 75 million and stretches over 6303 m2 was sold to Yemeni businessman Mohammed Al-Hadad.

In 2005, Hathramout members of parliament submitted a complaint to parliament demanding restoration of the corporation and abrogation of the selling operation; however, no action has been taken since then.

Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation is one of the ministries famous for rampant corruption especially in the Provinces Development Authority as is the case with Eastern Provinces Development Authority whose officials were accused of plundering YR 400 million together with $ 20 million under Desertification Fighting Program.

The officials of the authority now own villas and real estates in Sana’a whose total value reaches millions of dollars.

More from the Yemen Observer

The committee for agriculture, irrigation and fisheries in the Parliament has discovered a corrupt deal worth YR1,800,000,000 involving the General Company for Seed Production in Sayoun. (Read on …)

Half Million Embezzled

Filed under: Corruption, Trials, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:44 pm on Friday, February 15, 2008

Yemen Observer

The Primary Court and Prosecution of Public Money announced their judgment in case number 37 of 2003 concerning the embezzlement of money from the Airplane Fueling Administration, an affiliate of the Yemen Petroleum Company, at Sana’a airport. The case was presided over by Judge Abdulrazaq Saeed al-Akohaly and attended by Public Money Prosecutor Ramzi Abdullah al-Shawafi. The first defendant received three years imprisonment and a $360,229 fine. The second defendant will serve two years imprisonment and receive a fine of $110,016. Four of the other suspects were acquitted, while the seventh suspect’s case was closed due to his death.

The total amount which is to be refunded to the public treasury amounted to $479,312, the equivalent of YR49,062,000.

The indictment statement in the Sana’a airplane fueling case cited the embezzled amount at more than $650,000 over a period of ten years. The accused had forged official documents, whose damage was estimated to exceed $130 million.

The court then continued looking into another seven cases. One of these is the case of the forgery of official documents, employment decisions and preparation of fraudulent payroll lists for more than 1,419 persons who were said to have been employed at the Al-Jof health office in 2002, where the accused seized YR 20,142,573 in public funds.

During the session, Judge al-Akhali ordered the public money prosecution to bring the original documents before the second court session in order to determine the liability of each of the suspects, and to submit the documents to the criminal laboratory for analysis of the forged signatures.

The court ordered one of the Ministry of Finance’s deputy ministers to stand before the court, to answer why he had stalled in sending the official documents which the court demanded in order to present them to the accused.

Judge Ali al-Omisi, a member of the Public Money Court, headed a session trying 12 different cases, including one concerned with the issuing of 4 uncovered cheques to the tax department and another for the Ahli bank. There are 4 additional cases of people evading paying zakat.

Customs Exemptions

Filed under: Business, Corruption, Economic, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 6:17 pm on Saturday, February 9, 2008

Customs Authority: Customs exemptions should be abandoned

SANA’A, Feb. 08 (Saba)- Chairman of Customs Authority Ali al-Zabidi has stated that customs exemptions constitute a focus for corruption and, therefore, should be abandoned for this leads to misuse of tax and customs fees.

“I have called for the cancellation of customs exemptions since shouldering responsibility of the Customs Authority as I know the negative impacts and gross financial losses laid on the state treasury,” al-Zabidi said.

He pointed out to Saba that the total customs exemptions the authority granted in 2007 reached around YR 33.3 billion, out of which YR 4 billion under temporary permission system.

Al-Zabidi noted the importance of customs and tax revenues in supporting state treasury, specially under the decline of oil revenues on which state budget mostly depends.

Ministers with good ideas are frequently undermined by others in the administration.

Court Verdicts in Corruption Cases

Filed under: Corruption, Trials, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:19 pm on Monday, February 4, 2008

Its really very good.

A 400,000 fine for 600,000 embezzlement and 130 million damages.

Yemen Observer:
The Primary Court and Prosecution of Public Money announced their judgment in case number 37 of 2003 concerning the embezzlement of money from the Airplane Fueling Administration, an affiliate of the Yemen Petroleum Company, at Sana’a airport. The case was presided over by Judge Abdulrazaq Saeed al-Akohaly and attended by Public Money Prosecutor Ramzi Abdullah al-Shawafi. The first defendant received three years imprisonment and a $360,229 fine. The second defendant will serve two years imprisonment and receive a fine of $110,016. Four of the other suspects were acquitted, while the seventh suspect’s case was closed due to his death.

The total amount which is to be refunded to the public treasury amounted to $479,312, the equivalent of YR49,062,000.

The indictment statement in the Sana’a airplane fueling case cited the embezzled amount at more than $650,000 over a period of ten years. The accused had forged official documents, whose damage was estimated to exceed $130 million.

The court then continued looking into another seven cases. One of these is the case of the forgery of official documents, employment decisions and preparation of fraudulent payroll lists for more than 1,419 persons who were said to have been employed at the Al-Jof health office in 2002, where the accused seized YR 20,142,573 in public funds. (Read on …)

Re-selling free gas

Filed under: Corruption, Crime, LNG, Saudi Arabia, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:38 pm on Thursday, January 17, 2008

Apparently Al-Sahwa accused the regime of re-selling gas donated by Saudi Arabia for the local Yemeni market.

almotamar.net – A source at the office of the prime minister condemned Thursday the series of lies published by the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) newspapers the latest of which fabrications reported Thursday by A-Sahwa newspaper on the government’s sides to sell quantities of gas offered by Saudi Arabia to support the Yemeni government’s efforts in enhancing the gas situation allover the county.

The source expressed his denunciation of such allegations of this newspaper or other papers and media of the JMP and their always lies against the government and the measures it takes for overcoming the economic challenges resulting from the state of instability in world markets of many basic commodities related to the living of the people and alleviation of their suffering.

The source affirmed that the government has the ability to stock and market quantities of gas offered by the Saudi brothers for meeting local needs of gas. He described the newspaper’s reports as mere lies. The source also expressed his denunciation of the lies that have become a state associated to statements of the JMP’ and his media and leaderships.

ah, here we go, from Al-Sahwa

January 17, 2008- Well-informed sources affirmed to Alsahwa.net that officials seeks to buy gas aid granted by Saudi to Yemen.

The sources affirmed that 3,000 out of 30,000 tons of Saudi gas had arrived to Aden port last Friday.

On the other hand, Sources affirmed that Yemen Gas Company allowed to Gas shops owners to buy a gas cylinder for more than its real price, YR 500.

Gas shops owners had threaten to strike if a percentage of prices is not allocated to them, so the government let them add new increase.

Financial Statements

Filed under: Corruption, Ministries, Reform, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 2:20 pm on Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Its a very good law in theory, putting it into practice is facing some difficulty; however a benchmark is always a good thing.

Yemeni minister refuses to submit financial disclosure to SNACC

[16 January 2008]
SANA’A, (Saba)- A member of Supreme National Authority for Compacting Corruption (SNACC), the head of Financial Disclosure Sector Mohammad al-Matari said on Wednesday that SNACC has received 262 disclosures of Yemeni officials.

Al-Matari clarified that one minister has not submitted his financial disclosure till now although he received a formal apply from the authority.

Al- Matari pointed out that Defense Ministry is the 1st official body that submitted more financial disclosures of its personal to SNACC.

Al-Matari re-called all ministry deputies and assistants and general managers in all governmental bodies to submit quickly their financial disclosures according law No. 30 for the year 2006.

He also called the ministries had not submitted lists of the names of their employees included on the low to complete the legal procedures for enabling the authority to receive the 2nd stage of
the financial disclosures.

The law compels everyone of the governmental high-rank employees to submit their financial disclosures over their possessions, their wives’ and sons’ in the country orr abroad to the SNACC that will inspect and follow up these disclosures.Saba

Journalists Against Corruption

Filed under: Civil Rights, Civil Society, Corruption, Media, Reform, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:59 am on Tuesday, January 8, 2008

That is their job, bringing transparency and accountability to public officials, a fundamental component of democracy. al-Sahwa:

January 7, 2008 – Alliance of Anti-corruption journalists has approved a schedule of its activities for 2008 which will start with launching its electronic website, www.yemenjac.net, according to a statement of the alliance.

The alliance will monitor and release all corruption cases and complains published in papers and websites after making sure of its truth.

In a statement, the alliance explained that it would begin papering it’s the first annual report regarding corruption cases mentioned in Yemeni press of 2007.

The alliance elected the former chairman of the Yemeni Journalist Association Abdul-Bari Taher as a spokesman.

Committee for Tenders and Bids Established

Filed under: Corruption, Donors, UN, Presidency, Reform, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:45 pm on Sunday, December 23, 2007

almotamar.net – A presidential decree issued Monday on establishment of a Higher Committee for Tenders and Biddings.

The committee is composed of Mohammed Ahmed al-Junaid chairman and Fawzi Mujahid Abdulqader, Mahmoud Hussein al-Eryany and Mansour Saleh Mohammed Saleh al-Qaeti as members.

The decree stipulated that it is operative from the date of its issuance and publication in the official gazette.

almotamar.net, saba – In its meeting held on Sunday chaired by Premier Dr Ali Mohammed Mujawar , the cabinet ratified eight tenders for improving electricity estimated at YR 3 billion provided by government.

The tenders are about importing electronic equipment, motors, cables, wires and accessories to a number of projects in governorates of Mareb, Thamar and Sana’a.

The cabinet listened to a report of governor of Mareb over needs of the governorate and its districts of electricity and other projects in the light of the inclusive plan approved by the cabinet for boosting development process in Mareb governorate.

The cabinet directed speeding up accomplishing these projects and covering all areas of the governorate with electricity and completing road projects of Mareb-al-Beidha, Safer-Mareb, Safer-al-Noqob and others.

It urged all ministries to follow up implementing the cabinet’s previous decisions regarding Mareb development. The cabinet affirmed the role the local authority has to play to strengthen the process of projects implementation in all areas.

almotamar.net – Head of the Information office of the General People’s Congress (GPC) Tareq al-Shamy on Tuesday said the republican decision on establishment of the Higher Committee of Tenders and Biddings is an embodiment of seriousness of the state pursuit in the process of reforms and fighting corruption.

Al-Shamy said the decision on formation of the committee comes as part of reforms Yemen is witnessing. The reforms system has depended on clear vision concerning development of laws and adoption of transparency principle in all financial, economic and administrative dealings.

The GPC official added that this step comes to be complementary to what has been achieved in independence of judiciary, establishment of the Supreme National Anti-Corruption Authority and amendments of laws related to economic, financial, administrative and judicial measures.

He criticised the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) negative stand concerning the reforms achieved, considering those stands as indicating a wrong understanding of opposition in opposing everything away from the national feeling. He added that the reforms serve the society and homeland.

Huge Corruption Losses, Public Funds Court

Filed under: Corruption, Ministries, Reform, Trials, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 4:53 pm on Tuesday, December 11, 2007

9 mil returned to the treasury

http://www.yobserver.com/local-news/10013429.html

“The Court of Public Money has retrieved $9,801,000 for the State Treasury from corruption cases in 2006 and 2007,” said Mr. Ali al-’Awash, the General Attorney of the Court of Public Money. The number of corruption cases addressed by the public money prosecution from the beginning of 2006 until the middle of 2007 amounted to 2,296.

There were 1,416 cases in 2006 in which the court was able to retrieve the amount of YR 1,279,063,382 as well as $1,023,400. The 880 cases that the court dealt with in the first half of 2007 retrieved an amount of YR 425,816,605, as well as $168,000. Mr. al-Awash said that although the courts dealing with the prosecution of public money were limited in terms of resources and money, they proved their effectiveness in contributing to the fight against corruption.

At a forum held last week in honor of the International Day of Fighting Corruption al-Awash said that the responsibility of fighting corruption requires a real and effective partnership and cooperation amongst all the parties concerned.

In the same way, the Head of the National Supreme Anti-Corruption Authority, Mr. Ahmed al-Anesi, said that the authority is studying several cases of corruption; administrative, fiscal and investigational, and when they reach verdicts these cases will be referred to the concerned sides and the individuals involved will be revealed.

News Yemen

Huge funds returned from corruption cases in 2006 and 2007
09/12/2007

SANA’A, NewsYemen

The National Supreme Anti-Corruption Authority (NSACA) and the legislative and executive authorities have agreed that billions of rials lost due to corruption in the last few years.

Celebrating the World Corruption Day, December 09, they have confirmed the need to combine efforts and ensure partnership between NSACA and eight government and private institutions that are concerned about
Corruption.

Head of NSACA, Ahmad al-Ansi said this day was a good occasion to bring partners in fighting corruption all together to discuss corruption as a public issue, not
the issue of a specific organization.

Al-Ansi called for activating the role of both legislative and executive authorities and developing the supervising bodies as well as society in general to eradicate corruption that damages national economy and hampers development.

We need to prevent corruption before happening, prevention is better than cure, said al-Ansi.

There were 1416 cases raised to the Public Funds Prosecution in 2006, said the lawyer at the Court of Public Funds Ali al-Awash.

Al-Awash said the court could restore over YR 1.279 billion and $1023400 to the Public Fund.

Early in 2007, the court looked at 88 cases of corruption and it could bring back more than YR 425 million and USD 168000, he added.

The head of High Judicial Council Esam al-Samawi said the council has tackled a number of corruption cases and that it has applied effective accountability and
extended inspection campaigns to protect the public funds.

We work together hand by hand with the National Supreme Anti-corruption Authority o fight this threat against our country so that Yemeni people can live
decent life, said deputy speaker of the Parliament Yahya al-Raee.

Head of the Central Organization for Controlling and Auditing (COCA) Abdullah al-Sanafi gave figures showing cases of corruption the COCA has found out in
the last two years.

On this occasion, the UNDP office in Sana’a has confirmed its readiness to help the judicial system and ministry of finance in Yemen prepare and manage transparent budgets in addition to building the capacities of civil society organizations.

Yemen Observer

The Public Funds Court, presided by Judge Abdul Razzaq al-Akehali, continued its examination of 16 different cases that ranged from embezzling and theft to usurpation, all of which involve the misuse of national public funds.

One of the adjourned cases has seen 22 employees from the Ministry of Health stand trial. The case concerned the quadruple cerebro-spinal fever vaccine case in which pilfered funds totaled YR129 million. Another case dealt with the aircraft fuel supply directorate at Sana’a Airport in which financial damages amounted to $613,126 in addition to an embezzled amount of YR2, 141,126. The case was adjourned to gather more evidence.

The same court postponed case No. 31/2005 that involved counterfeit official papers, appointment decrees and employment papers for 1,491 pseudo-employees at Al-Jawf Health Bureau in 2002. The 14 defendants had allegedly usurped the ‘imaginary’ employees’ salaries that added up to YR20, 172,573. The hearing was adjourned in order to collect payrolls bearing the defendants’ signatures.

Another adjourned case dealt with the repair and renovation of the Sam Al-Yemen ship. The Yemeni Economic Corporation (YEC), owner of the vessel, filed the case against the repairs contractor. The YEC’s loss amounted to $800,000. The case was deferred in order to collect further evidence.

Judge Ali al-Omaisi presided over another 12 embezzlement and usurpation cases including four for writing bad cheques addressed to the Tax Authority, two zakah evasions and various thefts in public departments.

In total, the court passed seven verdicts last week. Four cases were ruled to be referred to specialized courts, three others included embezzlements, the circulation of counterfeit money and the theft of public funds.

Illegal Fees for Civil Service Job Applications

Filed under: Corruption, Employment, GPC, Ministries, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:22 pm on Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Yemen Observer

IBB – A number of candidates for jobs in the Ibb health bureau claim to have been blackmailed by officials after submitting their CV’s and other files for the purpose of employment.

The total number of the candidates to be taken on by the office this year is 239. They say they were asked to pay YR 5,000 for each file. The candidates complained about the blackmail to the governor of the province, Ali bin Ali al-Qaissi, last Monday 25th November. The governor has formed a committee to look into the accusations

The committee found officials guilty while they were receiving the files of the candidates last Monday. The committee also received hundreds of complaints from new job seekers against the office of the civil service in the governorate. They accused the civil service of tampering with their dossiers.

Nation wide protests

Filed under: Civil Unrest, Corruption, GPC, Security Forces, South Yemen, Targeting, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:55 pm on Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Wow. From Saada to Aden and lots of places in between

Yemen Times

TAIZ, Dec. 2 — Official and popular celebrations on the 40th anniversary of National Independence Day, which took place from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1, were accompanied by angry and hostile demonstrations against the authority in several Yemeni governorates, notably in Taiz, which hosted the biggest rally. Aden, Lahj, Al-Dhale’, Abyan, Sana’a and Ibb were other governorates that witnessed enraged protests against the government.

Securities can’t prevent the marches

Security authorities failed to prevent citizens from joining the demonstrations, although they closed all outlets to Taiz and opened fire on some people while they were trying to enter the city via entrances other than those containing checkpoints. Three citizens were injured badly in the process. (Read on …)

24 of 94 Officials Submitted Property Statements

Filed under: Corruption, GPC, Ministries, Reform, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:14 pm on Friday, November 23, 2007

almotamar.net – The number of Yemeni cabinet, misters who have so far delivered statements on their property to the Supreme National Anti-Corruption Authority (SNACA) has amounted to 24 ministers out of 94 government officials included by the law. Among the government officials are undersecretaries and directors general at different government institutions. Submissions of those statements began since the beginning of last October in implementation of the law requesting senior government officials to provide statements on their property which was adopted by the Yemeni parliament the mid of July 2006.

The head of the property statements at the SNACA Mohammed Hamoud al-Matari has made it clear to almotamar.net that the Minister of Electricity & Energy Dr Mustafa Bahran has presented to the SNACA his property statement on Tuesday and before him on the same day was the Minister of State for the cabinet and parliament affairs Dr Adnan al-Jifri.

This legal measure that includes the Yemeni ministers for the first time comes in implementation of the law on statement of property and articles of the president of the republic’s electoral platform with regard to fighting corruption and part of the reforms aimed to improve the administrative performance and combating corruption in Yemen.

The law obliges those included to present statements on their property before their assuming of their posts so that the SNACA would be able to hold them accountable after that for any sums of money or property they have acquired during their posts in illegal ways.

Officials counterfeiting formal documents

Filed under: Corruption, Counter-terror, GPC, Reform, Yemen, counterfeiting — by Jane Novak at 1:12 pm on Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Shocker!

Al-Sahwa

November 20, 2007 -The Central Organization for Control and Auditing has referred in the end of October some officials in Haja province to the general prosecution in order to investigate them in the wake of issuing accusations against them by the local authorities.

The head of COCA revealed corruption cases and financial breaches totaled YR 34 million in 2003.

It explained that the officials are involved in seizing of public money, counterfeiting formal documents and other financial and administrative breaches.

COCA asked in its document to the Attorney-General to hold all the involved officials accountable.

Parliament Threatens No Confidence Vote

Filed under: Corruption, Donors, UN, Economic, Ministries, Parliament, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 6:53 pm on Monday, November 19, 2007

ah, the Interior Minister

YO:
Parliament has summoned the government for questioning, demanding them to carry out its recommendations or resign if it didn’t implement its recommendations concerning the 2005 budget.

During the Nov 7 session, many MPs suggested giving the government one month or two months to rectify financial irregularities put the perpetrators on trial, or face a vote of no confidence.

“We spent around YR40 million preparing this report on the 2005 budget. If the government will not carry these recommendations, that is giving carte blanche to corruption,” said Abdul-Aziz Gobari, MP.

“The government must implement our recommendations during the next two months or a new government must be formed, as would happen in other countries,” Gobari said.

“Every minister must form a committee in his ministry in light of the report of parliament to check for financial violations in economic units and funds under the ministry.

Then those ministries must bring violators to trial within two months,” said Mohammed al-Qadhi, MP

“The special funds have proved a complete failure. The Drugs Fund has left 75 percent of its budget unspent while all hospitals are suffering from a shortage of medicine,” Abdullah Ba-Mo’ili, MP said.

Ba-Mo’ili said that the Roads and Bridges Fund was the worst. In one year, there have been more than 60.000 accident in highways which resulted in 75.000 injured citizens. He added that in his opinion, the funds must have been embezzled.

Parliament has discovered the embezzlement of over YR4 billion in current expenditures in the government’s budget. This was stated in a report issued by the Special Parliamentary Committee and the Central Organization for Control and Auditing, who were charged with reviewing the accounts. Violations were found in particular in the independent and supplementary budgets for special funds in 2005.

The report confirmed that those bodies did not implement the repeated recommendations of Parliament to reduce expenditure. This corruption shows how the government estimated its budget figures incorrectly when it prepared both independent and supplementary budgets.

In terms of cash expenditures, the report showed that local authorities are not able to exploit budgets, but that leaders of local authorities are keen to abuse current expenditures. The committee also noted that these authorities have not been able to increase their revenues. This reflects a lack of coordination in revenue collection.

In terms of special funds, the report revealed that the aggregate of abused resources in 23 funds exceeded YR22 billion, which constitutes some 23 percent of the total budget (YR71 billion).

Corruption occurred in the Fund for Maintenance of Roads and Bridges, the Social Fund for Development, the Military Fund, and the Retirement Fund, all of which are under the control of the Interior Ministry. Also included in this list were the funds for Caring and Rehabilitation of Handicapped People and the fund for Encouraging Agricultural and Fish Production.

The report noted that some local authoritiesí incomes had increased due to their investments in treasury bills and bank deposits. The report revealed that this increase of capital income is not a result of better performance by those authorities, but of rising interest on treasury bills, as well as an increase in currency interest rates during 2005.

Local authorities spend money freely because of their financial independence. There are no regulations governing the allocation of funds in expenses, wages or bonuses. The report suggested that a policy to rationalize expenditure should be enacted to prevent further embezzlement of public funds.

Powered Corp Nuke Deal Dead

Filed under: Corruption, Electric, Yemen, govt budget — by Jane Novak at 8:14 pm on Thursday, November 8, 2007

Yemen Observer

Al-Anesi, the NSACA chairman, said that reacting in this way was beneath the dignity of the Electricity minister. “We sent a letter to the Cabinet telling them not to commit the country to anything in advance and we are not accusing Bahran of anything,” said al-Anesi. “The NSACA, like everybody else, read what was written in the papers about the deal and it attracted our attention. We called the stock market in the United States and asked for information on Powered Corp. and found that the company has never carried out any business in the field of building nuclear plants and its capital is only $500,000. The deal was supposed to be worth $15 billion,” he said.

According to al-Anesi, all of this information was sent to the Cabinet, which decided to cancel any deals with Powered Corp. He added that it was not in the best interest of the Minister of Electricity to further discuss the issue, as neither his post nor his name were mentioned to the Cabinet.

COCA: 23% of Budget Lost to Corruption

Filed under: Corruption, Employment, Ministries, Reform, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:37 am on Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Yemen Observer

Parliament has revealed the embezzlement of over YR4 billion in current expenditures in the government’s budget. This was stated in a report issued by the Special Parliamentary Committee and the Central Organization for Control and Auditing, who were charged with reviewing the accounts. The violations were specifically found in the independent and supplemental budgets of special funds in 2005.

The report confirmed that those bodies did not institute the repeated recommendations of Parliament to reduce expenditure. This corruption demonstrates how the government incorrectly estimated its budget figures when it prepared both independent and supplementary budgets.

In terms of cash expenditures, the report indicated that the authorities are not able to exploit budgets, but that leaders of the authorities are keen to abuse current expenditures. The Committee also noted that these authorities have not been able to increase their revenues. This reflects a lack of coherence in revenue collection.

In terms of special funds, the report revealed that the aggregate of abused resources in 23 funds exceeded YR22 billion. This constitutes some 23 percent of the total budget funds (YR71 billion). (Read on …)

MP: Saleh Not Sincere in Fighting Corruption

Filed under: Corruption, Donors, UN, Parliament, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:10 am on Wednesday, October 31, 2007

No, he’s not. If he was, he’d put himself in jail, and his relatives:

SANA’A, NewsYemen : The government is not earnest to fight corruption which has become a real threat against development, said member of Anti-Corruption Parliamentarians Salim bin Talib.

“The financial corruption is widely spread out in the country and risks economic and social development,” said bin Talib. “Reports of the Central Organization of Controlling and Auditing and the admissions of officials in the government confirm this.”

Bin Talib praised the government’s steps such as forming the National Anti-corruption Authority and issuing the Tenders Law, but said such steps have been taken to meet international requests “not to really fight corruption”. (Read on …)

Corruption Prosecutions

Filed under: Corruption, Judicial, Ministries, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:39 am on Thursday, October 25, 2007

Thats new.

Al-Motamar

almotamar.net – The Yemeni ministry of transport on Sunday turned over a number of officials to the general prosecution after it was proved they were involved in financial and administrative violations, an action comes under the efforts the government is exerting for fighting corruption.

Reliable sources at the ministry of transport said the leadership of the ministry sent a director general and number of administrative units at the ministry to the general prosecution for their involvement in financial and administrative violations.

Althawra.net website quoted sources at the ministry as saying the officials were turned over to the prosecution after preliminary investigations proved their committing of those violations. The sources pointed out that the measures are part of the treatments and reformation of some failures in the ministry and combating corruption as well as protection of public property.

Official sources had mentioned last week that a number files of influential personalities, politicians, military and security officials and some of those considered to be part of the authority would be referred to the Supreme National Anti-Corruption Authority in prelude to send them to the general prosecution, among them a former defence minister in addition to persons in the government and parliament.

These measures are part of implementation of president Ali Abdullah Saleh’s programme and the programme of the General People’s Congress government that stipulated fighting financial and administrative corruption and part of the package of reforms Yemen is implementing with the help of the World Bank.

Al-Iryani, Former Prime Mininster and Presidential Advisor, A Thief?

Filed under: Corruption, GPC, Ministries, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 11:23 am on Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Six mil, peanuts.

It shows the power of the press in holding government to account. However, there is no independent law enforcement agency to investigate the charges, and there is no independent court to try the case.

From the Empty Quarter:

The Marib Press is running a piece by their favorite correspondent-at-large Munir al Mawri claiming that the former Prime Minister, Advisor to the President and GPC bigshot Abdul Karim al Iryani has been doing naughty stuff with the peoples’ money.

Al Mawri is also the reporter that brought attention to the Nuclear deal with Powered Corp and its executive Jalal Alghani. This guy has obviously made a name for himself as a corruption buster, as someone with access on the inside of the party has emailed him the documents for this one.

In the article, al Mawri says he has documentation, going back three years, which shows the that the good Dr. has been embezzling funds and writing a number of hot checks without the available funds…to the tune of 1.25 billion rials (about US $6.3 million). He claims that al Iryani has embezzled large amounts of money from loans taken out for government and party projects – specifically, sums sent to a “Future Press -Beirut.” It is also claimed the al Irayani was involved in embezzlement during the latest campaign of President Saleh.

Update: Al-Mithaq sues for liable: Director General of Al-Mithaq Adel Mohammed Qaed said the slander campaign against the Al-Mithaq Establishment is an attempt paid for aimed at hindering its work with the aim of deformation and offence.

Embassy Corruption

Filed under: Corruption, Education, Ministries, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:41 am on Monday, October 15, 2007

Embassy employee steals students stipends:

News Yemen

Kuala Lumpur, NewsYemen

Some 300 Yemeni students at the Malaysian Multimedia University have decided to make a sit-in next week outside the Yemeni Embassy in Malaysia protesting to the cultural attaché’s delay to pay the tuition fees since years.

According to its internal system, the university has barred Yemeni students and prevented them to check their results until they pay charges. They said the decision of the university came suddenly while they were doing the exam of the first semester of 2007. (Read on …)

Freedom House: Yemen is Not An Electoral Democray

But it does a very good imitation of one.

Yemen Times

Yemen held presidential and local council elections in September 2006. President Ali Abdullah Saleh was reelected with 77 percent of the vote, and his party, the General People’s Congress, overwhelmingly won the municipal elections. The balloting was marred by some violence and opposition accusations of fraud. Serious press freedom violations, including the closure of newspapers and detention of journalists, also accompanied the election season.
(Read on …)

Salary Anarchy Reigns

Filed under: Civil Unrest, Corruption, Education, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:02 am on Thursday, October 4, 2007

Politicized employment

The 2005 Wages Strategy issued after the fuel riots has never been fully or perhaps equally implemented

Yemen Times

Sana’a governorate teachers to protest delay of cashing hardship allowance

Yemen teachers and educational professions syndicates in Sana’a governorate are due to organize a sit-in on Saturday in protest against the delay of cashing hardship allowances to more than 3400 teachers, the newspaper reported in a front page article. It added that both syndicates released a statement saying the government hasn’t fulfilled its pledges to pay the accumulated sums of hardship allowances accrued to teachers like it did in other governorates nationwide.

According to the statement, teachers will escalate their protests until they grow into massive strike from work in event the Ministry of Education doesn’t pay them the accumulated sums of hardship allowance without any illegal deductions. Over the past time period, teachers and educational professions syndicates organized protests nationwide, thereby compelling the government to meet their demands.

Nuclear Yemen Continued

Filed under: Corruption, Electric, Medical, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:51 am on Thursday, October 4, 2007

The financial assests of the corporation are extremely limited:

Yemen Times:
It all started over a year during the publicity campaign of President Saleh for the Sept 2006 presidential elections, when he first declared that Yemen has a nuclear ambition; “we will generate electricity using nuclear technology” President Saleh said. Following that declaration, Mustapha Bahran –head of the Yemeni National Atomic Energy Agency, publicized the idea in his speeches and media events, articulating how the idea of nuclear power in Yemen is doable either through outsourcing the nuclear reactor or building one on-shore, the publicity campaign continued until Bahran got promoted to the post of the Minister of Electricity, and, eventually, inked an agreement with a U.S. based company to construct Yemen’s first nuclear reactors. (Read on …)

Yemeni Govt: More Corrupt than Ever

Filed under: Corruption, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:49 pm on Sunday, September 30, 2007

Al-Sahwa:

September 27, 2007 -According to the annual survey prepared by the Berlin-based organization Transparency International, Yemen is ranked 132nd with a score of 2.5 .

The report said that Yemen fell 21 points compared with the last year’s repot when it was ranked 111th .

The report also revealed deterioration of many Arab states in anti-corruption indexes.

The scores range from ten (squeaky clean) to zero (highly corrupt). A score of 5.0 is the number Transparency International considers the borderline figure distinguishing countries that do and do not have a serious corruption problem.

More at the Yemen Times

Hoarding Wheat

Filed under: Business, Corruption, Yemen, poverty/ hunger — by Jane Novak at 9:22 am on Thursday, September 13, 2007

during Ramadan no less, how mean

It was probably these two who did the same thing last year and there was no penality then: “We cannot force them to market the discovered flour without the cooperation of the other concerned authorities, especially the Ministry of The Interior, the public prosecutors, and judiciary authorities,” said al-Kumaim.

SANA’A, NewsYemen

The daily report of Operations Room in the Ministry of Trade and Industry, issued Wednesday, said that the field committees to supervise prices stability had found that two merchants monopolize a huge quantity of wheat and flour.

It said the two businessmen Al-Kaboos and Fahim had closed their stores, which are full of wheat and flour, against citizens while the local markets are witnessing a sharp shortage of these two food materials and an awful price increase.

The report, NewsYemen got a copy, said the committees could also during its field inspection to seize some violations in Hamadan district of Sana’a included decreasing the size of wheat and flour bags and selling pesticides in some public shops, in addition to 40 infringements related prices of some commodities.

The report said such breaches had been raised to the governor of Sana’a province to take the penal measures against those monopolize foods and make crises.

The report said that three trucks belong to the Yemeni Economic Corporation has unloaded tons of wheat and sold it to people in Shamlan and Al-Lakmah in Sana’a with the official price YR 3700.

Courts Networked

Filed under: Corruption, Judicial, Reform, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:26 am on Tuesday, September 11, 2007

good

Al-Motamar
almotamar.net – Yemen’s Minister of Justice Dr Ghazi Shaif al-Aghbari said Sunday network linking of courts currently implemented in five major governorates as a first phase comes as part of reforms the ministry is carrying out in 2007 in implementation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh election platform, affirming that the project will be finished in the next few months.

The minister said the network connection will enable the judicial monitoring committee to watch work of courts and judges and follow up the case under consideration and the case decided for spelling out verdict.

The system, the minister said, would make it easier to follow up judicial procedures taken with regard to each case and to know the ones that are delayed and the reasons behind that and that will solve part of the problem of inability of the judicial cadre at the judicial inspection body.

During his visit on Sunday to the Appeals court at the capital, the first instance commercial court and the two sections of commercial appeal sections and the western capital court the minister inspected the work of judges on duty during the judicial vacation, urging them to commit to instructions regarding urgent cases that must be decided during the judicial vacation.

Ambassadors

Filed under: Corruption, GPC, Ministries, Presidency, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:50 pm on Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Faisel Abu Rais is the GPC Member of Parliament who resigned in 2006, I think it was, protesting corruption. Now he’s the Ambassador to Lebanon:

almotamar.net – Ali Hamid Sharaf and Mansour Ahmed Saif have on Wednesday taken constitutional oath before President Ali Abdullah Saleh on the occasion of their appointment members of the Shoura Council.

Taking constitutional oath also before the president on Wednesday on their appointment as ambassadors were Faisal Amin Abu Ras, ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of Yemen to Lebanon, Dr Ali Mansour Bin Saffaa, ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to Bahrain, Dr Khalid Rajih Sheikh, ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to Kuwait, and Abdulrahman Khamis Ubaid, ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to the sultanate of Oman. (Read on …)

New Demonstrations in al-Dhalie Raise Flag of PDRY

Filed under: Civil Rights, Corruption, Security Forces, South Yemen, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:00 pm on Tuesday, September 4, 2007

And everybody everywhere is still pissed off about Al-Khaiwani:

Al-DAlEI, NewsYemen

Raising the flag of former Yemeni Democratic Republic in southern Yemen, protesters in a new protest in al-Shaeeb area of al-Dalei shouted slogans against “the government of crises” and denounced the arrest of pensioners in Aden and Hadramout and the journalist Abdul-Karim al-Khiwani, affirming requests should be met.

We strongly condemn shooting at unarmed protesters and assaulting them in Aden and Mukalla last Saturday as they were peacefully demonstrating their legal rights, said the Yemeni Socialist Party’s secretary and member of local council in al-Dalei Qasem Saleh.

We can see now that Hadramout and Aden, the cities of civilization and history has become full of military camps and checking points and completely blocked, said Saleh.

Head of Youth Without Jobs Society Ali Abdul-Rab supported the rally and said in his speech that the government has “double standards” and confirmed that the requests of retired soldiers and civilians are legal. He encouraged the protests that he said could refuse “wrong policies based upon confiscating the personal rights and properties, increasing hunger, oppressing people and damaging the country’s resources.”
The protesters warned the government to release detainees and to stop the policy of domination and its attempts to make rights advocates voiceless, according to the statement of the rally in al-Shaeeb.

The movement of change is going ahead everywhere in the country and it is now disintegrating the strongholds of corrupts who will meet the requests by hook or by crook, said the statement.

Oil Production Down 42%

Filed under: Corruption, Economic, Ministries, Oil, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:58 am on Sunday, August 26, 2007

Does this mean there is 42% less payola?

Reuters

The Yemeni government’s share of oil output declined by 42 % in the first half of this year, posing a challenge to the country’s economic growth, a senior official said on Saturday.

The government’s share of total oil production fell to 20 million barrels in the six months to June 30 from 34.5 million barrels in the year-earlier period, Prime Minister Ali Mohammed Megawar said.

The value of oil production fell to $1.2 billion in the period from $2.2 billion last year, Megawar told a meeting of the ruling People’s Congress Party.

The decline in oil production in Yemen “is a real challenge to the national economy although there are positive indicators promising new discoveries of oil and gas”, Megawar said.

President Ali Abdullah Saleh said at the same meeting that Yemen’s oil production stood at 300,000 barrels per day (bpd).

Oil Minister Khaled Mahfoudh Bahah said in May that Yemen wanted to boost its oil output to 500,000 bpd, without giving a timeframe.

The country planned to offer 10 offshore oil and gas exploration blocks in a bidding round for international firms in the third quarter, Bahah had said.

Yemen Moving Forward on EITI

Filed under: Corruption, Donors, UN, Ministries, Oil, Reform, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 3:14 pm on Tuesday, August 21, 2007

thats excellent, really good news

SANA’A, NewsYemen

The Ministry of Oil and Minerals along with the World Bank held on Sunday a meeting on “an initiative to set up a Yemeni transparency council” in light of Yemen’s joining to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).

Yemen was the first Arab country to join the EITI, said the minister of oil and minerals Khalid Bahah. It is number almost 23 in the EITI members list, he said.

Baha praised the role of the EITI as an international tool to enhance transparency and eliminating the global corruption and increasing accountability.

“The EITI was set up to increase the level of transparency in all oil-rich countries so that people can know exactly oil, gas and mining revues,” said Bahah.

“This enable those countries to improve the management of such revenues to have strong sustainable economics and fight poverty”, Bahah added.

The minister said that the new Law of Tenders and Auctions, the National Anti-Corruption Authority and having free media and interactive civil society organizations and the Central Organization for Controlling and Auditing (COCA) are all means to establish a good governance.

The World Bank’s representative Anowar al-Warak has talked about the WB’s support to the Yemeni transparency council project, pointing that EITI enable societies to get accurate information about the revenues of oil, gas and other resources as well as the way the governments expend them.

Al-Warak said after joining EITI, Yemeni people could know more about the revenues of oil, gas and mining and the way they are being run. The initiative supports accountability and transparency of the government revenues, he said.

The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) supports improved governance in resource-rich countries through the verification and full publication of company payments and government revenues from oil, gas, and mining. The Initiative works to build multi-stakeholder partnerships in developing countries in order to increase the accountability of governments.

Good governance is a precondition for converting large revenues from extractive industries into economic growth and poverty reduction. When transparency and accountability are weak, the extractive industries may instead contribute to poverty, corruption, and conflict- the so-called “resource curse.” The EITI is an important step in defeating this “curse.”
The primary beneficiaries of EITI are the governments and citizens of resource-rich countries. Knowing what companies pay and what governments receive is a critical first step to holding decisionmakers accountable for the use of revenues. Resource-rich countries implementing EITI can benefit from an improved investment climate by providing a clear signal to investors and to international financial institutions that the government is committed to strengthening transparency and accountability.

For more information about EITI, please visit: www.eitransparency.org

Corruption, Waste and Mismanagement in the Fisheries Sector

Filed under: Corruption, Economic, Fisheries, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 6:06 am on Thursday, August 16, 2007

Tourism is shot, the port isn’t under construction yet, and the fisheries are doing very poorly indeed.

Yemen Times

Although Yemen has a long coastline stretching for over 2000 kilometers across the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden and Arab Sea, Yemen’s marine wealth has been facing a number of obstacles towards proper utilization of this asset. Yemen’s marine wealth is estimated at 850 thousand tones allowing the production of 350-400 thousand tones per annum to maintain sustainability; however, Yemen’s annual production did not exceed 290 thousand tones, mainly generated through the unorganized fishing sector consisting of around 65.000 fishermen according to official numbers.

Furthermore, the remote governorate of Al-Mahara, which accommodates around 90,000 people (0.45 percent of population), is responsible for producing around 98.1 thousand tones of fisheries, estimated at over 41.5 percent of the country’s total fisheries production, while other coastal governorates such as Hodieda and Aden are responsible for 9 percent and 4.9 percent of fisheries production respectively.

It is noted that Al-Mahara’s fisheries production been growing in spite of the limited government interference and the underdeveloped financial and services infrastructure which might be offered to fishermen, apart from the non-existence of private-sector enterprising initiatives which can develop the fishing industry in the governorate. This fact indicates that Al-Mahara governorate has promising potential to further increase the production of fisheries, while showing the strong contrast with the production of other governorates.

Corrupt Ministry of Marine Wealth

A recent parliamentarian report accused the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Wealth of being the biggest obstacle against the development of the fisheries industry in Yemen, the report accuses the ministry of issuing and renewing licenses to local and foreign fishing companies to fish within 4 and 5 miles from the coast, in spite of an existing law which forbids issuing licenses for fishing companies within 21 miles from the coast. Marine experts indicate that shallow waters are breeding grounds for many types of fish as it protects them from sea currents, while fishing within this area is hazardous to the reproduction of fish and seriously diminishes the sustainability of marine wealth. (Read on …)

Watani Bank Verdicts Appealed

Filed under: Corruption, Crime, Trials, Yemen, banking — by Jane Novak at 9:32 am on Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Almotamar.net – Judicial source said Friday the appeals section at the Specialised Criminal Court has fixed Saturday a date for holding the first sitting for trying chairman and members of the Watani Bank board of directors.

The source clarified to almotamar.net that the general prosecution appealed the preliminary verdict passed on 13 of last March as the punishment was not proportionate to what is stipulated in the law, demanding for inflicting the severest punishments in the case of embezzlement and betrayal of trust by chairman and members of the bank board of directors and facilitation for themselves and others control on money and savings of contributors and depositors estimated at more than YR19 million.

The first instance section in Sana’a under chairmanship of Judge Najib al-Qadiri issued its verdict on 13 March 2007 against the defendants with imprisonment of the first accrued in the bank embezzlement case Ahmed Ali Hamoud al-Hamdani for two years and he would be responsible for loans and facilities granted without guarantees.

The verdict also included the imprisonment of four other defendants in the case for eight months each and gave one year imprisonment to other three of the condemned in the case.

The prosecution has accused 11 defendants, 9 of whom from the board of directors of the bank, charging them with betraying trust and facilitating for themselves and others putting their hands on funds of the Watani Bank for Trade and Investment. Those funds were from savings of contributors and depositors and were estimated at more than YR 19million.

Corruption Kills Diabetics

Filed under: Corruption, Medical, Ministries, Yemen, drugs — by Jane Novak at 4:10 pm on Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Yemen Times

During their latest press conference, in response to questions about the shortage of drugs in several governorates, the greatest shortage being of insulin, the director of the Drug Fund indicated that limitations in drug availability are the product of a reduction of the Drug Fund’s budget from 3.5 billion Yemeni riyals to 1.45 billion Yemeni riyals.

One patient expressed their shock at the director’s revelation, stating, “As a patient my reaction is that I am horribly terrified by this news and a person like me is undoubtedly dead either influenced by those declarations in this respect or by actual lack of such indispensable drugs.”

At Thamar General Hospital, several diabetes patients came for their scheduled treatment, only to be turned away due to an insulin shortage. “For three days I came from Yarim and they told me it [insulin] was not available. Both I and my sister are infected and we do not have money to buy this medicine from a private pharmacy,” Nabil Nasser Al-Faqeeh stated, adding, “When I don’t use insulin it leaves very bad consequences on my health. Thus, the only alternative here is the private sector with its expensive prices, which are beyond my ability.” He implored concerned officials to have some mercy and provide enough insulin for health centers. Mr. Al-Faqeeh is just one of many patients who are suffering from a lack of required medicine to treat their illnesses.

Essam Al-Shami, a patient in Wesab province, told Yemen Times, “I came to the health center in the countryside to get myself cured. I got tablets that have no positive effect on me because I am still suffering from a very bad stomachache. Tablets are put in small plastic cases and this is not a good way to [package] medicine. Even the way of dealing with such drugs creates my distrust about their efficiency and maybe they are expired because of putting them in plastic cases.” He added, “This is, in my point of view, a result of the absence of supervision and following up by the concerned officials. Through your newspaper I invite and ask the minister of public health to make inspection campaigns and to pay frequent sudden visits to the public hospitals and such health centers. In this way he is going to discover several problems that could get solutions and lead to a better health change.”

Public Drugs Sold to Private Sector

Although there are adequate drugs, many are stolen and sold to the private sector, according to an official source in the Supreme Drugs Authority. The source states that birth control belonging to the Ministry of Health has been discovered being sold in private pharmacies at Al-Jumhori Hospital. There are many drugs belonging to the Ministry of Health being sold secretly to the private sector during distribution among governorates, the same source indicated. Currently, investigation of two suspects is underway. Secret investigation committees have also been formed in Sana’a, Taiz and Hodeidah in order to determine if drugs belonging to the Ministry are in fact being sold to the private sector.

The Problem of Centralization0

Dr. Najeeb Ghanim, ex-health minister and current chairman of the health committee in Parliament confirmed receiving several complaints regarding corruption in the health sector.

Centralization is one of the main causes of this problem, as imported drugs are stored in one central location and not distributed to public hospitals and health centers immediately. According to Dr. Ghanim, delayed distribution increases chances for the drugs to be stolen and then sold to the private sector. He added, “There is a big problem, from which the health sector suffers, [and that is the] sharp shortage of life-saving drugs such as kidneys drugs, drugs for incurable diseases like cancer and cirrhosis and drugs for chronic diseases such as saccharine, high blood pressure and so on.”

Dr. Ghanim has spoken out about the existence of expired drugs and drugs that do not meet property quality specifications. He also indicated that funding for drugs is inadequate, averaging $1.50 per patient. Funding needed amounts to around 6 billion Yemeni riyals whereas the current funding lags at one billion two hundred Yemeni riyals.

Struggle Between Ministry of Health & Medical Companies

During a July 4th demonstration, considered the first of its kind in Yemen, kidney patients demanded that the ministry stop importing “fake medicines,” accusing the ministry of buying uncertified medicine at low costs and then charging patients highly inflated prices.

Minister of Public Health Dr. Rasae accused major medical companies, blacklisted by the Ministry of Health, of devising a campaign against the ministry.

Such conflict between the ministry and medical companies does nothing to solve medication shortages. In the end, Yemeni citizens who rely on public access to such medicine are the ones who suffer.

Judges and Police Most Corrupt, Study

Filed under: Corruption, Judicial, Security Forces, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 5:04 am on Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Affirming other studies

Yemen Times

Yemeni individuals and groups, including civil society organizations and political parties, agree that bribery is rampant within Yemen’s various governmental institutions, however, there is disagreement regarding its volume, reasons and consequences.

The Yemeni Polling Center conducted a study on bribery in 2006 and included responses of 699 informants from Sana’a, Taiz, Aden, Al-Hodeidah and Sa’ada.

Volume

The overwhelming majority of study participants believed that the rate of bribery within government is high. Around 78 percent declared that bribery is rampant in all governmental institutions, while 16 percent declared that bribery is only existent in some governmental institutions. A little over three percent mentioned it being existent in very few governmental institutions, while less than one percent believed it to be non-existent. Less than one percent either declined to answer or answered, “I don’t know.”

(Read on …)

Efforts to Counter Money Laundering Insufficient

Filed under: Corruption, Counter-terror, TI: Internal, USA, Yemen, banking — by Jane Novak at 9:11 am on Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Well thats a shocker:

SANA’A, July 15 — Reacting to a report released recently by the US Department of Treasury and concerned with the money laundering, the Head of the Anti-money Laundering Committee at the Central Bank of Yemen Ahmed Ghaleb assured that Yemen is not a center for money laundering or financing terrorism, hinting that the American report is inauthentic.

Ghaleb noted that the information upon which the US Department of Treasury relied while preparing the report is not correct as Yemen is not a regional or international financial center and it has a limited economy.

He added that all money transfers and orders are observed by the concerned authorities within the frame of laws that control the mobility of capitals, stressing that Yemen is not a suitable environment for money laundering. (Read on …)

Public Works Ministry Reforms

Filed under: A-INFRASTRUCTURE, Corruption, Ministries, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:07 am on Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Almotamar.net – The Yemen’s ministry of public works decided Saturday to undertake paving streets with asphalt through its establishments to avoid repeating what it described as contractors manipulation and mistakes. It decided that contractors role will be confined to cutting and slabbing streets. At the same time the ministry changed 13 directors general and administration directors in the ministry and its institutions.

An official source at the ministry told almotamar.net that a ministry decree has been issued recently stipulating the effecting of central units for works in all governorates of Yemen.

The source indicated that each of the central units are composed of three engineers entertaining high experiences to supervise directly the projects in governorates in return for each employee in the unit is paid YR 250 thousand wages and prevents contractors implementing projects the paying of any sums.

The source also mentioned about efforts by the minister of public works to confirm what the law stipulates of transferring 3% of each project to the ministry’s account as supervision allowance and the ministry of finance undertakes deduction of the sum and transfers it to the ministry’s account.

The source affirmed that the changes made by the ministry confirms the ministry’s serious seeking of administrative and financial reform and improving income level of the ministry’s employees income. He said it has been adopted the linking of incentives and rewards criteria to the level of performance and discipline in work of employees.

Anti-Corruption Council a Sham from the Get-go

Filed under: Corruption, Reform, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 1:57 pm on Thursday, June 28, 2007

480 candidates were originally submitted, the Shura council threw out most of them. JMP walks out.

Sana’a, NewsYemen

The Parliament members, 158 out of 301 members, elected on Monday the members of the National Anti-Corruption Authority after suspending election for weeks.

According to the vote of the Parliament, majority of which affiliate with the General People’s Congress, the results were as follows:
Ahmad al-Anisi, Bilquis Abu Esba, Mohammad al-Matari, Abd Rabu Jarada, Yasin Abdu Saeed, Sadaddin bin Taleb, Ahmad Qerhash, Ezaddin al-Asbahi, Mohammad Sanhob, Obeid al-Hamar and Khalid Abdul-Aziz. All of them belong to the ruling General People’s Congress Party.

Parliamentary blocs of opposition parties withdrew from the vote protesting to the vote measures, which they described as “illegal”.

Head of Islah bloc Zaid al-Shami, who read the joint statement of Joint Meeting Parties before leaving the session, said that the committee in charge of checking out documents of candidates for the authority membership has found that some documents have been incomplete as those candidates have not given a good conduct recommendations from their employing offices to prove their candidacy. “This was the most important condition of nomination,” he said.

He added that this condition is meaningless for some candidates “because they are either undersecretaries of some ministries or deputy governors”. “It is normal that they get testimonies of good conduct from their employing offices”, said al-Shami.

Al-Shami advised the Parliament leadership that persons who are supposed to fight corruption must have full desire to do so.

“We know some of these candidates have not desire to fight corruption simply because they do not believe they is corruption to fight and they have statements in this regard,” said al-Shami.

He said the options before the Parliament have become very limited after the Shoura Council abandoned personalities known for their honesty and power to face corruption.
Yemen has hundreds of personalities who can really fight corruption, not only tens, said al-Shami.

According to al-Shami, the candidates whom the Parliament voted for were only 24 and that 22 of them have complete documents.

Al-Shami concluded reading the statement as saying “we, opposition parties regret for being unable to choose the anti-corruption authority members”.

“The way of voting reflects carelessness about fighting corruption which kills Yemenis everyday. In this way, we lose five-year-ahead chance to fight corruption threat,” said al-Shami.

The deputy chairman of Yemeni Socialist Party’s parliamentary bloc Mohammad Saleh said the Joint Meeting Parties blocs decided to leave the vote session after they had found some violations in the way of choosing the candidates.

“We have boycotted the vote due to our believe in the great role the anti-corruption authority must play,” he said.

The MP Abdul-Karim Shaiban has ruled out that the authority could do fight corruption and said that it would only burden the state’s budget more expenses.

“The Parliament members who burden the state’s budget four billion rials could not present even one corrupt to justice and the reports of the Central Organization of Controlling and Auditing are always neglected by the Parliament”, said Shaiban.

Shaiban said that 480 candidates have submitted their files to the Shoura Council which supervises the anti-corruption authority, but the Shoura threw out important and well-known personalities and kept personalities of one affiliation.

The article (9) of the Anti-Corruption Law stipulates that the Anti-Corruption Authority should have representatives of Yemeni NGOs, private sector and women organizations. The same article gives the Shoura council the right to raise the Parliament a list of 30 candidates who have met the conditions of nomination.

According to law, the elected anti-corruption authority continues for five years before electing a new one.

A *new* draft tenders law

Filed under: Corruption, Donors, UN, Parliament, Reform, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:36 am on Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Almotamar.net – Chairman of the Yemeni parliamentary committee of services Awadh Al-Saqtari said Monday a joint financial and services committee has completed a draft law of tenders and bids scheduled to be presented to the parliament.

Al-Saqtaru affirmed to almotamar.net the committee sought ideas of the central apparatus of audit and accountability, the Yemeni chambers of commerce and industry and international consultative company in keenness on coming out with a law achieving its purposes in providing transparency, decency and justice in the competition and economic efficiency in the process of conducting tenders and bids in a addition to overcoming negatives that accompanied progress of the operative law.

Germans: Free Media and Penalties Required to Fight Corruption

Filed under: Civil Society, Corruption, Donors, UN, Media, Reform, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:35 am on Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Sana’a, NewsYemen

Development advisor in the German embassy in Sana’a Erian Filman hailed the government’s efforts and measures it has taken to fight corruption such as the establishment of “Anti-corruption Authority”, but she said the authority’s position is still assessed by international organizations as low and weak.

She said at three-day workshop, launched on Monday, on with anti-corruption legislations, that corruption crimes destroy the interests of developed countries like developing ones.

Filman said that “it is difficult to combat corruption without transparency”.

Media means have to shoulder their responsibility to divulge corruption crimes publicly and then comes the role of investigations, said Filman.

The workshop, organized by the Public Prosecution in cooperating with the German Foundation for Technical Cooperation (GTZ), comprises 50 participants from the General Prosecutor’s office, the presidential office, the Central Organization for Control and Auditing (COCA), the ministries of interior and justice and German
experts of fighting corruption.

Three German experts are lecturing and discussing with the participants the German experience of fighting corruption in the government bodies and means to develop skills of cadres in the Public Prosecution to fight corruption and even preventing it before happening.

The lawyer Taha Ali Saleh said that fighting corruption needs a political decision to punish corrupt people in the state’s institutions.

Fighting corruption requires more clearness and this is very dangerous, said the lawyer Saleh. “Who is brave enough to do so?,” he asked the participating members of Public Prosecution.

The participants will discuss for three days cases of corruption in Yemen and Germany.

The workshop is expected to come out with recommendations and proposals that increase the ability of the Public Prosecution’s affiliates to eradicate corruption in its reasons.

This workshop is the second to be organized by the Public Prosecution and GTZ in the framework of Yemeni-German cooperation to combat corruption.

Bribery in Yemeni Schools

Filed under: Corruption, Education, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:07 pm on Monday, June 11, 2007

YO:

Some teachers have been accepting bribes from students desperate for passing grades, say several Sanaani teachers. Nabil Ali al-Salahi, a teacher at al-Hajar secondary school in Baitha, says that teachers often take bribes from students, because their salaries of about $150 per month are not sufficient to cover their living expenses. These teachers feel they are helping the students get ahead, and helping themselves at the same time, he said. Bribes, teachers say, reach $200 for each course a student is passed without proving himself qualified.

This means that many unqualified students are being given passing grades. The result is that many of these students go on to college quite unprepared for the increased workload they will face. A number of Sana’a University professors say that the reason for the prevalence of student bribes to pass grade levels is due to schools not being well fitted for classes, as they lack proper facilities, desks and chairs, teachers, and an engaging educational environment. The lack of a good learning environment means that students can’t learn effectively, and thus look for other ways to get through school. “You cannot blame the students who have low grades for bribing the teachers. (Read on …)

Local Councils

Filed under: Corruption, Local gov, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:28 pm on Saturday, June 9, 2007

Its wonderful the local councils are asserting some authority and holding executives to account. However, enforcement of judicial penalties is still lacking.

AM

Almotamar.net – Local council of Thamar governorate approved in its extraordinary meeting Saturday withdrawing confidence from heads of executive departments in the governorate included health, electricity and population after listening to their replies to question put forward by members of the council and demanded withdrawal of confidence from four heads of executive departments in the governorate.

Member of the local council Ali Hamoud Mayas told almotamar.net the council approved its measure against Dr Fadhil al-Akwaa, director of health and population office, Engineer Ahmed Silan director of electricity office for their involvement in cases of corruption and misuse of their duties.

The council decided completion of discussing withdrawal of confidence from director of public works and roads, director of taxation and postponed them to the meeting on Sunday.

These measures are in line with carrying out contents of the president’s election platform and the election platform of the General People’s Congress in the local elections with regard to fighting corruption.

Update: Maybe not, they are planning to bring them to trial

Sana’a: In an unprecedented step, the local authority appointed late this week three executive officials after ousting their predecessors on charges of corruption in Dhammar province, 100km south of Sana’a.

Director General of Taxes, Hussain Ali Al Ameer, Director General of Public Health and Population, Fadhl Mohammad Al Akwa’a, and Director General of Electricity, Ahmad Sailan, were sacked in a step which comes within the programme of President Ali Abdullah Saleh to combat corruption, according local council officials.

Mujahed Shaif Al Ansi, Secretary General of the Local Council in Dhammar, confirmed that the next step was to put the three men on trial.

“We have withdrawn the confidence from the three officials and sacked them … after we discovered financial and administrative corruption in their offices,” Al Ansi told Gulf News yesterday.

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The Local Council also summoned the Director General of Public Works in the province this week but it gave him an ultimatum for correcting “mistakes” and answering charges of financial and administrative corruption.

Yemen had its first ever election of local councils in 2001. Observers feel such councils are still feeble because their heads are not elected. Heads of the councils are appointed by the government.

Warning

After his re-election last September, President Saleh promised that heads of local councils would be elected directly.

The local authority says the sacking comes on the basis of reports of the monitoring committees and the Central Organisation for Controlling and Auditing, the country’s highest authority of monitoring.

Officials accused of corruption were warned three months ago but they did not correct their mistakes, said the local authority.

“We discovered the corruption in January and we gave them three months’ ultimatum … then we summoned them and met with them in closed sessions but they did not answer our questions about the corruption, so we decided to withdraw the confidence reposed in them,” Local Council Secretary General Mujahid Al Ansi said. “We followed up all the legal steps according to the law.”

One of the executive officials accused of corruption said the steps taken were not legal and he would sue the local authority for “defamation”.

Al Akwa’a told Gulf News over phone: “The step was not legal and it reflected the bad treatment of the local authority and its failed policy and also [that] the members of the local council misused their powers … I will sue them.”

“They did not give me an ultimatum as they said. I was surprised by their summons hours before the meeting in which they raised 35 questions to me. They judged me before getting any evidence; it was an unfair trial, not a meeting,” he said.

The two other executive officials refused to comment to Gulf News.

Only three days after the decision of withdrawing confidence in the three officials, the Local Council chaired by the governor of the province appointed three new officials to replace them, in one of the quickest implementations of such decisions.

“President Saleh welcomed our step and he told us to go ahead, and we are in the framework of implementing his election programme for reform and fighting corruption,” said Al Ansi.

PSO Imprisons Teachers in Taiz

Filed under: Corruption, Education, Political Opposition, Targeting, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:27 pm on Saturday, June 9, 2007

Al-Sahwa:

June 9, 2007- The Teacher Syndicate in Taiz has revealed that some teachers were imprisoned in Tiaz because they had put questions about corruption in the last semester exams.

A well-informed source in the syndicate said that this behavior is a violation of the government mottos about combating corruption, demanding, in the meantime, the Political Security Organization to rehabilitate and apologize those teachers.

Law of Tenders Withdrawn from Parliament

Filed under: Corruption, Donors, UN, GPC, Judicial, Media, Parliament, Reform, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:34 am on Monday, June 4, 2007

News Yemen

Deputy speaker of the Parliament Yahya al-Raei criticized in Saturday’s session the government for not presenting a draft law of tenders and auctions because grants to Yemen have been suspended until such a law be approved, according to al-Raei.

Al-Raei said the government has not used foreign loans and that loans have been only kept in banks and some ministries. I met with officials in the World Bank who have criticized keeping loans instead of using them and offering their benefits, said al-Raei.

Some members of the Parliament assailed the Parliament’s leadership and the government on many unsolved issues including price hikes, war in Saada, restriction of freedoms and the lack of projects in Ibb.

MP Mohammad Saleh Ali denounced the blocking of SMS news service of Nass Press Mobile and Without Chains Mobile. He said the government should be questioned over this behavior which “violates the constitution”.

Such media monopolization contradicts with the state’s openness for free economy, said Saleh.

MP Sultan al-Atwani asked the government to offer a report on war in Saada, confirming that the Parliament, which has authorized the government to put an end for conflict there, has not information on what is happening.

The MP Ahmad al-Shaqda for Islah party asked the Parliament leadership to form a committee to check events in Saada.

When some MPs inquired why the state does not send lawyers to defend Yemenis in the US Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, al-Raei replied that “president Saleh defended them before the US president George Bush during his latest visit to Washington”.

The MP for GPC Abdul-Karim Shaiban said blamed the leadership of the Parliament for not following the government’s delay to achieve recommendations of the parliament on different issues.

Local Councils Hold Exec’s Accountable

Filed under: Corruption, Electric, Local gov, South Yemen, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 6:58 am on Thursday, May 31, 2007

Encouraging

DHAMAR:

Local council insists on firing officials

May 29 — In a Tuesday’s meeting, the local Council of Dhamar governorate demanded that confidence should be withdrawn from four general managers of executive offices for failing to perform their duties and neglecting issues that are part of their job, Al-Motamar.net quoted local sources as saying. More than 60 percent of the Dhamar local council members insisted on the governor to fire the general managers of health, public works, roads, electricity, and tax offices. The sources indicated that the local council representatives began a campaign this year to monitor and evaluate performance of executive offices.

Almotamar.net – Local sources in Thamar governorate said Tuesday that the local council of the governorate demanded in a meeting today to withdraw trust from four directors general of executive offices for failing in performing their duties and negligence of issues that are part of their specializations.

Sources told almotamar.net correspondent in Thamar that two thirds of the local council members presented a demand to the governor of Thamar calling for the necessity of firing directors general of the offices of health, public works and roads, electricity and taxes.

The sources said the 24-member local council began from the begging of this year a campaign of following up activities of executive offices in the governorate and monitor failures in their performance.

Then there’s the Thomas Paine effect:

(YT) ADEN

Power institutions enraged over anonymous brochures

May 29 — Brochures of unidentified sources lashed out at the Aden Electricity Corporation and Al-Haswa Power Station’s administration and accused them of exercising corruption. This enraged both institutions. Al-Sahwa.net reported that tens of workers at the station distributed the brochures in and outside their worksite, and this led the station’s management to investigate some workers in order to identify the brochures’ sources. The brochures accused the Electricity Corporation of establishing an illumination project for its fence at a cost of YR 50 million.

Monopolies Victimize Consumers

Filed under: Corruption, Economic, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:35 am on Monday, May 14, 2007

Sana’a, NewsYemen

Deputy chairman of the Businessmen Council has accused the government and big merchants of “threatening food security in the country”.

Prices madly hiked and the government does know that the stores of big merchants are full of commodities enough to cover several months and bought before the latest prices hike,” Tawfeeq al-Khamiri told NewsYemen.

The merchants have the right to imitate international pries, but they should know that most of people expend their salaries on necessary foodstuff for less than a week, he said.

Al-Khamiri described the merchants as “merchants of crisis “who gain millions exploiting the weakness of the government to prevent even one merchant to monopolize commodities to be an example for other merchants.”

Yemen is not on an isolated island to live in this horrible price hikes and the international increase in prices does not excuse Yemeni merchants to increase price of commodities stored since a long time,” he said.

He called the government to either protect citizens against “greedy merchants” or to return to the subsidies policy to rescue most of Yemeni people to eat from the rubbish of big merchants.

Electricity Output to Increase, Unpaid Electric Bills YR 800,000 Million

Filed under: Corruption, Crime, Electric, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:34 pm on Sunday, April 29, 2007

YO The General Electricity Corporation has received an order to increase the electrical supply by 80 megawatts; this is in addition to an increase of 70 megawatts that was ordered previously, said Abdul-Mu’ati al-Gonid, the general director of the corporation. The order came from Minister of Electricity and Energy Mustafa Bahram, as part of a strategy to put an end to the regular electricity blackouts and to cover the annual deficit in the power supply during the summer season and during Ramadan, when people tend to use electricity all through the night.

“This will solve the problem for at least two years; by then, the second gas-powered electricity-generating station will have entered in active service, and Ma’abr station will be in service also,” al-Gonid said.
The current electrical supply does not exceed coverage for 45 percent of the population, he said. “We supply less than half of the need; and 60 percent of people get electricity through private generators,” he said.

“The amount of energy currently available is about 800 megawatts, and in the rural areas is only about 200 megawatts, so the total available is 1000 megawatts. We are working at full capacity, but there is still a deficit,” he said. “Electricity in Yemen is among the cheapest of any country. The electricity corporation sells a single unit for RY 4,” says al-Gonid. He pointed out that the corporation has more than 1.2 million customers representing homes and factories.

“The proportion of consumption is more than 60 to 70 percent of citizens, and 15 percent for the factories, excluding the cement factories,” he said. He denied that the electricity corporation is increasing its prices. “We do not increase the prices and tariffs set by the government; we implement only what they direct us to. We are a solvent business, but at this stage, our mission is essentially to provide service; we are not looking to make a profit.”

About the continuing complaints by residents from the continuous interruptions of electricity, al-Gonid admitted that the corporation was unhappy about these interruptions of electricity that are caused by a deficit in power generation; but that also, interruptions are sometimes caused by technical problems far afield, but that the company tries to resolve these problems as quickly as possible. There are several individuals and government institutions that do not or have not paid for their use of electricity, and who owe the company quite a sum of money.

“Those who do not pay today, they will pay tomorrow,” al-Gonid said. “Three months ago, President Ali Abdullah Saleh ordered the formation of a committee which, included as its chief the former Minister of Local Administration, as well as the former Minister of Finance and the Former Minister of Electricity as members,” he said. “The committee found that there is YR 300 million and YR 500 to 600 million in unpaid electricity bills from individuals and government bodies, respectively,” said al-Gonid.

“The committee made two decisions: first, the ministries and authorities that have accounts with the Ministry of Finance will have their bills deducted directly from its accounts. The second is about the authorities that do not have accounts; they must pay the money they owe immediately, or we will cut off their electricity.”

Local News

Filed under: Corruption, Economic, GPC, Investment, Water, Yemen, theft: land other — by Jane Novak at 8:25 am on Tuesday, April 17, 2007

YT

TAIZ

Influential person demolishes home with residents insides

April 15 — One of the influential persons in Al-Hasab area in Taiz, aided by a group of policemen, demolished a house, belonging to the citizen, Mr. Awadh Saif Al-Selwi while women and children were inside under the pretext that this person is one of the landlord’s heirs. The mother of the children revealed that policemen, accompanied by gunmen, came aboard police vehicles and raided the house without giving them any chance to go outside.

HAJJAH

Water Corporation threatened of bankruptcy

April 14 — Officials in Hajja governorate’s Local Water Corporation mentioned that the corporation, which is only two years old, is bound to collapse and threatened of bankruptcy due to the heavy loans it granted to social personalities in the governorate. Local sources said that the debts on social personalities to the corporation amount up to YR 120 million. They added that corporation hardly pay the salaries of workers and the operating expenses.

IBB

NUPO criticizes ruling party’s policy

April 15 — The Ibb Branch of Nasserite Unionist Popular Organization (NUPO) expressed concern about obstacles posed to projects funded by the exceptional budget of Ibb Governorate. It said that the money is wasted and the projects are randomly implemented under the pretext that those in charge of works have limited time to complete them as the 17th anniversary of the National Unity is drawing nearer. In addition,The party’s branch released a statement criticising the ruling party’s policy with regard to transforming the development projects into seasonal ones.

Parliament Rejects Corruption Commission List for Second Time

Filed under: Corruption, GPC, Parliament, Reform, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:02 am on Monday, April 16, 2007

Well I guess the good news is that Parliament is refusing to accept a stooge corruption commission from the Shoura council; the bad news is, its a stooge corruption commission.

almotamar.net – The parliament on Sunday returned for the second time a report on candidate for the committee of fighting corruption to the committee entrusted with receiving the 30 candidates referred by the Shoura Council. Committee has issued two reports that were returned to it for the same reason related to examining and checking the nominees documents.

On the other hand the committee was not expanded by adding new members to the five MPs chaired by deputy speaker and the committee was not replaced by a new one as requested by some members of the parliament, particularly the deputy head of the General; People’s Congress parliamentary bloc Yasser al-Awadhi who considered the parliament has made two mistakes; first when it entrusted the selection of 30 persons for the membership of the corruption fighting committee and the second in the formation of the parliamentary committee for receiving and inspection of the candidates’ documents as well as his request for holding an open hearing session of the candidates of the committee of fighting corruption.

MP Ali al-Amrani supported his request and said the parliament has two options; either to recognize that the law of fighting corruption needs amendment or to accept what has come from the Shoura Council. He also suggested that parliamentary blocs bear their responsibility in choosing 11 candidates from the 30 ones before putting the names to vote at the parliament. Al-Amrani affirmed the task of the corruption fighting body is struggling and it is not enough to be good persons to undertake this task.

HOOD’s recommendation for selection proceedures.

YO, more.

Unitel Continued: Yemen’s Third Mobile Provider, HITS Telecom, Flakey

Filed under: Communications, Corruption, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 11:23 am on Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Background: In November 2005, UNITEL signed a new agreement with the Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technology which grants it priority in operating the third GSM company in Yemen. Unitel was a product of China Mobile Telecommunications Corp. and a group of Yemeni and Arab businessmen. The agreement is valued at USD149 million. UNITEL initially failed to pay the USD149 million to the Yemeni governments. In July, second highest bidder, Omantel, declined to resubmit its offer of USD 100 million, telling Elaph website that it was dissatisfied with the Yemeni governments handling of the UNITEL transaction. The Saudi-based House for Integrated Technology Systems and UNITEL merged to form HitsUnitel. Later in October of 2006, UNITEL reportedly paid the debt and is on track to establish the company. HITSUNIEL reportedly increased its capital to USD190 million during its first meeting in January 2007 and will be managed by Damascus-based Syriatel Mobile Telecom under the chairmanship of Nader Al Kalai, Syriatel’s chief executive. The company expects to operational by mid 2007.

Coninuing the Unitel, Omantel saga, the Saudi company HITS doesnt appear to exist in any substantial form according to the following article from allafrica.com (who tried to reach them and found all their phones unavailable.)

The Monitor (Kampala)
NEWS
April 3, 2007
Posted to the web April 2, 2007

By Muhereza Kyamutetera

So much could have been said and promised by Hits Telecom, but who are the people behind it and can the company deliver on its promises?

On March 12, the same day Hits Telecom got their telecom licence, the company’s directors, Abdul Karim Ahmet Abushanab, and House of Integrated Technical and Systems Limited, sold their shareholding to Middle East and Africa Investments Company for a nominal Shs10 million each.

This, according to sources, made Middle East and Africa Investments Company (MEAIC) the majority shareholder with 88 per cent and the rest (12 per cent) belonging to Veritus, the supposedly local investor.

This however raises questions as to why any investor would chose to sell off their holding on the same day the company acquired a licence.

HITS telecom directors could not be reached for a comment as all their phones were not available.

On the same day, however, Edwin Rowell, Hits Telecom CEO, promised not just mere mobile phone services, but a real shake up of the mobile phone market.

Mr Rowel said his company, based in Saudi Arabia, alongside with a local partner, Veritus Communications would sink into the market $150 million (Shs262.5 billion) this year and another $50 million (Shs87.5 billion) in the first quarter of next year.

The tough-talking Mr Rowel did not mince words on the need to “increase the network capacity in Uganda to meet the existing as well as the future demand of subscribers.”

He further predicted: “All over the world, the expansion of the number of operators and the associated competition drives down tariffs and improves service for the customers. Uganda will not be an exception to this principle.” |

As expected, the market welcomed Hits Telecom, as a saviour form tariffs the public considers high, given the economies of scale that the players should be enjoying given that mobile subscription is close to 3 million customers or nearly 10 per cent.

In a recent press interview, Mr Rowell reportedly said the company will begin rolling out on April 3. “The rollout team of some 17 quality individuals will arrive on April 3 to export their expertise to Uganda, covering all functions,” he was quoted in the the New Vision. According to him they would include several hard-nosed veterans of Africa to get the job done.

Ultimate Media quoted him as having said the company would also invest up to $500 million (Shs875 billion) in power generation.

So much could have been said and promised by Hits Telecom, but who are the people behind it and can the company deliver on its promises?

The company behind Hits Telecom is registered at the Registry of Companies as House of Integrated Technical Systems Uganda Limited thus the name Hits.

Documents available to Business Power indicate that the company was registered on November 22, 2006 by four shareholders.

These are: Abdul Karim Ahmet Abushanab whose registered address is P.O Box 1809 Kampala and MEAIC also registered at the same address.

The other shareholders are Veritas Communications which is registered in Tortola British Virgin Islands (though Rowell claimed it is a local partner) and House of Integrated Technical Systems Limited registered in Al Ulayya, Riyadh in Saudi Arabia.

The documents filed by their lawyer, Salim Makeera of Salim Makeera Advocates on Metropole House, however do not indicate how much shareholding each of the shareholders has in the company. Their bankers are: Crane Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Stanbic Bank and Tropical Africa Bank. Although Hits telecom announced that it has 2.5 million subscribers in Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Algeria, the company, according Yemen Times newspaper, is yet to start operations in the country.

According to Yemen Times, their alliance with Chinese investors, Unitel to form Hits Unitel failed to take off until they were rescued by Syria’s Syriatel which acquired a 10 percent holding and has assumed management. HitsUnitel is expected to begin operations mid 2007.

It is not clear though, whether the company has GSM operations in Saudi Arabia as the country has only three players: MTN Saudi Arabia, Bravo and the Kuwaiti based MTC which has just won the third mobile GSM operator licence.

It is also not clear whether Hits is a shareholder in Algerie Telecom and Orascom Telecom Algeria, the only two mobile players there.

A google search on the company only yields stories written by the local media on the company, suggesting that the company has no official website. Only time will tell whether Hits Telecom has the resources to take off.

And as long as we’re on the topic of mobile phone providers:

almotamar.net –

SANA’A, April 03(Saba)- The GSM service operator Spacetel Yemen has announced its combination with the Mobile Telephone Network (MTN)to become MTN Yemen.

In a press conference held at Taj Sheba Hotel in Sana’a on Tuesday on the announcement, the executive director of MTN Yemen, Raed Ahmad, said that combination process is considered to be a unique economic success that reflects Yemen’s successful steps in economic
development. (Read on …)

New Corruption Commission Seems (Another) Sham

Filed under: Corruption, Donors, UN, Reform, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 1:38 pm on Saturday, March 31, 2007

Dissappointing

An-Nida, translated by the YO:

Issue 96 – Wednesday March 28,
The corrupted committee
Two days ago there was an opportunity to discuss the existence of good intentions in favor of fighting corruption. The intention was not to realize the dangers of corruption, but rather a result of foreign pressures that linked assistance to Yemen with practical measures for fighting corruption and preventing it. For the past year our German friends have been sending their associates to help fight corruption, but have realized that the authorities do not wish to reform for the better. The Biddings law that was stopped by influential people in the parliament was praised by the Europeans, and the same law for fighting corruption was barely approved. Therefore the law of fighting corruption was issued as a result by international pressures. Last Sunday the Shura council nominated a list of 30 members from which the parliament had to elect 11 people to be members of the High Committee for Fighting Corruption. However the list that was presented shocked the majority of observers.

There is a confirmation of this being a sardonic game played by the authorities. The ruling system realizes that there is a defect in all joints of the system, but unfortunately they cannot be treated. By reading the list of nominees it will elucidate the absurdity of a clown being a role model for fighting against corruption. Also, it shows the absurdity of expecting a person to neglect the party that had nominated him to be a role model, in order to fight against corruption in the state institutions that had been giving him a very low income to live on. How can we talk about intentions to reform and fight corruption whilst there is a desire to consider that the state is the GPC and that the GPC is the state? When a person violates the modest bases of his profession and is highly praised for it how can he be trusted and be given the authorization to arrest and convict others? How can we convince the public that the ruling party is serious about fighting corruption? The good reputation and general trust of people is vital to help change this situation. Also to consider others as partners in developing the country are among the main factors for achieving national partnership, away from the political and partisan affiliation. To help change this situation it is upon the citizens of Yemen to support as well as represent the ruling party. Without this nothing can be improved.

Commission members implicated in corruption scandals

AS Yemeni politicians and citizens expressed disappointment after the Higher Anti-corruption Body was formed by the Shoura Council last Sunday.

They affirmed that the 30 elected persons would be capable to fight corruption, calling on the Shoura Council to reconsider the names.

The professor of political sciences in Sana’a University, Dr Abdullah al-Faqi called upon the parliament to amend the corruption laws and reconsider the elected names.

The senior leader of the Joint Meeting Parties, Ali al-Srari , criticized the elected board ,pointing out that it signified that majority of elected names are implicated in financial and political corruption .

Meanwhile, the assistant secretary general of Popular Forces Union, Mohammad al-Mutwakel wondered whether the government was serious to combat corruption.

He also considered forming a shadow body for combating corruption is advanced view.

MPs select 11 Shoura Council members for posts in the Anti-Corruption Authority

“The committee is partially biased and not formed within the national framework”, said the JMP press release.

Teachers’ Pay Witheld in Yemen, Leads to Strike

Filed under: Corruption, Employment, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:12 am on Friday, March 23, 2007

AL-JAWF, YT

- Teachers striking for overdue salaries

March 20 — Primary and secondary school teachers across the governorate are striking for the third consecutive day to protest suspending their salaries for the past three months. The governorate’s branch of the Yemeni Teachers Syndicate said the strike includes all governorate schools, except those in Khalaq district where teachers received their salaries.

According to Waze’e Askar, manager of Khalaq’s Education Office, district teachers received their February and March salaries earlier this week. The teachers syndicate mentioned that it is contacting concerned parties in the governorate in order to resolve the issue.

University Fraud

Filed under: Corruption, Crime, Education, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:27 pm on Sunday, March 18, 2007

almotamar.net – The Minster of Higher Education and Scientific Research Saleh Ali Basura revealed Sunday that the West Secretariat Court is presently trying the Applied Sciences University in Yemen at the backdrop of forging certificates and practicing fraud on Arab and Yemeni students.

The minister said in a statement to almotamar.net that the university has violated the Private Education Law and exceeded decision of the cabinet stipulating the closure all medicine faculties except the Sciences and Technology University. He indicated that thee university practiced fraud on Egyptian, Syrian and emirates students and granted some of them Bachelor degrees even while they were still in their first year of study in addition to practicing extortion by the presidency of the university on some students by refusing to give them back their documents and certificate unless they pay money in return.

The Court of South-West Secretariat held Wednesday its second sitting to consider the case and representative of prosecution accused owner of the University of violating the law of private education and decision of the cabinet, supporting his accusation with documents.

The court did then decide to postpone the case until next Wednesday to continue its consideration of the cases.

GPC Shabwa May Resign to Protest Corruption

Filed under: Corruption, GPC, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:07 pm on Thursday, March 15, 2007

There’s not any state or party institution that will hold a corrupt GPC leader accountable.

AS: Leaders of General people Party, are planning to resign in Shabwa province, protesting practices of a senior JPC official accused of corruption.

JPC sources affirmed to Alsahwanet that they would surly resign if this person does not hold accountable.

They said that $ million was horribly spent.

For his part, the JPC journalist in the province, Zabin Atya said that he resigned from the party as it is used to marginizes well-qualified people .

“I am no longer proud of my affiliation to JPC as its leader in the province practices such things” he added.

Watani Bank Chairman Sentenced

Filed under: Corruption, Judicial, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 11:45 am on Tuesday, March 13, 2007

19 billion riyals, something close to 100 million dollars

almotamar.net – The primary section at the Special Penal Court sentenced for two years imprisonment the chairman of the Watani Bank board of directors Dr Ahmed Ali al-Hamdani and he will remain responsible for the loans and facilities granted without guarantees.

The court chaired by Judge Najib al-Qadiri head of the section issued its verdict of 8 months imprisonment against Thaer Ali Ahmed Shaalan, Abdeh Mahyoub Abdullah al-Mahyoub, Abdullah Mohammed Mohammed al-Khawlani and Naji Abdullah al-Ghadir.

The court also sentenced for one year in prison against Abdullah Ali Saghir al-Maznaie, Bashir Ahmed Abdulwasie al-Adiemi and Salah Aabdullah Mohammed al-Yafie. The court affirmed it has considered the period spent in detention by defendants Abdulillah Mohammed Mohammed al-Maamari Sayyid Shaiba Mahdi Nawa and Hizam Ahmed Ismael al-Rabu as sufficient punishment. The court rejected all civil suits filed by all those who filed for the civil right and the general prosecution said it would appeal the verdict.

The primary section court has begun trial of 11 defendants, 9 of whom are from the Watani Bank board and one employee at the bank involved in the case in January last year. In its first session of trial the court accused the first till the eight defendants of the breach of trust and offering facilities for themselves and others for seizing funds of the Watani Bank that had been gathered in the bank out of savings of contributors and depositors estimated at more than 19 billion riyals.

The court accused the ninth defendant with the charge of bribe and receiving one million riyals from the bank as a bribe in return for illegal taxation facilities in favour of the bank. At a later time the court accused other defendants of breaching trust and seizing funds illegally.

YT has more.

Reform showdown: Doctors threaten strike, Health Ministry fails to implement reforms

Filed under: Civil Society, Corruption, Reform, Unions, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:44 am on Tuesday, March 13, 2007

This is actually very good. I hope the Civil Service ministery sticks to his demands. And that the doctors realize they need to pressure the Health Ministry in order to achieve their raises. This is how reform is going to happen if it happens.

YO: Doctors from six medical syndicates are threatening to go on strike beginning March 24 if their salaries are not increased. The doctors have adorned themselves with red badges to announce their protest. The six syndicates have accused Minister of Civil Service Hamoud al-Sofi of blocking their salary increases. Al-Sofi rejected the accusations of the medical syndicates.

Physicians want to receive special additional pay because the nature of their work is so difficult, and because they deal with cases of life and death. The minister says that the matter is not a problem between him and the doctors, but between the doctors and the law. The minister said that the doctors cannot get a raise in pay until the pending slate of reforms are adopted by the Ministry of Health. These reforms are demanded by the international community.

The Ministry of Health said that it instituted the reforms already, but an investigation by the civil service found that the doctors’ payroll list included names of dead people, retired people, and employees that are working in other countries. The law prohibits doctors from working for private and public hospitals at the same time. But all the doctors working in the private sector are the same ones working in the government hospitals, said al-Sofi.

The demands made by the medical syndicate are legal, said al-Sofi, but should go through proper procedures. If the doctors want rights, he said, the must also live up to their duties and obligations and not work two jobs. There are a number of irregularities that the health sector suffers from, said al-Sofi. The Ministry of Civil Service has submitted to the Ministry of Health a matrix of structural and organizing reforms to be implemented so as to reform the irregularities in the health sector.

“The Ministry of Health has pledged to implement these reforms, but none of these reforms have been done yet,” said al-Sofi. Among the most significant irregularities, he said, is the list of the salaries of the actual employees that includes names of dead persons and the retirees. Other irregularities include the misdistribution of the labor force, as some hospitals are suffering from a surplus of doctors, while other hospitals are empty, and there is not even one person who can present the essential services in these hospitals.

He added that the reform process at the Ministry of Health is going on very slowly. The ministry had claimed it implemented the reforms, he said, closer examination revealed that nothing had been implemented. “We will approve the salaries increase, this ‘special work allowance,’ once the reforms are done,” said al-Sofi. “Hence, we will go to their offices to give them the work allowance or the salaries increase.” In other news, doctors and nurses complain that they are not receiving half the salary that foreign health workers receive, which they were promised by Prime Minister Abdul-Qadir ba Jammal.

Al-Sofi complains that the prime minister promised to replace the foreign workers with Yemeni workers and this has not happened. Meanwhile, doctors and workers in the health sector have been tying red badges on their arms and threatening to start a partial strike that will be graded to full strike gradually starting from March 24. Dr. Mohammed al-Thawr, one of the leaders of the strike, said that the minister of civil service was the main obstacle to implementing the agreement to increase the doctors’ salaries.

Additionally, he said that this time the doctors will not suspend their strike until their demands are responded to fully. “We hope the government will not oblige us to reach the full strike, because this will harm the reputation of the government, the reputation of the health employees and will harm the citizens as well,” said Dr. al-Thawr.

The six medical syndicates that agreed on the strike were: the doctors syndicate, the doctors and pharmacists syndicate, the dentists syndicate, the physicians syndicate and the syndicate of the parallel medical professions. The number of the workers in the health sector across Yemen exceeds 35,000 workers.

Suspected Embezzler Questioned

Filed under: Corruption, Education, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 4:56 pm on Thursday, March 8, 2007

HAJJAH

- Education official questioned in embezzlement

March 6 — Hajjah’s local council still is questioning Ahmad Al-Mu’lami, general manager of the governorate’s Education Office, who has been suspended since last November over embezzlement charges and complaints filed by several office employees, according to Ammar Lutfallah, head of the local council’s service committee.

Al-Mu’lami demands investigating those who made the complaints against him, adding that all of the charges attributed to him are false and baseless. He is accused of embezzling funds from several education projects.

YR 330 Billion Never Remitted to Government by Ministries

Filed under: Corruption, Economic, GPC, Presidency, Reform, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 1:54 pm on Thursday, March 8, 2007

Wow, even I’m astounded. That’s like a billion dollars (a little more) lost to corruption of just this type. A billion dollars. No wonder there’s so much pressure against reform.

COCA report: 30 percent of 2005 budget never collected

The Central Organization for Control and Audit has issued a report indicating that 30 percent of the 2005 government income was accounted for but never deposited into government accounts at the Central Bank.

The total amount due is YR 330 billion, including YR 126.6 billion from the Ministry of Electricity, YR 51.9 billion from the tax authority, YR 42 billion from Aden Refinery and YR 31.4 billion from the Ministry of Oil, with the remainder distributed among other government departments.

Food Shortages in Saada

Filed under: Corruption, Crime, Economic, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:22 pm on Tuesday, March 6, 2007

SA’ADA,: March 4 — Sources at Al-Sallam Saudi Hospital in Sa’ada reported that the hospital has received and recorded 104 deaths and 479 injured among military men between Jan. 28 and Feb. 28, while other victims were transferred to hospitals in Sana’a, Al-Jawf, Amran and Hajjah.

Tribal sources also reveal that armed confrontations between the Yemeni government and Al-Houthi loyalists are aflame in many areas of Sa’ada, which continue to be under a complete media blackout.

The same sources also noted that armed groups arrived in the governorate’s largest market, Souq Al-Talh, to buy essential foodstuffs and medicine for themselves and their families, who are besieged in mountainous caves and valleys while escaping the government’s violence. However, they were unable to buy anything due to high price increases and the presence of soldiers who clashed with them. (Read on …)

Displaced by Sheik and homeless

Filed under: Corruption, Targeting, Tribes, Yemen, land disputes, prisons — by Jane Novak at 3:12 pm on Sunday, February 11, 2007

How come these poor Yemenis dont get put up in a hotel at government expense like the Jews who were threatened? Does that mean Saleh is a Zionist?

AS Hundreds of Roash and Alsdifa citizens , Ibb Province , appealed the president, Ali Abdullah Saleh , to immediately intervene to end forced migrations and ongoing infringements they experience by Sheikh ,Mohammad Ahmed Almansour and his soldiers. Sheikh banished 400 individuals from their homes after they refused paying illegal taxes for him.

They said in a press conference organized by Hood Organization for Defending Freedoms and Rights that they are demanding the government and the president to protect them form the tyrant Sheikh and his soldiers.

“If the president can not protect us,then, he has to open the borders for us in order to demand political asylum to any country which respects others ”

In the conference, elderly men, women and children of the refugees talked about some horrible practices of the aforementioned sheikh; gouges, kidnaps, special prisons and illegal fines, denying at the same time their connection to the opposition or political activities as the Sheikh claimed, showing at the same time their belonging to the ruling party.

They showed for media and human rights bodies pictures of their suffers, gouges and abuses sheikh has been practicing against them.

Mohammed Noman’s Historical House Destroyed by Military for Vengence and Profit

Filed under: Corruption, Crime, Judicial, Security Forces, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:36 am on Friday, February 9, 2007

THE MILITARY destroys the house of a heroic figure in Yemeni’s revolutionary history in order to 1) steal the land and 2) enact retribution on his family.

“Professional thieves” is a good description. Its a pathetic, completely criminalized government targeting whoever and whatever it wants. Cross John Gotti with Saddam, add an airline, an army and diplomatic recognition and that’s Yemen. There’s secret police everywhere, no law, no justice, no food. The regime just can’t seem to stop the jihaddis from going to Iraq but they can stop the journalists and opposition from leaving the country. The land belongs to whoever has the biggest gun. The official media is complete propaganda. The food supply is monopolized. Meanwhile its a free for all smuggling guns, drugs and diesel all over the region. There’s material support for the jihaddis coming from the highest levels, however there’s no support for the poorest people coming from anywhere. The second hungriest child population in the world and the US closes the IFES office while the embassy pats itself on the back for being the first embassy to mention the targeting of journalists but only after 53 journalists already got their heads kicked in. Just another day in Yemen, another stolen house, another kid dead of dirty water, another suicide bomber in Iraq, another shipment of drugs, another guy tortured in prison, and another oppositionist targeted. The blowback is going to be a bitch.

YT:

SANA’A, Feb. 7 — A group of Public Works Administration bulldozers, and under protection of military vehicles, destroyed the main gate and part of the wall of Mohammed Ahmed Nouman’s house in Old Sana’a last Sunday.

Nouman, a leading figure in Yemeni liberals Movement and former Prime Minster (1928-2003), and bought this house following to the eruption of revolution and still as it was when built one hundred years ago under the Othman rule.

“An influential person wanted to take part of the land for the interest of one of his relatives and under the pretext of constructing a new street. He came outside the working hours and did what he did as professional thieves, terrifying women and children,” said Al-Nouman’s grandson.

Many politicians denounced the act, described as aggressive operation, which contradicts the morals and values of Yemenis who show more respect and honor to Al-Nouman being one of Yemen’s revolution leaders and a symbol for Yemeni National Movement.

Parliament Speaker Sheikh Abdullah Al-Ahmer, denounced the operation and called for investigating the doers.

Al-Nouman’s heirs asked the government and the mayor to investigate the act and refer it to prosecution. They also asked for authorities to restore the gate and the wall and compensate them for the material damages.

The complaint of Al Nouman was distributed to 21 official parties, including the presidency, Parliament, cabinet and media outlets.

Sheik expells residents

Filed under: Corruption, GPC, Judicial, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:13 am on Tuesday, January 30, 2007

which probably wont get as much international attention as the 45 jews in the hotel

Al-Sahwa: The residents of Roash Village in Aljashin District ,Ibb province, claimed the president to intervene in order to return them to their homes ,expressing their hopes that the president will respond to their demands.

In their letter, they said that Sheikh Mohammad Ahmed Mansour enforces duties and alms without any reasons.

Meanwhile, Alsahwa could not contact Sheikh Mansour to know his responses and stances,but it got camps images which those people alleged that they were expelled to them.They said that they are currently staying in those camps located in Alodain district after they were driven out by Mansour’s soldiers .

They asserted that they left their homes last Friday when they were assaulted by the soldiers, pointing out at the same time that Mansour had

Asked them to pay YR 3 million as duties and alms he had previously paid for the government, but they refused to pay those money.

The Sheik is a member of the Shoura Council.

Dozens of residents of the Ra’ash village in the Ibb governorate were expelled by their own sheikh last Friday for nonpayment of taxes. The villagers were forced to move their families, possessions and livestock from their homes to a state of limbo, and gather in the Valley of Haradh in the Audain province, where they are living in tents and suffering from the cold weather, according to the Yemeni online publication, Mareb Press.

The citizens have said, in letters to Mareb Press, that they were expelled from their homes by Sheikh Mohammad Ahmad Mansour, a Member of President Saleh’s Shoura Council. Sheikh Mansour explained that he charges taxes from the people of the village, but many of them have been unable to meet his financial demands. Mansour responded to the villagers’ pleas for clemency by expelling them from the village.

According to Mareb Press, Mansour had demanded over three million riyals from the locals, without an explanation for the seemingly arbitrary sum. Mansour charges the villagers yearly taxes from their harvest profits, and the villagers must follow his orders without discussion or debate. Villagers have told MAREB PRESS that when people have challenged or criticized Sheikh Mansour in the past, he has put them in jail, based on his authority as a presidential council member. “Is this the new Yemen? Is this the better future that we have waited for? If it is, we are telling the President that we don’t want this future,” said an expelled resident of Al-Jaashin.

MAREB PRESS has called this expulsion of people from their village a human rights violation. The expelled villagers have requested that the government resolve this abuse of power. “Even during the Imam’s reign, no deputy or official committed this kind of injustice against the citizenry,” wrote a group of the expelled citizens in a letter to MAREB PRESS. “People were not robbed of their rights by people who derive their authority from the head of state, like what is happening to us today.”

Several villagers have filed complaints in the past about the sheikh. Their complaints and requests to the state to solve this problem were answered by the government’s decision to leave the land and authority of the presidential counselor unaltered.

The Rule of Sheiks

More: Sheik’s militia rousts them in advance of visit by HR orgs.

Dozens of men and their sons left their village and camped for seven days in a deserted area about an hour’s walk from their home in Ra’ash. The villagers wanted to make a political statement to protest their treatment by their sheikh, who controls everything, including their daily routine. They’ve reportedly succeeded.

IBB, Feb. 7 — Dozens of men from Ra’ash village in Al-Jaa’shin district south of Ibb governorate are now back home after enduring a week of open-air camping outside their village in Haradh Valley. Leaving the women behind, the men evacuated their homes in protest of the abuse they suffer under the control of an influential person in that area, Sheikh Mohammed Ahmed Mansour.

The sheikh maneuvered their return by reportedly ordering their camp’s destruction in order to force them back to Ra’ash. Fearing the consequences by the controlling sheikh, villagers refuse to speak openly to the media; however, media reports have carried conflicting reports, claiming that they and their families were forced from their homes.

According to AbdulSamad Saylani, local administrator of Dhi Al-Sufal district, the plight of Ra’ash residents is baseless and unauthentic.

He said the real issue concerns collecting alms (zakat), or charitable taxes, from them, but he denied any attempts to force them from the village and into the wilderness. However, when asked about families being forced from their village by a local sheikh, he refused to comment.

Their plight

Villagers allege that consultative council member Mansour oppressed, harassed and imposed unlawful duties upon them and that the sheikh’s militia regularly loots and robs them.

Firsthand information from locals reveals that they suffer double taxation at the hands of both the state and the sheikh. Farmers living on Sheikh Mansour’s property and working on his land must pay a “harvest right” amounting to 10 percent of the harvest’s value. However, the supposed alms, which amount to YR 3 million, were beyond local residents’ abilities to pay.

Protester Abdu Yussur explained the situation, saying, “Villagers paid their taxes directly to the state and they have receipts. This angered the sheikh, so he sent 20 of his men to force us to pay the money to him, as well as his share of YR 2 million, which is YR 10,000 per person. This is why we were ready to leave because we’ve had enough of this humiliation and abuse.”

Heads of local villages had attempted mediation between Ra’ash locals and the sheikh; however, according to the villagers, such efforts failed, so the men decided to escape the pressure by leaving their homes, only to be forced back a week later.

Nevertheless, the villagers succeeded in drawing attention to their plight, as numerous media and human rights organizations have reported on the situation. Confirmed Yemen Times sources say that because of this, President Ali Abdullah Saleh summoned Sheikh Mansour, although he denies it.

Those close to similar sheikhs in other governorates inform the Yemen Times that this incident has made them more concerned and “careful” regarding their methods of dealing with locals.

YT: For one week men of Ra’ash village camped in a deserted area in Haradh Valley protesting against Sheikh Mansour’s abusive control.

Dozens of men and their sons left their village and camped for seven days in a deserted area about an hour’s walk from their home in Ra’ash. The villagers wanted to make a political statement to protest their treatment by their sheikh, who controls everything, including their daily routine. They’ve reportedly succeeded.

IBB, Feb. 7 — Dozens of men from Ra’ash village in Al-Jaa’shin district south of Ibb governorate are now back home after enduring a week of open-air camping outside their village in Haradh Valley. Leaving the women behind, the men evacuated their homes in protest of the abuse they suffer under the control of an influential person in that area, Sheikh Mohammed Ahmed Mansour.

The sheikh maneuvered their return by reportedly ordering their camp’s destruction in order to force them back to Ra’ash. Fearing the consequences by the controlling sheikh, villagers refuse to speak openly to the media; however, media reports have carried conflicting reports, claiming that they and their families were forced from their homes.

According to AbdulSamad Saylani, local administrator of Dhi Al-Sufal district, the plight of Ra’ash residents is baseless and unauthentic.

He said the real issue concerns collecting alms (zakat), or charitable taxes, from them, but he denied any attempts to force them from the village and into the wilderness. However, when asked about families being forced from their village by a local sheikh, he refused to comment.

Their plight

Villagers allege that consultative council member Mansour oppressed, harassed and imposed unlawful duties upon them and that the sheikh’s militia regularly loots and robs them.

Firsthand information from locals reveals that they suffer double taxation at the hands of both the state and the sheikh. Farmers living on Sheikh Mansour’s property and working on his land must pay a “harvest right” amounting to 10 percent of the harvest’s value. However, the supposed alms, which amount to YR 3 million, were beyond local residents’ abilities to pay.

Protester Abdu Yussur explained the situation, saying, “Villagers paid their taxes directly to the state and they have receipts. This angered the sheikh, so he sent 20 of his men to force us to pay the money to him, as well as his share of YR 2 million, which is YR 10,000 per person. This is why we were ready to leave because we’ve had enough of this humiliation and abuse.”

Heads of local villages had attempted mediation between Ra’ash locals and the sheikh; however, according to the villagers, such efforts failed, so the men decided to escape the pressure by leaving their homes, only to be forced back a week later.

Nevertheless, the villagers succeeded in drawing attention to their plight, as numerous media and human rights organizations have reported on the situation. Confirmed Yemen Times sources say that because of this, President Ali Abdullah Saleh summoned Sheikh Mansour, although he denies it.

Those close to similar sheikhs in other governorates inform the Yemen Times that this incident has made them more concerned and “careful” regarding their methods of dealing with locals.

Opposition newspapers, especially those affiliated with the reformist Islah Party, have taken this opportunity to weaken General People’s Congress influence in rural areas – which extends via alliances with sheikhs – in preparation for parliamentary elections in 2009, which is why the situation involving Sheikh Mansour has been magnified, one GPC political analyst says.

In his defense, Sheikh Mansour stated to the Yemen Times, “What’s being proposed in opposition newspapers is nothing but rubbish. They want to disgrace me and damage my image for political reasons. How can I force hundreds of people from their homes when there are security forces and state rule? What’s being said suggests that there’s no law and order. What’s happening is because the citizens have been refusing to pay alms for two years now.”

The good sheikh… The bad sheikh

Though oppressed, many locals say there are advantages to being governed by Sheikh Mansour. Khalid Al-Kamel comments on the upside, saying, “All sheikhs have their merits and demerits. The good thing about Sheikh Mansour is that he protects the area from chaos and gangs. He also has implemented many infrastructure projects in the area, including schools, roads and electricity.” Yet, even these projects are questionable, says Amin Al-Dumaini. “The sheikh’s influence directs projects to our area, but he then demands money in return for his ‘efforts,’ although these projects should be granted by the state anyway.”

Abdullah Omar Mansour, who’s from the same family as Sheikh Mansour, maintains, “In fact, there are some imaginary projects for which the money already has been received from the villagers.”

The sheikh’s authority in the area also is used for arbitration and solving conflicts. “Sheikh Mansour is the law and we shouldn’t submit to any authority except his because he controls the villages and enforces order. If someone directly contacts state instruments, he gets angry and can even be penalized by the sheikh or kicked out of the village,” notes Abdulwahid Abdu from Al-Jaa’shin district. Al-Dumaini adds that Sheikh Mansour has his own prison and security.

The feudal system is widespread in many districts in Ibb, Al-Beidha and Dhamar, among other Yemeni governorates. Sheikh Mansour’s relative Abdullah Mansour daringly admits that the sheikh unlawfully attacks and confiscates land in Al-Safa village. Ra’ash resident Abdu Qaid explains how the feudal system works. “The sheikh uses his armed men to force locals to pay money under various pretexts. Whoever refuses or can’t pay is subjected to imprisonment in the sheikh’s personal prison or his land and livestock and are taken.” Adds villager Yahya Abdu, “The sheikh sometimes uses official security to execute his orders and give his bullying legitimacy.”

Hunt, China and Yemen LNG

Filed under: China, Corruption, LNG, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:07 am on Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Hunt negotiating with China to sell LNG shares at twice the price that the Yemeni Oil Ministry previously sold shares to Kongas. hmmm
The sale price by Yemen to Kongas was 17 million per share;
The offer by China to Hunt is 33 million per share.

The standard, China CNOOC (0883), the largest offshore oil producer in China, is reportedly in talks aimed at acquiring a stake in a liquefied natural gas project in Yemen from US company Hunt Oil in a bid to secure its natural gas supply.
The Beijing-based oil producer has made a nonbinding offer of less than US$600 million (HK$4.68 billion) for Hunt’s 18 percent stake in the Middle East project, according to Dow Jones Newswires, which quoted an unnamed CNOOC official.

Contacted Friday by The Standard, a Beijing spokesman for CNOOC said: “As part of our company policy, we do not comment on market rumors.”

The first output from the LNG project in Yemen, near Saudi Arabia, is due at the end of 2008, with an annual volume of about 6.7 million tonnes.

Dow Jones reported that should Dallas, Texas-based Hunt decide to sell its stake, it would have to secure agreement from other shareholders of the Yemen project. Major shareholders include France’s Total, which owns 39.62 percent, Yemen Gas with 16.73 percent, and South Korea’s SK Corp with 9.55 percent.

CNOOC hopes to source more natural gas from overseas to supply its parent’s LNG terminal project in the mainland.

China, the world’s second-biggest oil consumer, is promoting the increased use of natural gas for both environmental and economic reasons, and has set a target of raising the country’s natural gas consumption to 8 percent by 2010.

Anybody remember this: Korean Gas Company (Kogas) purchased a 6 percent share of YLNG for $104 million in a transaction negotiated by Yemen’s Oil Ministry.

(This was the original link at the Yemen Observer, but since they trashed their archives, its dead.)

So Hunt offers 17% for 600,000 million vs Yemen sells 6% for 104,000 million. Looks like the Yemeni people got screwed on the first deal but I’m sure someone in Yemen made a lot of money.

The Aden Land Mafia

Filed under: Corruption, Crime, Security Forces, Yemen, political violence — by Jane Novak at 12:36 pm on Thursday, January 18, 2007

Property confescation leads to popular protests

Al-Dhala’e, Jan. 17 — Hundreds of citizens from Al-Dhala’e city demonstrated on Jan.15 and blocked the main road linking Sana’a to Aden. The demonstrators asked for the release of detainees arrested by Al-Qalwa’a Police in Aden two days earlier, according to Ali Al-Shalal, a local citizen.

The demonstrators also blocked the road extending from downtown and for 2 km with big stones and building remnants and they set abandoned tires on fire.

According to Al-Shalal, the detainees protested against the Al-Qalwa’a Police who evicted a family from their house in which they lived for the past 14 years. The police treated the house owner in a bad manner and policewomen hauled women out the house before locals.

He added they will continue the demonstration until the detainees are set free and the house goes back to its owner.

Al-Shoura.net said that army and central security troops armed with weapons and anti-riot means were dispersed Tuesday morning in the town’s streets, but the troops numbers decreased at night.

The same source spoke about a list of 10 to 15 political activists prepared by the security apparatuses to be arrested, accusing them of starting the demonstration during which citizens set abandoned tires aflame and blocked the road between Sana’a and Aden. The demonstration came to an end after the intervention of political and social personalities and the local authority’s promise to meet the demonstrator’s demands.

There were no arrests by the military or security forces, fearing negative local reaction, according to sources.

Moreover, the security authorities in Aden set free last Tuesday Al-Dhala’e district’s local council member Musad Othman Subirah, after he had been in jail together with other six people arrested last Sunday, following their return from the demonstration. The other six are still in jail under the pretext that they have not finished questioning them.

The sources also indicated that Aden’s local council declared in a meeting that the house belongs to the family which they evicted three weeks ago.

Corruption: enough seminars, throw somebody in jail already

Filed under: Corruption, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 12:13 pm on Thursday, January 18, 2007

A good editorial from the YO:

Yemen has just received a rather unspectacular overall “Very Weak” rating in the 2006 Global Integrity Index. This index was created to assess national anti-corruption policies and practices in countries around the world. International organizations like Transparency International, Global Integrity, the World Bank and many others generally base their reports on data received over the previous year. Alas, Yemen has generally come out at the top of the list of the most corrupt countries.

There has been a great deal of talk about battling corruption in Yemen, but apparently less action. Fighting corruption naturally begins with good governance. And Yemen’s government has been expending a notable effort to raise awareness of the issue. It launched a huge anti-corruption awareness campaign last year, and President Ali Abdullah Saleh has endorsed new anti-corruption legislation. A new authority to battle corruption and track down corrupt people is about to be set up. Local civil society organizations have been abuzz with talk about all the different ways the tide of corruption can be stemmed.

But despite all of the strong words, it’s difficult to see any concrete results as of yet. Naturally, it is not in the interest of those practicing corruption to allow anti-corruption efforts to proceed smoothly and effectively. According to a high-level source, several influential politicians guilty of corruption have been stalling efforts to implement anti-corruption legislation. The public has a right to know who these people are, and what they have been doing with public funds. It is to be hoped that these figures will be properly investigated and prosecuted; these public actions will go a long way toward convincing the public that something is actually being done about corruption, and that this new legislation is having an effect.

This is no easy task, we know. But time is of the essence. The sooner we get serious about taking corrupt officials to task, the sooner we stop money from hemorrhaging out of the public trust. People starve every day as a result of the pilfering of corrupt politicians. The public is eager to see the prosecution of corrupt individuals or networks, because these prosecutions will prove to them that the government is not all talk. They want to see at least one rial of the dwindling public funds returned to its proper place.

International reports such as this latest one by Global Integrity should be taken very seriously by the government and executive bodies. As long as the international community perceives there to be corruption in Yemen, it will fear investing in our country. This is one reason it is so important to alter the world’s impression that Yemen is thoroughly corrupt by taking some dramatic and public actions to deal with the bad apples in government.

Government should also enhance the media’s access to information, so the fourth estate can do its work of monitoring the officials the public has elected, and making sure they are doing what they have promised to do. Government should enhance transparency in all of its dealings, including its efforts to control prices. We keep hearing that Saleh has ordered the stabilization of prices, yet the price tags on our food keep showing higher prices.

Yemen’s chances of lassoing some new investors at upcoming investment conferences will be damaged if the perception of corruption in this country is not dealt with, as promptly as possible. All stakeholders should act jointly to address the issue of corruption and strategically prioritize issues according to a public action plan. We have had more than enough symposiums and seminars on ways to fight corruption. It is time for real actions.

Global Integrity Index

Filed under: Corruption, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 11:56 am on Monday, January 15, 2007

Update: Aha, the original report and website.

nfo:

Global Integrity is an international non-profit organization that tracks governance and corruption trends around the world.

For the Philippines, Mahar Mangahas of SWS was the lead social scientist who gave the initial scores, after consulting specialists in certain cases, to some 290 indicators designed by Global Integrity, and who revised them later based on feedback from anonymous peer reviewers.

Global Integrity is responsible for grouping the scores into six categories, averaging them and classifying them as “very strong,” “strong,” “moderate,” “weak” or “very weak.”

The SWS said the 2006 Global Integrity Index has no countries generally classified as “very strong.”

Countries classified as “strong,” arranged in alphabetical order, are Israel, Romania, South Africa, and the United States.

The countries classified as “moderate” were Argentina, Benin, Brazil, Bulgaria, Ethiopia, Georgia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Nigeria, the Philippines and Uganda.

Guatemala, Indonesia, Kyrgyz Republic, Mexico, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Russia, Senegal, Serbia and Zimbabwe were classified as “weak.”

The “very weak” class includes Armenia, Azerbaijan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Lebanon, Liberia, Montenegro, Nepal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Vietnam and Yemen.

YO:

Yemen’s efforts to battle corruption apparently have not yet impressed the global community. In the most recent study on corruption, Yemen came in last in fighting corruption out of the total 43 countries studied in 2006. The study was conducted by Global Integrity, an international organization for fighting corruption. The global integrity index focused on myriad categories of corruption, including: Civil Society, Public Information and Media, Government Accountability, Administration, Civil Service, Anti-Corruption and Rule of Law, among others.

In nearly all of the categories, the country received a very weak rating. The overall rating was 49 out of a total of 100, making it one of the lowest ranked countries in the world. According to the same study, Yemen received moderate ratings for the presidential and local elections held late last year. Election integrity was one of the highest results received by Yemen. “In the last elections, the government gave a fair and equal chance to the opposition, if we compare what happened in Yemen to other countries around the world. It would be difficult to find the same elections anywhere in the Middle East,” said Saleh Ali al-Shiabi, a member of the opposition Islah party. “It was not perfect, but as the study says it was moderate.” (Read on …)

TAJ Statement

Filed under: Corruption, Political Opposition, Security Forces, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:12 am on Wednesday, January 10, 2007

“a policy of leaking idiotic news”

bwahahaha
That’s true.
I could make a list but it would take all day.

To follow is a TAJ statement. Someone is issuing internet statements in the name of the external Yemeni Southern opposition group Tajaden (TAJ) calling for an armed uprising. TAJ, in this statement, denies it was them and accuses the regime itself of creating propaganda against TAJ. Prominent Yemenis have made similiar accusations with regard to the recent “al-Qaeda in Yemen” statement. TAJ says these new internet statements are a regime ploy to fabricate a threat and garner international support. The concern expressed is that some attacks will be manufactured along with the statements, as has occured previously in other circumstances.

To the bodies, and political organizations in Yemen To the United Nations Security Council To the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference To the General Secretariat of the Gulf Cooperation Council

Because of the consecutive successes that the Southern Democratic Assembly (TAJ) has achieved in unmasking the Yemeni occupation regime before the international bodies, the power states and the regional associations, providing evidence and facts of the falsehood of the regime’s allegations to unity, demonstrating the rights of our people in the south to freedom, self-determination and to building its own free independent state and restoring to all of its pillaged wealth. Also it has the rights in prosecuting the occupiers wherever they may be found. Due to all these successes and to the difficulties of the Dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh’s regime as it is staggering before our public’s struggles and steadfastness in the face of the occupiers. Also before the cohesiveness and unity of the live forces in the south and its increasingly pressure, (TAJ) has noted in the recent times that the Yemeni regime has made some attempts of exercising a policy of leaking idiotic news. These news claims that the Southern Democratic Assembly is a terrorist organization. Sometimes they volunteer in issuing a frail narrative and drafting statements declare that (TAJ) decided to adopt the armed struggle against the occupation forces and (TAJ) has formed its armed wing, other times.

These exercises of the Yemeni regime reflect the big failure which, the occupation authorities experienced due to the escalation of the liberating movement of our people. It is also explicit the recognition of the great successes which, has achieved by our organisation (TAJ) at the international level. It is a clear indication of the real fear of the occupying regime of the near future expected duties and liabilities towards southern people which, will be imposed by the international community as well.

The Southern Democratic Assembly (TAJ) confirms that it follows all the peaceful forms and methods of struggle recognised by all religions and by the charters of the United Nations. Hence (TAJ) would like to stress on the following:-
1. The rights of our proud people to struggle for the emancipation of the state of perpetual military occupation and emancipation of the backward tribal regime of the Dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh.
2. (TAJ) has Strong belief and full conviction at the full capacity of peaceful struggle to achieve the noble goals of our proud people, by employing our energies and capabilities, and escalating our peaceful struggle up to the full civil disobedience,
3. (TAJ) has not any relationship with what is published here or there, claiming the adoption of the armed struggle’s method. Also asserts that it has not any military wing neither in the past nor at present.

The Southern Democratic Assembly (TAJ) is convinced that the regime which, was established on the base of terrorism, has hosted terrorist groups ,sponsored and led to the spread of terrorism all over the world from Kenya and Somalia southward through the Arabic peninsula and Iraq to the United States northward, will not hesitate to fabricate and create news and information that would harm its influential opponents specifically (TAJ). We expect that the Yemeni regime will go beyond those false statements to the implementation of a number of attacks and terrorist incidents as what happened during the recent presidential election, so (TAJ) calls all southern Yemeni people and the interested in the Yemeni issue for vigilance and caution for such terrorist plots and schemes.

We are sure that the regime of the Dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh neither be able to cover up the occupiers’ crimes that they have committed against our people and our nation in South Yemen, nor can always blackmailing neighbouring countries. The world will not accept the regime of Sana’a to continue to host and sponsor the international terrorism and to threat the security and the stability of the entire international community.

The hour of the reality has got close and it will fascinate the world at its explicit facts and the tyrant will find no escape from punishment … inevitably he will be unmasked and vanquished in all circumstances.

The Southern Democratic Assembly (TAJ) renews its commitment to the masses of our proud and brave people to move forward in its struggle hard and relentlessly for the rights to uproot the occupation of our country and never tire or will rest until we achieve the eternal emancipation of our people and our nation of the tribal backward, military occupation of the state of Sana’a… only we rest on that day when the flag of freedom and independence fluttering throughout our proud south which is very soon , God Almighty.

Southern Democratic Assembly (TAJ) South Yemen
Issued in the UK. London 7th January 2007

Arms Trade in Yemen

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Corruption, Crime, Proliferation, Yemen, Yemen-Corruption, personalities — by Jane Novak at 9:22 am on Wednesday, January 10, 2007

To follow is a good article on the arms trade in Yemen from Asharq Alawasat. Abu Al-Feda seems to be the go to guy whenever any journalist wants al-Qaeda’s take on things.

A former leader of the Al Qaeda network in Yemen, Rashad Mohamed Saeid, otherwise known as Abu al Fedaa, who lived in Afghanistan for a number of years, told Asharq Al Awsat, “America and its allies aim to disarm the Yemeni people not because of terrorists but to get rid of their means of protection and defending themselves, thus making them submissive.”

Abu Al Fedaa indicated that Al Qaeda is not interested in acquiring or possessing weapons such as AK-47s and the like as such weapons can be found “where the battles are going on right now. The Mujahideen in Iraq, Ansar al Islam or Tawheed did not even have AK-47s, however the battles erupted and they developed their own weapons and utilized their skills to develop missiles and other things. Furthermore, Jihad movements are not concerned about weapons such as the AK-47, as they now rely on weapons that are lighter in weight and more effective and harmful to the targeted opponent; it is not difficult to produce explosive material.”

Abu Al Fedaa stressed the difficulty of the government to achieve its targets in its campaign to limit the number of arms in the country. He says, “That which is prohibited is desired. Closing down arms markets in Yemen will not solve the problem but will rather advance the trade; there is an international mafia, who is it that exports arms to Somalia? The Yemeni coastline stretches far and so too do the borders and the country has many foes. Closing down the markets will never solve the problem but will increase the prosperity of the trade because it will become a valuable profitable commodity.”

Yes, who is it that exports arms to Somalia? Full article to follow:

Sanaa, Asharq Al-Awsat- Yemeni authorities are currently seeking to restrict the spread of arms in the country, in fear of weapons falling into the hands of terrorist networks such as Al Qaeda for example. Last year, Yemeni authorities discovered that weapons belonging to the Yemeni Ministry of Defense had reached members of Al Qaeda who attacked the American consulate in Jeddah in 2005. However there are many obstacles in the way of controlling the arms trade in Yemen, for example buying and selling weapons is deep-rooted within Yemeni tradition and linked to the concepts of revenge and settling tribal conflicts. There are approximately 18 legitimate markets for the arms trade all over Yemen, the most prominent of which are Jahana and Ataleh, north of Sadah near the Saudi/Yemeni borders.

Jahana, which lies 25 kilometers east of the Yemeni capital Sanaa is a small town and is famous firstly for its ancient history, and secondly for the arms trade. Here, one can ask any passerby, regardless of age, about the arms market and would easily be pointed in the correct direction. There are shops lined up on both sides of a wide unpaved street, and immediately upon arrival, young sellers and brokers will approach you to ask whether you are buying or selling.

Asharq Al Awsat visited the Jahana market where a wide range of weapons are on display including light arms of different brands, various hand guns, machine guns, AK-47s, modified weapons, old rifles (Abu Sahan/Thompson sub-machine gun), and Al Jarmal (a popular weapon in Yemen). There are even RPG (Rocket Propelled Grenades) available and various kinds of ammunition. (Read on …)

Anti-Corruption Law Enacted

Filed under: Corruption, Reform, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 2:27 pm on Sunday, December 31, 2006

YO

The anti-corruption law number 39 for the year 2006 was approved for issuance Monday by President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The new law states in its third article for the establishment of a national independent anti-corruption authority.

The authority is called the Supreme National Authority for Fighting Corruption. According to the articles of the law, this independent authority will be composed of 11 persons, certified their neutrality, professionalism and commitment. The authority, which does not report to the president of the republic or any other authority, is responsible for following up corruption cases in all of the state’s institutions. It has the power and right to investigate the accounts of any official, whatever his or her position or rank is.
(Read on …)

Tourism Corruption

Filed under: Corruption, Reform, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 2:24 pm on Sunday, December 31, 2006

SABA:

SANA’A, Dec. 26(Saba)- Minister of Tourism has unveiled what he said one of the most complicated files of corruption at his ministry.
Nabil al-Faqih said that administrative violations are the clearest faces of corruption in the ministry.
This disclosure is the first by a minister in an interview with Yemen News Agency (Saba) after the issuance of president Saleh anti-corruption law.
Al-Faqih said the ministry took procedures to fight “administrative corruption” such as setting up a new controlling system in 2007.
He said the project that will cost $250,000, will be the corner stone in supervising and controlling the commitment to laws and systems in all tourist sectors as well as organizing partnership between public and private sectors working in field of tourism.
Al-Faqih blamed the national media outlets for what he said “failure to face foreign media campaigns against Yemen.”

Governmental Land Thieves

Filed under: A-GEOGRAPHY/ Land, Corruption, Military, Security Forces, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 11:05 pm on Saturday, December 23, 2006

al-Sahwa

The Parliamentary investigation committee formed to investigate the case of destroying buildings of citizens and investors by the military forces in Aden province asserted that the destruction operations were achieved without any legal causes.

The committee said that all investors and citizens have formal documents credited by the specialized authorities and all of them are perfect.

Alsahwa net was informed that the committee agreed to raise recommendations to the president demanding to pay compensations of destruction.

The committee had ended schedules yesterday after it had visited the area to ensure the damages.

Additionally,it ordered to keep the rest of the houses and not to destroy any new buildings.

Some investors and citizens in Aden Governorate constantly complain assaults on their lands and destroying their buildings located in Dar Saad by the Military Corporation in collaboration with the military protection belonging to the central security two weeks ago under the pretext of possessing those lands

The lands which were purchased and built by investors and citizens distributed to some officials by the chief of the supreme committee formed to tackle Aden farming lands.

Also Hadramout

AS: Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) in Hadrmout Governorate warned authorities of ignoring land issues and treating with them irresponsibly.

JMP said that continuation of those problems may cause huge social disaster in anytime, appealing the government to carry its responsibility concerning that .

They mentioned in a statement for Alsahwa that there are disagreement between two tribes in Mukla . While they asserted that they don’t side to any part in the case , they denounced authorities demurrage in this case.

Land dispute:

YT: Not only is her land unjustly confiscated and her guard brutally beaten by the people supposed to protect the law. The attorney general in Aden has turned the tables around imposing grand theft charges and made her a fugitive fleeing from arrest. “He did not respect my old age and authentic documents proving my right to the property. He insulted me, threw my British passport in my face and said it is time to bring me in handcuffed,” said Arwa Al-Hamdani, a Yemeni-British woman who is struggling to find justice in this messed up legal system.

1.5 Billion in Oil Revenue Not in Budget

Filed under: Corruption, Economic, Oil, Political Opposition, Yemen, Yemen-Corruption — by Jane Novak at 11:04 pm on Saturday, December 23, 2006

This is an atrocious theft.

YT: SANA’A, Dec. 16 — Three parliamentary blocs last week accused the Yemeni government of lacking transparency regarding estimated oil returns and further playing around with more than 25 millions barrels of exported oil.

Following passage of the budget project, the opposition blocs – the Yemeni Reform Party, the Yemeni Socialist Party and the Nasserite Unionist Party – released a mass media statement last Wednesday highlighting their views on the 2007 budget.

The release declared, “The 2007 budget project was approved while a majority of Yemenis live below the poverty line and are illiterate. They also lack basic services such as electricity, water and health care. Further, unemployment rates are more 45 percent and increasing daily to the point where we’re on the verge of a catastrophe at social, economic and political levels.”

The statement went on, “There’s agreement about economic and social priorities inside and outside Yemen. The recent London donors conference revealed the government’s failure to treat the deteriorating situation in Yemen.

“The budget should address the economic situation, including poverty and combating unemployment, improving education services, supplying clean water and electricity to all citizens and carrying out infrastructure projects, as well as increasing investment expenditures in such a way that revitalizes the nation’s economic situation and improves the investment environment.

It continued, “What is distinct about the 2007 budget is its great ambiguity regarding announced figures and policies. The government is attempting to mislead Parliament in the following ways:

1. The government’s financial statement policy is contradicted by figures shown in the budget. Despite advocating clarity and transparency, the figures contradict the financial statement. The estimated oil exports were fixed at 41 million barrels at $55 per barrel with total returns of YR 443 billion; however, actual figures for January-October 2006 reveal that the Yemeni government exported 55 million barrels. Thus, 2006 oil exports would be 66 million barrels, which means YR 270 billion wasn’t included in the budget.

2. The financial statement mentioned government’s tendency to develop non-oil revenues; however, this wasn’t reflected in the figures, as 70 percent of revenues were from oil. Additionally, the predicted increase in returns was nothing other than fixing the 2007 oil price at $55 per barrel instead of $40 in 2006 and exchanging the U.S. dollar at YR 196 instead of YR 185 in 2006, so the increase wasn’t due to actual economic activity.

3. Although the budget project was presented to Parliament after the London donors conference, wherein Yemen received $4.7 billion in easy loans and grants, the 2007 budget doesn’t reflect this number. Instead, loan returns decreased from YR 62 billion in 2006 to YR 58 billion in 2007.

4. The immense vagueness of the budget figures reflect the Yemeni government’s hidden intention to play around with the figures under names like “Unclassified Expenditures,” etc., which contradicts transparency and basic accounting principles. Figures under this classification were YR 269 billion, or approximately 16.5 percent of the total budget.

Further, bulk amounts were cut from centralized allocations, which were YR 736 billion or approximately 45.3 percent, clearly indicating that the government lacks vision. Further, there’s no avail to having a budget with numerous shortcomings.

5. The budget deficit is increasing annually, thus opposing government allegations that it is attempting to reduce the deficit, which was 5.18 percent of Gross Domestic Product in 2006 and 4.29 percent in 2005.

6. The government budget tends toward current expenditures at the cost of investment expenses, which amount to YR 301 billion of total GDP or an 18.5 percentage. This means more poverty, unemployment and economic recession.

7. Although they are sectors upon which development relies, there has been a noticeable setback in allocations for education and health. Education allocations decreased from 21.8 percent in 2005 to 15.6 percent in 2006 and 11.7 percent for 2007. The same is true for the health sector, whose allocations decreased from 5 percent in 2005 to 3.9 percent in 2006 and 3.3 percent for 2007.

Such decreases come at a time when the nation is witnessing increased illiteracy among citizens, deteriorating educational outputs and teachers not being paid enough. The health sector has deteriorated further regarding facilities and personnel, as well as medicine.

Such deterioration invites the Yemeni government to increase allocations for these two important sectors, but instead, the opposite occurred. Further, the rights of these sectors’ employees weren’t met according to Parliament’s salary strategy.

8. Opposition repeatedly warned about the risks of foreign and national loans upon Yemen’s economy, particularly when there’s no capable management to administer such loans. Thus, the negative effect of such a policy has surfaced, with huge amounts deducted from budget allocations to settle these loans, which are increasing annually.

Further, approximately YR 22.5 billion is deducted annually to settle foreign loan installments. Servicing such debt amounts to YR 118.7 billion, representing approximately 7.3 percent of budget expenditures.

9. Despite the budget’s immense shortcomings, another budget actually is implemented, according to Central Organization for Control and Auditing reports and final statements, because many projects were implemented outside the budget.

Member of Parliament Ali Ashal, a member of Parliament’s oil and development committee, accused the government of playing with 25 million barrels of oil exported (equaling $1.5 billion) and not including them in the 2007 budget.

He added, “The government’s 2007 budget presented to Parliament wasn’t transparent about estimated oil revenues. Setting oil prices between $50 and $55 is floating and is unworkable for deciding the oil portion of the budget, which is 75 percent.”

Ashal told Al-Nida newspaper that the report of the committee responsible for discussing the 2007 budget was one of the worst ever submitted to Parliament. “Unlike past reports that attempted to provide an objective and scientific criticism for budget projects, the most recent report contains a lot of flattery for the government and the 2007 budget, although it’s full of shortcomings,” he noted.

The opposition statement criticized increased 2006 expenditures on commodities, services and belongings, which reached YR 260,210,181. It also referred to hosting allocations amounting to YR 5,915,890, thus indicating that the Yemeni government wasn’t committed to rationalizing expenditures.

The statement also declared that the 2007 budget amount assigned for dams is YR 728,942 million, decreasing YR 210,618 million from last year’s estimates. Such a small amount doesn’t begin to cover the pressing needs for more dams and water barriers.

Doctors and Pharmacists Protests Continue in Yemen

Filed under: Civil Society, Corruption, Elections, GPC, Targeting, Unions, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:33 am on Monday, December 18, 2006

These grievances go back to July of 2005 when the fuel subsidies were lifted and a new Wages and Salaries strategy enacted but never implemented.

Teachers are facing similar and worse problems: many have been transferred from their jobs to distant locations in retribution for the teachers strike in March and for participating in the electoral process as opposition activists. Those who refused to go are being threatened with termination, and salaries are being withheld. Considering the state apparatus is at the disposal of the ruling party, politicized employment is one means of repressing democratic progress.

NY

Doctors and Pharmacists are going to make a sit-in before the premises of the Ministers Council next Tuesday to protest the government’s delay to tackle their financial status, accusing the government of attempting to “take away their rights”.
They called upon president Saleh to implement his election program and fulfill his promises to improve the living and scientific standards of workers in health sector.
The syndicate decided to make such a protest because the second year since the Salary and Wages Law was issued is approaching the end while the government did not fulfill its promises it gave for doctors yet, said vice chairman of Doctors and Pharmacists Syndicate, Mohammad al-Wafi.
The syndicate said in a statement that the sit-in would be achieved under the slogan “Protecting our Rights is Respect to our Identity”. It said that doctors and pharmacists rights are confiscated and they should not keep voiceless.
“The government used to mock doctors profession and their rights so it refuses every time to implement laws and decisions related to doctors and pharmacists. We have sent hundreds of letters to the government to improve our conditions like judges and others, but in vain”, said the statement.
The government moves over law, over rights of people and over all values and standards, said the statement.

Update: Here’s more on 400 teachers whose salaries were suspended from al Motamar:

SANA’A- Local sources at Shara’ab district, Taiz governorate, said heads of education centers suspended the November month’s salaries of 400 teachers that amounted to 10 million riyals. Sources told almotamar.net that the education center has granted more than 400 teachers arbitrary dispatching decisions since the beginning of this year in return for illegal payments.
According to the sources, the education center appointed principals without referring them to the Education Office in the governorate, the procedures of which are arbitrary. The educational process in the district is subjected to trafficking, sources added.
The sources further noted a number of schools lack textbooks since the beginning of the academic year. A number of inspectors in the district appealed to the local councils to quickly interfere and release their salaries as well as investigate into the case.

Yet more YT: Teachers threaten to renew strike: (Read on …)

Anti-Corruption Efforts Taking Root

Filed under: Corruption, Parliament, Presidency, Reform, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:11 am on Friday, December 15, 2006

Progress enabled by the previous Cabinet reshuffle, good point. Maybe the regime should reshuffle the military leadership and the party leadership as well.

SANA’A, Dec. 9 — Bribery, money laundering, wasting public funds, illegal enrichment, conflicting interests, abusing power and funding election campaigns are just some corruption crimes in Yemen, a country that has judicial accountability, according to Ali Hussein Al-Ashal, a member of the Yemeni Parliament’s Oil and Development Committee.

Al-Ashal was speaking at a conference hosted by the Sana’a-based Yemen Parliamentarians Against Corruption and they were marking worldwide Anti-Corruption Day.

“The Yemeni Parliament must be given a large role in fighting corruption,” said Al-Ashal. “The corruption law granted members of Parliament several important rights, such as the right to question the prime minister, his vice president and ministers on any matter, thereby strengthening the role of parliamentary members and their role as overseers of anti-corruption.” (Read on …)

Land Appropriation

Filed under: Corruption, Crime, Judicial, Presidency, Reform, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:46 am on Tuesday, November 28, 2006

this is a letter to the editor at the YT:

We have a complaint regarding our building in Mukalla which was handed over to Yemen Economic Corporation without any legal judgment. Therefore, we appeal through your esteemed newspaper to President Ali Abdullah Saleh to compact the corruption with the terms of London Donors Conference and to return our building after the law said its word, but Yemen Economic Corporation does not recognize with the law. (Read on …)

Frightened of a comedian

Filed under: Corruption, Education, Political Opposition, Presidency, Targeting, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:35 am on Monday, November 27, 2006

They really can’t take a joke.

SANA’A, Nov. 26 — Sana’a University’s General Union for Yemeni Students is calling for investigations into a death threat leveled at Yemeni pop singer Mohammed Al-Adhroei’ during a reception last week at the university’s Faculty of Commerce.

Head of the union, Ridhwan Masoud, said Al-Adhroei’ was threatened to be killed if he attended the celebration, to which the student union had invited him to perform a sketch.

Masoud recounted, “At the directive of Sana’a University President Khalid Tamim, several soldiers stopped me at the university gate and took me to Doctor Tamim, who refused the idea of hosting the pop singer.” Although surprised by Tamim’s position, he noted, “He is the president of the largest Middle Eastern university.”

According to Masoud, Tamim’s response was, “Al-Adhroei’ isn’t allowed to attend because he criticizes the state. If either you or Al-Adhroei’ attend, then we will fight.”

The union head went on to say that Tamim thereafter would hold university security responsible if the pop singer managed to attend the celebration, demanding strict measures be taken. “Upon hearing Tamim’s orders, a security official named Yahya Al-Azaki told me he’d kill Al-Adhroei’, repeating that sentiment three times,” Masoud pointed out.

Taking no action, Masoud headed for the hall where hundreds of students were awaiting the celebration. There, he was surprised to see approximately 40 heavily-armed soldiers with grenades and guns spread around the hall. “I asked the reason for their presence and one soldier replied that they were ready to fire should Al-Adhroei’ attend,” Masoud added. (Read on …)

Fire destroys corruption files

Filed under: Corruption, Education, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:12 am on Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Almotamar.net – SANA’A- A huge fire broke out today the ministry of higher education’s archive department. A discarded cigarette butt was thought to be the cause of the fire. Civil defense forces, along with six fire engines, rushed to the site to put off the fire.

Almotamar.net came to know from reliable sources that the fire has destroyed important documents that include investigations about financial and administrative corruption which was behind sending 500 students to study abroad illegally.

Minister of Higher Education Saleh Basurrah has already asked for carrying out investigations to look into forging documents with regard to sending students to study abroad on the light of a report released by the Central Organization for Control and Audit.

At present, nine suspects are tried on charges of forging documents that helped 560 students study abroad over the past years.

Update: probably arson

Other intimidation

Interpol involved in the investigation of the fraudulent students’ records.

Petrol accelerant: Almotamar.net – SANA’A- Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Dr. Saleh Basurrah revealed that the investigations results on the fire that broke out last week in the ministry’s premises showed that the fire was set because of petrol but not electric shock….The ministry last year discovered nine people suspected of forging official documents to send 560 students abroad for study, and referred them to justice.

Flour

Filed under: Corruption, Crime, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:33 am on Tuesday, November 21, 2006

While the UN uses with nice terminology like food insecurity, basically there’s lots of families starving in Yemen on a regular basis. Distorting the food supply like this only means more hunger when half the kids in Yemen are already physically stunted from malnutrition.

“One way to raise prices.” YO:
More than 3 million sacks of wheat flour were discovered hidden in four large warehouses belonging to five merchants in the suburbs of the capital Sana’a, said the general manager of the industry and trade office of Sana’a governorate, Abdul-Hakim al-Kumaim. The flour had been hidden so that the five merchants—who are considered the biggest traders of wheat and foodstuffs in Yemen—could monopolize the flour and create a crisis in supply that would enable them to keep jacking up flour prices. (Read on …)

2006: 8 Trillion YR Contracts Violate Law

Filed under: Corruption, Reform, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:15 am on Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I would have thought that when the donors granted Yemen 4.7 billion in development aid, one precondition would have been to cancel the the 2.3 billion (USD) purchase of Mig SMT fighter planes. Beyond military spending, there’s billions lost to corruption. COCA is a good organization. Unfortunately their findings are rarely acted upon, with few to no prosecutions of corrupt officials.

YO An official report filed by the Central Apparatus for Monitoring and Accounting uncovered violations committed by the leaderships of the Capital Secretariat in implementing a number of projects, with a total cost estimated at YR 8,705,988,674. (Read on …)

Reform Necessary for Development

Filed under: Corruption, Donors, UN, Economic, GCC, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:22 am on Friday, November 17, 2006

SANAA, 15 November (IRIN) – Analysts have said the Yemeni government must be serious in implementing reforms if it is to benefit from the aid pledges that are being made at an important donor conference being held in London on Wednesday and Thursday.

“Yemen is now at a crossroads and needs to help itself by achieving real reforms and fighting corruption,” said Abdul-Aziz al-Tareb, head of the Arab Group for Investment and Development. “Yemen is now facing a real challenge, especially as it has development money. It needs to prove its seriousness in achieving development, fighting corruption and improving its infrastructure and economy.” (Read on …)

Request: Bump Budget 45%

Filed under: Corruption, Donors, UN, Oil, Parliament, Reform, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 2:06 pm on Friday, November 10, 2006

SANA’A, Nov. 8 — On Tuesday, the Yemeni Cabinet approved an additional allocation for the current financial year to be used for current, capital and investment expenditures, government loans in Sana’a.

At its regular meeting, the Cabinet referred the draft law seeking additional allocations to Parliament to finalize required constitutional measures. The draft is expected to face wide opposition in Parliament, as have similar projects the government has submitted in the past.

According to finance committee member Abdulkarim Shaiban, making an additional allocation for the current budget year is unjustified and violates Yemen’s Constitution. However, he expects the draft law to pass due to the General People’s Congress (GPC) majority in Parliament.

The additional allocation announced by the Cabinet is nearly YR 422.64 billion, or approximately 45 percent of the 2006 general budget.

Shaiban asserted that the government is addicted to additional budget allocations because they’re spent without being controlled and furthermore, Parliament is impaired and weak about auditing government accounts or forcing it to commit to the constitution.

The cause for this, according to Shaiban, a member of the opposing Islah Party, is the existence of a GPC majority dominating most committees, particularly those concerned with control and accountability.

He further predicted that the Yemeni government already has spent the additional sum prior to Parliament’s consent. Though law dictates that the government apply for additional allocations, which should be on a small scale, before spending it, the government has become accustomed to committing such violations over the past few years.

Shaiban also accused the government of intentionally creating a deficit in the general budget, estimating oil at $40/barrel, a price lower than international prices, which are $70. He asserted that such government measures are an attempt to obtain further foreign aid and loans.

Concluding his remarks, Shaiban noted that the government doesn’t care about Parliament, nor did it provide detailed categorizations of expenditures on previous applications for additional allocations.

Additionally, he alleged that Parliament doesn’t know anything about aspects of spending, so the government intentionally submits applications in four papers to confuse it. In this regard, he referred to past government violations involving YR 40 billion given to contractors under direct order and without tenders.

For his part, Yasser Al-Awadi, deputy head of the GPC bloc, defended such a decision by the government, considering it natural and predictable.

He also declared that the government has the right to request additional allocations if there is extra revenue and spending outside the budget, further denying that such violates neither the law nor the constitution.

Over the past few years, Yemen’s government has become accustomed to requesting additional year-end budget allocations, aiming to dispose of revenues surplus achieved via oil pricing differences, which reached 50 percent this year.

Report Issued by The Southern Democratic Assembly (TAJ)

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Corruption, Crime, Economic, GCC, Iraq, Military, Oil, Presidency, Proliferation, Security Forces, Yemen, prisons — by Jane Novak at 6:29 pm on Thursday, November 9, 2006

Paper prepared for the Yemeni Consultative Group Meeting, held
from 15th -16th November 2006, London

First of all the executive committee of Southern Democratic
Assembly salute all the delegates representing countries, organisations
and all participants in the conference and would like to present before all
of you a numbers of facts and figures regarding the situation in the
occupied South Yemen, for your serious consideration.

The Southern Democratic Assembly (TAJ) is a political organisation that
struggles to liberate South Yemen peacefully and insure that there is a
free and independent state for the southerners.

The South of Arabia was granted its independence from the British
colony on 30th November 1967 after an occupation lasted 129 years (19th
January 1839 – 30th November 1967). The independent state was
established on all the southern land, which is 338,000 squared km,
bordered from the east Oman Sultanate, Saudi Arabia from the north,
Arab Republic of Yemen from the Northwest, the Red sea from the West
and the Aden gulf and Arabian sea from the south. It has declared the city
of Aden as its capital and gained a full membership of all regional and
international organisations including the United Nations and the Arab
league which lasted till 1990.

The National Front that received the independent was a branch of the
Arab Nationalist Movement took the initiative to call the new state
Peoples Republic of South Yemen and amended it to the Peoples
Democratic Republic of Yemen. It was the intention of the new state to
achieve the comprehensive Arab unification due to the adoption of the
national and revolutionary ideology that was very poplar during the 50s
and the 60s of the last century.

On the 22nd 1990 the unification was declared between Peoples Republic
Democratic of Yemen with population of nearly 2 million according to
the 1988’ census and Arab Republic of Yemen, covering an area of
160,000 square km with the population nearly 20 million (there was no
accurate census) with Sana’a city as its capital. Bearing in mind that there
was no referendum was conducted amongst the people of South Yemen
regarding the future of their country which was a clear breach to the
Aden’s historical convention of 30th November 1989. The new unified
state has encountered many obstacles and conflicts due to the different
cultures, visions and means of building the modern state between the two
different political leaderships of the two countries. Consequently the
conflict has escalated to an extent, which made the president of the Aِrab
Republic of Yemen; the Marshal Ali Abdullah Saleh declare on 27th April
1994 the un fair war, which lasted for 2 months against the South of
Yemen, which ended with the fall of Aden and the full military
occupation of the South in July 1994.

Since July 1994 the people of South Yemen has been living under the
northern tribal and military occupation causing lots of suffering and
hardship to the people in the South.

The northern occupying authority has not been satisfied with plundering
the wealth and implementing exclusion and depravation policy against
the southerners but also it continues to practice aggression such as
committing serious killings of children, men and women. It has also
committed various actions to forge the historical and geographical facts
and to omit the identity of the South.

The Southern Democratic Assembly (TAJ) continues its peaceful struggle
to get rid of this brutal occupation and underdevelopment and for selfdetermination
to build a free and independent state for Southerners.

Again TAJ would like to assert that it does not recognise any agreements
and conventions signed by the occupation regime in particularly after 7th
July 1994, and has the legal right to bring back all its legitimate right.
TAJ calls on the international community to provide full back up for the
Southerners and ensure urgent implementation of the Security Council’s
resolutions 924 and 931 issued during the summer war of 1994 for
ordering the Northern regime to stop its military aggression against the
south. It is important to revisit these resolutions for instructing the
northern military security authorities to withdraw from the south fully and
grant our people in the south their right to Self-determination. TAJ
would also like to revisit the Arab foreign minister’s decision of their
meeting, which took place in, the city of Abha; Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
94 concerns the situation of south Yemen.

The regime of the dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh that has been leading
Yemen since 1978 and occupying the south for 12 years has no intention
to establish a modern constitutional state. Instead he continues to exert his
effort by setting up a repressive and corrupt regime that is heavily used to
eliminate political opponents and violate human rights and freedom. This
regime is very well known to have provided safe havens for terrorists,
exports terrorism and smuggles arms to neighbouring countries which
contribute to a large scale in creating instability in those countries. This
regime continues to wreck the already fragile Yemeni economy by
counterfeiting the Yemeni currency (Riyals) and the foreign currencies of
neighbouring and others countries.

Everybody could refer to the evidence such as photographs, facts and
figures that we have provided in this paper for confirmation. We feel
under obligation to alert and warn all responsible people i.e. Arabs,
foreigners and international organisations of the danger that this regime
will inflict upon the future of the people of Yemen, regional countries and
the world as a whole.

The Southern Democratic Assembly (TAJ) calls on our brothers in the
Gulf Cooperation Council to understand and support the southerner’s
peaceful struggle for freedom. We would also like to take this opportunity
to advise them not to fall into the trap that the south has fallen in by
giving the corrupt dictatorship regime a chance to mess up the situation
and the people of the Gulf States.

TAJ warns all conference participants that any support offered to the
dictatorship regime in Sana’a led by Ali Abdullah Saleh will only be used
to enhance corruption, repression, increase poverty rate and instability.
Thus terrorists’ activities will also increase and the suffering of our
people will be prolonged.

Examples of the occupiers’ corruption in the south
• Since declaring the unification on 22nd May 1990 the Yemeni
regime has not implemented its commitments to convert Aden city
to a free zone and economic capital, just promises and lies only. On
the opposite the following acts indicate that he is destroying the
city’s future:

• The regime is selling the Aden port through influential bodies with
the businessman Abdullah Buqshan in a suspicious deal in order to
exclude it of the competition with neighbouring ports including
Jabal Ali in Dubai.

• According to that suspicious deal the capacity of the port of Aden
well make it capable to receive 3 millions containers only after 35
years, while the capacity of Salalah; the port of the Sultanate of
Oman is currently(2006) receives 4 million containers. Not to
mention the competitor port of Jabal Ali in Dubai, this will receive
55 million containers after 15 years only!!

• Despite the fact that the previous southern state spent 7o million
dollars on enlarging and creating a new quay in the port Mualla,
the authority has leased it to Dubai only at annual rate of $225,000
in four instalments.

• The government paid $ 200 million compensation to (Yemenfest)
for the withdrawal from the containers terminal at Aden port. The
company left the country due to the epidemic of the corruption and
to lawlessness after the attacks on the warship U.S.S Cole and the
French tanker Limburg. However the authority leases the
containers terminal to Dubai company according to the agreement,
which presented before the parliament; for a annual rate of half
million dollars lasting for 35 years, equivalent of $50 million for
the whole lease period, which mean the state will lose $148
million. (Source: original agreement’s text).

• Recently the president has granted one of the trading houses; (Hael
Saeed Anam’s group) a whole quay at the campus of the port of
Aden without paying one penny to the government. The group has
obtained a straightforward agreement stating that the quay is
granted and put in possession of the group!!(Published at several
electronic news sites).

• The Military and Economical Establishment trades and smuggles
on behalf of the president Saleh and some influential relatives
various things using the military ships of the previous southern
navy. The establishment is exempted from port charges under the
pretext that it transfers weapons to the governorates. It is worth to
be mentioned that this establishment is not subject to any
supervision or any financial control of the government.

• Installing illegal collection points inside the campus of Aden port
and interfering blatantly in all affairs of the port and controlling
unlawfully its aeronautical activities.

• Aden airport was closed before the international flights and turned
into an internal airfield.

• Influentials at the occupation authority have been digging artesian
wells haphazardly causing a big secrecy to the water in the city of
Aden. They get the water free, bottle and sell it to the market.

• Two years ago Aden has obtained a loan of $45 million provided
by the British government in very easy terms to build an alternative
hospital replacing the current Republican one. The corrupt tried in
Sana’a sizing on the loan. Unfortunately the loan was cancelled
after it was revealed that an attempt to seize the amount by officials
from the headquarter in Sana’a.

• The occupation authority seized a researching boat called (Ibn
Majed) that was donated by the Japanese government to the
Institute of Marine Science during southern state before 1990. The
boat now is used in exporting shrimps abroad by private company,
which is belonging to one of the president relatives.

• The strategic oil installations in Hugaif, Aden were delivered to
one of the president assistants, Tawfeeq Abdulraheem according to
the agreement signed by the ministry of the of oil and minerals on
11th March 2003.( Source- Alshoura newspaper, volume no481,13 May
2004.)

• Aden refinery is being neglected and destroyed despite it is one of
the main sources of the country. The occupiers have looted and
deliver its income to influential officials in Sana‘a at the same time
the authority is building another refinery in Hodaida city value of
$450 million.

• The head of the occupation regime Ali Abdullah Saleh has
smuggled the country wealth to the Dutch and Germany banks. The
Germany magazine Dearshpeagl”Focus” has estimated the Yemeni
President’s wealth at $ 20 billion. (Source: diplomatic magazine)
published in London in August 2004).

• In a suspicious deal, influential officials have signed to sale gas to
Korean companies less than 40% of the official price in the world
market (Source. Petroleum Economist, March 2005).

• Influential officials have looted large quantities of gold that is
mined from the south. They sold it on the world market without
declaring or supplying revenue to the state treasury. According to
gold global market in Dubai, Yemen is among the 10 countries
exporting gold.

• They have manipulated and squandered the oil wealth of the south
by concluding a deal to sale the Government’s shares in the oil
sector No. 53 in the Hadhramout to a foreign company at 13
million and 123 thousand dollars, which deprived the state treasury
of $ 200 million at least.(Source: Alshoura newspaper,14 / 04 / 2004).

• Plundering of fish stocks by the close bodies to the President
through granting licenses to private and foreign companies to fish
indiscriminately and illegally.

• An illusory budget of (700 billion riyals)equivalent to $3 billion
and 535,000,000 was allocated additional to the government’s one
for the current year 2006 (Re: the Yemeni Parliament).

• A large amount of (600 billion riyals)equivalent to $3 billion and
303,000,000 from the differences of the sale price of oil for the
current year 2006 was not declared and not delivered to the
government treasury (Source Yemeni Parliament).

• The huge amounts of taxes of 40 billion and 116 million Yemeni
riyals equivalent to 202 million and 585 thousand dollars that were
collected in the provinces were not supplied to the state treasury.
Source : Central Agency for the Control and Accounting, Althawri newspaper
No.1925 17 August, 2006

• The total amount, which was looted from the oil sector and
Government budget and taxes for 2006 only for the benefit of
the President and corrupts thugs gang of his companions
reached 1340 billion and 581 million Yemeni riyals equivalent
to seven billion and 240 million and 708 thousand dollars
Notes: Money looted from other sectors such as gas, gold and fish
stocks are not included.

• The amount of (3.549.573.053) three billion, five hundred and
forty-nine million, five hundred and seventy-three thousand, fifty
three Yemeni Riyal has been laundered by presidential instructions.
The amount has been diverted from the account of the “expansion
project, the Great Mosque” to Hamoud Alshobami the financial
officer of the General Public Congress Party, that is headed by the
President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The scandalousness was revealed
by Mohammed Qahtan Head of the Political Department of the
Yemeni Congregation for Reform. (Source: Http: / /
www.nasspress.com/news.asp?n_no=3001&sss).

• A large amount of drugs has been smuggled across the Indian
Ocean to the southern Yemeni governorate in Hadhramout, and
from there it has been exported and smuggled across the land to the
neighbouring countries. The operation is managed and supervised
by someone close to the Yemeni president.( Source: Jane Novak
Worldpress.org contributing editor, October 14, 2005)

• Investors are subject to a continuous harassment, blackmail and
extortion carried out by the influential officials from the occupation
authority. Here are some examples:

1. The Contractor Ahmad Al-Sorimah the owner of Across the
Sahara Company, which is specialised in the international
roads construction. The authority has refused to pay the
company its dues after the completion of all projects;
consequently the company has raised the issue before the
World Bank’s Court in Paris, which is in charge in resolving
commercial disputes.

2. .The two businessmen Abdullah Al-Husseini and Khaled
Abdul-Ghani with other investors from UAE and Saudi
Arabia were involved in constructing (Hadhramout Refinery
Project). They left the country and have not returned until
now due to the artificial disruptions that they have
encountered. After the authority managed to stop
implementing the project, they are now trying to put another
tender without to resolve the issue with existing investors.

3. The Government has bought the share of the businessmen
Taher Bawazeer and Osama Bawazeer at Aden port about $
120 million, and gave the money to another body rather to
Bawazeer; the owners of the shares.

4. The owner of Aden Sheraton Hotel, Abdullah Al-Katheeri
has left the country and refused to return preferring to live
in the UAE away from the occupation Government’s
harassment and blackmail, by imposing additional and
informal(political security and taxation)charges.

Military Expenditures

According to a report prepared by the American Centre
for Strategic and International Studies a few months ago,
that during the past few years it has been noticed that a
remarkable increase in military spending in Yemen as
follows:

Expenditure has increased from $ 482 million in 2001 to
$809 million in 2003 and $942 million in 2005.This high
expenditure is carried out through mediators who are
close to the President. Such high expenditures are a
serious burden on the Yemeni economy as Yemeni
military spending during 1990s did not exceed $ 539
million. It has been found that Yemen still continues to
raise arms imports.

Examples of the occupation practices and violation of
human rights and public freedoms

• Looting the state’s land and real estate in the south
and distributing them to the President’s family and
companions.

• The Budget of Aden governorate (the capital of the
south) is less than the budget of Al-Thawra Hospital
in Sana’a.

• Demobilising by force nearly half million people from
civil and military personnel of the southern state and
replacing them by those from the Yemen Arab
Republic.

• Referring the majority of southern personnel women
of the University of Aden to the forced demobilisation
and recruiting other teachers from the Arab Republic
of Yemen to replace them.

• Implementing unfair policy of depriving Southern
young people of education and restricting the study
abroad to those from the Arab Republic of Yemen.

• Practicing deliberate murder on southern women,
children and men by the occupation soldiers and
officers without bringing the criminals to justice.

All of these martyrs were killed by the occupation forces
without any guilt, while the killers are enjoying the
authority’s protection. No justice for the victims because
they are southerners.

Yemen and Terrorism

For two decades, the name of Yemen is associated with a large number of
explosions and accidents carried out by Islamic extremists, and provide a
safe haven to many of the Jihad movements. These movements have
received financial support, training and facilities to carry out attacks
targeting Western interests and some of the Arab countries in and outside
Yemen as well.

Many reports and statements indicate that the Jihad members have
received financial support and training from the official bodies and
foundations of the State and are supervised by leaders who are in
important civil, military and political state’s positions. The general Ali
Mohsen Al-Ahmar; half brother of the president Saleh, the leader of the
1st Armoured Division and Commander of the military region of the
Northern part of the country, is in charge for recruiting the Jihad
members who returned from Afghanistan; in the security and military

(M آOPH ا QKRGH اSTU دوع GH ا GJKL
Tawfeeq Abdul Ethar Fares Moneerah Ahmed
Kareem Hussein Alkhadher
Masoud Taleb Awadh Alhanki)

institutions and retain them equipped and trained as well. In an interview
with the leading element who returned from Afghanistan; Mustafa Paddy
(Abu Allojri) – Yemeni newspaper Al-Wasat March 15, 2006.) Also he
confirmed that when he was a leader of a Camp in Afghanistan, that Abdul-
Majeed Al-Zendani; Chairman of the Council of the Yemeni Congregation
for Reform and the President of Al-Ima’an (the faith) University,
he went to Afghanistan in 1992- at that time he was a member of the
Presidency of the Yemen -and asked the militants to pledge allegiance
and return to Yemen to implement specific tasks. (The same earlier source).
He also stressed that he is assured of the future of the Jihad (fighting)
because of the regime experience and wisdom in maintaining the Jihad
member and keeping them equipped and safe for the future to fight
anywhere else when it is necessary.

The prominent Jihad’s member; Rashad Mohammed Said so-called (Abu
Al-Fida’a) who is very close to Osama Ben Laden has commended at the
wisdom of the Yemeni authorities in hosting the Jihad’s members and
confirmed that these groups are more pervasive and powerful in Yemen
and in the whole Arabian Peninsula. (Rashad Mohammed Said (Abu Al-Fida’a) -
interview with the Yemeni newspaper Al-Wasat October 19, 2006.)

The escape of 23 members of Al-Qaeda prisoners from the political
security jail in Sana’a in February 2006, a similar incident of assisted
escape of a numbers of Al-Jihad’s prisoners from Aden’s jail some years
ago and 7 members of what is called Hata’ab’s group ran away from Al-
Bahreen prison in Abyan in July 2006. Due to these incidents it was
discovered that there were many members of these groups operating
within the political security organisation and the controversial statements
made by the president with regard to his confirmation that the escapees
prisoners are in the Yemen and he is in touch with them. An interview
with Ali Abdullah Saleh published in Al-Hayah newspaper, based in
London, issued in February 2006.

These findings indicate that the Yemeni regime itself uses the terrorism to
blackmail the regional countries and it has a good relationship with Al-
Jihad’s members and their activities.

(Al-Qaeda and the Holly alliance: Saleh, Al-Zendani,
Ali Mohsen and Bin Laden. The authoritarian,
financial, spiritual and military integration.)

Both the evidence and information indicate that who carried out the bombing
attack on the American Warship USS Cole in Aden port in October 2000 are
well-known bodies to the Yemeni regime and some of who were involved still in
their jobs. Moreover the facts confirm that high-ranking officers serving in the Republican Guard are directly related to jihad groups. All these evidences indicate the extent of the link between the current Yemeni regime and Al-Jihad’s terrorist activities.
The Yemeni claim to fight terrorism is a mere tactic by the government in
order to deal with the foreign pressure and to stray other countries from
looking at Yemen as a state that support terrorism.

Numerous reports have uncovered that the Yemeni Authorities have
established several military camps inside Yemen and provided them with
heavy and medium arms such as anti-plane missile and Mortar arbitrary.
Source: (an interview with Al-Jihad’s member Mr Ali Abu AL-hind by Alwasat
newspaper in August 2005).

The Yemeni authorities also cooperate in regrouping those fighters who
returned from Afghanistan, amongst them the Afghan Arab, members of
Al-Qaeda and a large number of fugitives from countries such as Egypt,
Jordan, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Libya and Kuwait. Half brother of the
president; General Ali Mohsen Al-Ahmar was strongly linked to the
kidnapping of 16 western tourists by what so called Aden and Abyan’s
Islamic Army in December 1998 which ended in the tragic killing of
three British and one Australian during the attempt of the Yemeni
authorities to free them from their terrorists. What is shocking is that a
large number of the terrorist who participated in the kidnapping were at
the General Ali Mohsen Al-Ahmar’s house two days before this incident.
They were also in contact via a phone with the authorities in Sana’a
before they opened fire on the tourists and killing some of them. (Source
,Time on line, May 8th 2005).

The spiritual leader Abdul Majeed Al-Zendani continues to issue Islamic
Fatwa (Holy Decrees), supervise the activities of the Jihad’s members,
prepare them ideologically and educate many new members, recruits
them within the Iman University that he is chairing. Bearing in mind that
the university is not under the control of the state and the source of
financial support remains anonymous.

Will Saleh be prosecuted after it has become
clear that he is involved at the attack on
the U.S.S.Cole!!

What is more is that the security officer Abdul Salaam Al-Heyla who has been arrested by the American Intelligence and put in Guantanamo bay prison
since 2002 was in a direct contact with the president of Yemen. He also was the financial consultant of the president and in charge of some of the president’s private investments.

He was responsible for the Egyptian’s Jihad group in Yemen and those
returning Arab Afghan’s fighters. Moreover, information from the
American and Italian intelligence has indicated that Mr Al-Heyla had
strong link to the September 11th 2001 terrorists attack and had
relationship with Al-Qaeda organisation and its cells in Europe. His
connection was through providing members of the Al-Qaeda with forged
travel documents and air tickets as well as carrying out moneylaundering
on behalf of Yemeni parties involved in terrorism.

Protection of the manager of the world pharmaceutical company was
given to Mr Al-Heyla. It is also stated that this company was used as an
intelligence office for the terrorists. It is said that Mr Al-Heyla at the end
was led to Egypt and got arrested there. His arrest almost inflicted a real
crisis between the Egyptian and Yemeni governments. This matter could
only indicate his strong relationship with powerful elite, not far from the
presidency. Reference (Shafaf,Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper (Middle East
Transparency), 22 February 2004, 18th April 2004, 11th January 2006 and Amnesty
International report 2005).

Despite the fact that Yemen seems to be a strong ally of the United States
in the war on terrorism during the last five years, evidence indicate that
Yemen has become the main point for smuggling arms and assisting Al-
Jihad’s activities to cross to the Horn of Africa. Reference (a study prepared
by Deborah L. West – Anti-terrorism in the Horn of Africa and Yemen, World Peace
Foundation at Harvard University in 2005). This view is confirmed by the
previous professor of the University of Washington, Robert D. Burrowes
who claimed that Yemen had become a safe haven and one of the largest
sources of terrorism and terrorist’s activities and that Yemen is the
alternative for terrorists particularly after the fall of Taliban in
Afghanistan.

The regime of Sana’a continues to embrace and welcome Jihad’s
members from various Arab countries and the Horn of Africa. The
confession of one of the Egyptian Jihad’s leaders confirmed that the
second man in Al-Qaeda organisation Dr.Ayman Al-Dhawahiri was in
Yemen and during his time spent in the Yemen he had to supervise a
number of terrorist’s acts that included the bombing of the Egyptian

(The officer Al-Heyla; Saleh’s close
adviser. When Saleh join him)

embassy in Pakistan, the attack on a tourists group in Khan El-khalili in
Cairo, as well as the attempted assassination of the Egyptian prime
minister, Atef Sedqi at the end of 1993. These acts indicate that the
authorities in Sana’a are directly connected to a number of terrorists’
activities in the Horn of Africa and Saudi Arabia i.e. the bombings of the
American Embassies in Nairobi and Dar As-salam. (Source: Roberts D.
Burrowes mentioned earlier). An Egyptian magazine called Al-Ahram Al-
Arabi published a report in April 1997 pointing out that Osama Ben
Laden‘s sponsored twelve thousand Islamic extremists in Yemen. It was
also published by the media that there is significant evidence showing
that the real plotter of the attacks that took place in May 12th 2003 in
Saudi Arabia which targeted and destroyed big residential compounds is
the Yemeni Jihads member Abdullah Ali Al-Reimi.

He was responsible for coordinating Al-Qaeda’s activities inside Saudi Arabia and at the same time he was in the Yemeni political security prison.
(Source: Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper, February 26, 2006).

According to intelligence reports, Yemen is One of the biggest sources of Al-Qaeda
suicidal bombers that are supplied to Iraq. This information has also confirmed that
the grandson of the spiritual leader of the Islamic extremists in Yemen
Abdul Majeed Al-Zendani is one of those who carried out suicidal operations in Iraq. (Reference: Hazim Al-Ameen, Al-Hayah newspaper, London, May,10th 2005).

Information released by the American intelligence confirms that Yemen
is the main source for buying weapons and there is a large amount of
money spent on weapons. According to official reports Yemen is the
third Arab country in armament expenditure, as well as trading in arms
with international gangs to smuggle weapons from Serbia, Slovakia,
Croatia, Kosovo and Montgomery. The personal responsible for this is a
close officer to the president Ali Abdullah Saleh who in his capacity
organise smuggling these arms to go to the Jihad groups in Somalia,
Sudan, Eritrea, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, and other regions in Africa. (Source:
report prepared by UPI: Yemen and smuggle of arms, liberation army website).

Two pieces of weapons previously sold to the Yemeni army were found in the
possession of the terrorists group responsible for attacking the American
Embassy in Saudi Arabia. The ruler of the region of Jezaan in Saudi
Arabia stated in one of his statements for Al-Sharq AL-Awsat newspaper
that the border guards almost in every hour they confiscate large
quantities of arms smuggled from Yemen. Source (BBC). Moreover drug
e arms to go to the Jihad groups in Somalia, Sudan, Eritrea, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, and other regions in Africa. (Source: report prepared by UPI: Yemen and smuggle of arms, liberation army website).

(Abdullah Ahmad Al-Reimi has managed Al-Qaeda activities
in Saudi Arabia from his prison in Sana’a)

Trafficking in Yemen is one of the main sources of income that helps the
Jihad groups through the border with Saudi and via a number of Yemeni
islands and coasts on the red sea that are owned and fully controlled by
the president himself and his loyal officials. These important locations are
used for drugs and arms trafficking because they are absolutely outside
the control of the authoritative institutions.

These practices expose the relationship between the Yemeni regime and
terrorism and how the regime uses terrorism as a weapon to eliminate its
opponents, blackmail and threats neighbouring countries, as well as
violates the international peace and security for the sake of maintaining
power.

Yemen is not a poor country; in fact it is rich in its wealth of oil, gas, gold
and other minerals, fisheries, agriculture and tourism … etc. However,
because of the political nature of tribal and backward it despises the law,
circulates chaos and spreads corruption. This is its next project, which
might bring to the Gulf Cooperation Council.

NGO licenses revoked

Filed under: Civil Society, Corruption, Judicial, Reform, Targeting, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 6:19 pm on Wednesday, November 8, 2006

YO

The licenses of more than 1,500 non-governmental organization have been cancelled, and more than 2,000 more will be brought to court soon for violating laws governing NGOs, said Ali Saleh, deputy minister of Social Affairs and Labor. These actions are the result of recent research conducted by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor, which found that many NGOs are not operating in a legal manner.

“Only 30 percent of NGOs work well and honestly to achieve their goals,” said Saleh. Some of the violations include receiving money or other kinds of support from foreign sources, without disclosing this support, as they are obliged to do according to the law. The organizations often doled out this support to their members, rather than funneling it toward their alleged projects.

As a result, the ministry will amend all NGO laws, because they are riddled with gaps, and allow the organizations the unrestricted right to communicate with and receive money from embassies, international NGOs or others, said Saleh. The ministry currently needs more governmental support to better the legal standards for NGOs, because so many are committing violations, he said.

Holy Quran Schools

Filed under: Corruption, Education, Religious, Targeting, Unions, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 1:04 am on Wednesday, November 8, 2006

NY: The Ministry of Education denied Monday any intention to close the Holy Quran teaching schools that it runs.
The Holy Quran teaching schools have been established by a presidential resolution and they have their own bylaw and structure, manager of the General Department of the Holy Quran Schools in the Ministry, Mohammad al-Ghaili told NewsYemen.
NewsYemen got a copy of an official order, attributed to the Ministry of Education and Education Office in a governorate, obligating the government primary and secondary schools to teach the Holy Quran as a separate subject inside schools but not outside.
The al-Ghaili denied such an order and said “it is baseless and has not any legal reference”.
Asked about complaints offered by some teachers of the Holy Quran about moving them to other schools and closing the Holy Quran schools where they used to teach, al-Ghaili said that such practices were personal and “have not a legal base”, confirming that the ministry is looking into the teachers’ complaints.
Abdul-Rahman Saad, head of the Legal Affairs Department in the ministry, said that closing the Holy Quran schools is illegal and “who does so has not legal base”.
NewsYemen has received complaints for Holy Quran teachers in Hajah over closing the Holy Quran schools there and confiscating their salaries.
The head of Education Office in Hajah refused to comment on the complaints and the legality of such procedures.
The legal affairs manager Ahmad Hadi asked the head of the Education Center, Yahya al-Sobaihi, in Haja to release the salaries of teachers, but al-Sobaihi said that he ordered not to release the salaries until teachers agree to move to other schools, pointing that the closure of the Holy Quran schools based on an order by the ministry to all schools to teach the Holy Quran as a separate material inside the formal schools, not outside them.
The Ministry of Education started observing the Holy Quran Schools after merging the scientific institutes with the government schools in 2000.

Transparency and Yemen

Filed under: Corruption, Donors, UN, Reform, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:28 am on Thursday, November 2, 2006

EITI (Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative) meeting held to discuss resource curse and revenue streams.

At the conference, participants reaffirmed their commitment to EITI principles, Minister AbdulKarim Al-Arhabi presented a paper on the recent economic and socio-political developments in Yemen, as well as the judiciary, legislative and administrative reforms package being implemented as a part of the third national plan 2006-2010. He said Yemen already enjoys a high level of transparency and disclosure of its oil and other revenues from extractive resources on timely bases, while emphasizing that the government has become highly transparent and has adopted a policy of disclosure not only in extractive industries but also in other sectors including the net worth of government officials.

EITI is a good initiative, so its very good they are participating but I wouldn’t call the regime’s current handling of oil revenue highly transparent. The new oil minister seems to be doing some good things though. However bringing 176 ministry employees in his delegation to Jeddeh seems a bit over the top.

This is a good article: YT:

The last few decades have witnessed a great acceleration in the accumulation of wealth, due to industrial developments, technological revolutions or the newfound wealth in natural resources such as oil, gas and minerals. The newfound wealth was recently seen with the global increase in oil prices and the fortunes made by oil producing and exporting countries, and here I would like to bring the experience of two oil producing and exporting countries, Norway and Yemen.

Norway is among the rich countries on earth, and is the third largest exporter of oil after Saudi Arabia and Russia, while Yemen is one of the least developed countries and a tiny exporter of oil. Each country received significant income as a result of the increase in oil prices; Norway deposited the funds into a “Future Generations Fund” in order to ensure the well being of future generations, while Yemen sets a bank account at its Central Bank, and spends the additional funds to expand the day-to-day operations of the government instead of investing it or using it to tackle any of the distressing problems of poverty and illiteracy.

Yemen did not anticipate the increase to prices of oil in accordance to its budget and financial information and therefore it did not have a strategic vision (similar to that of Norway) for which it can use the additional funds, and instead used the funds to build more government premises, buy more furniture and vehicles.

Although Yemen is far richer than it was a few years ago, poverty is increasing and quality of life continues to stagnate. What Yemen needs isn’t more wealth per se, Yemen needs a concept or a system enabling it to use its wealth and resources in service of Yemen’s future and in sustainable development for future generation.

The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative is one of those concepts ensuring better utilization of resources, it supports improved governance; empirical studies have shown that when governance is good, then the revenues of extractive industries can be channeled to fostering economic growth and reducing poverty.

The primary beneficiaries of transparency initiative are the governments and citizens of countries which have considerable natural resources. Knowing what governments receive, and what oil and extractive companies pay the government, is a critical first step in proper use of those revenues.

Implementing a transparency initiative as part of a program of improved governance will help to ensure oil, gas, and mining revenues contribute to sustainable development and poverty reduction. Having said that, the government is on the right track as the cabinet has ratified a number of transparency and accountability measures last January, but the impact of those measures are yet to be witnessed in Yemen.

Extra Month Salaries

Filed under: A-INTERNAL, Corruption, Elections, GPC, Oil, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:19 am on Tuesday, October 17, 2006

YT

Another reason is frankly attributed to the additional salary awarded to all government employees right before election day. This move persuaded many people to vote for the ruling party. “We had one concern in our lives, poverty. When the president ordered one salary extra, that concern seemed to vanish temporarily and we went to vote feeling pleased with the government,” according to my aunt, a teacher in a village in Taiz governorate.

Canadian oil firm Nexen refused to pay the additional month’s wages but the other oil companies complied.

Extra Months Wages Promised Before the Election

Filed under: Corruption, Economic, Elections, Oil, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 6:59 am on Saturday, October 7, 2006

for oil workers but I thought it was the military too.

The Canadian firm Nexen is refusing to pay, considering it corruption. I would call it bribery. The EU observers called it use of “state resources in favor of the ruling party’s candidate” that had no impact on the outcome of the election.

YOThe employees of Canadian Nexen Petroleum Company have threatened to go on strike as early as next week, because the administration has yet to pay them the extra month wages as instructed by President Saleh prior the election.

The employees union at the company demands that their extra wages be paid immediately, as this obligation has already been fulfilled by every other oil company. The deputy head of Nexen stated in a conference with union members that his company considered the payment of these extra wages corruption and hush money. He refused to sign the payroll, and the union has further demanded an apology and intends to take legal action against him. A source at the company said that the employees began to protest after the manager refused to disburse the salaries on the 24th of last month. He immediately received complaints about his refusal, which is required for the entire oil industry.

The source added that what started as partial strike will turn into a full strike until their needs are met. In addition to receiving their salaries, the employees expect an apology from the company’s deputy manager. The source said that their requests were found to be legitimate by the minister of oil and minerals, the minister of finance, and the chairman of oil exploration and production, all of whom have urged the company to comply with the president’s decree. The company is a joint public/private venture, and the government underwrites 78 percent of the general payments and the employee’s salaries of the company.

SANA’A – al-Motamar-His Excellency President Ali Abdullah Saleh have ordered the government authorities concerned to pay the October salaries to government employees in advance, September.net reported. The State’s administrative staff and civil service employees are to get their salaries for the current month in advance. This presidential order coincides with the holy occasion of Eid Al-Fitr as well as the Yemeni revolution anniversaries (September 26th, October 14th, and November 30th).

Public Corruption Stems from Over-powerful Executive

Filed under: Corruption, Presidency, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:20 am on Monday, August 14, 2006

Report finds: Reform is rhetoric. YO:

The annual report by the Yemen Center for Strategic Studies said that utilization of executive power by the ruling system in the country was a key reason for corruption, according a new 2005 Strategic Report.
The report says that the corruption is now being practiced publicly that led to a warning from inside and outside the country over the danger of corruption spreading.

The 2005 report focuses on different aspects of corruption such as political corruption in Yemen and the weakness of the executive power and its political, social and economic tasks. The report attributes this weakness to the domination of financial and demonstrative corruption and usage of power to serve personal interests, as well as unfairness in distribution of services projects and governmental employment. This year, the living standard of citizens is worse and rate of poverty and unemployment increased, the report says.

The report also says that measures taken by the government within its reform program during the past ten years could not eliminate financial corruption in the public departments. The judiciary is not independent and political interference is widespread in the courts. All these help in extending the culture of corruption in the country, the report adds.

Despite the fact that more than ten years have passed since the beginning of the economic reform program, this program could not achieve required success. The report says that there are real disappointments and lack of commitment to combating corruption, particularly in reforming the fields of administration, judiciary, and security. It says that most of the reforms plans are devoid of real figures and statistics.

“Those reforms are just like rhetorical speeches which have not specific goals or plans for implementation,” the report says. The report says that the speeches include ambiguous sentences, such as combating corruption, terrorism, poverty, inflation and controlling the public expenditures as well as reducing rate of unemployment and increasing living standard. But that the reforms program is not serious enough to reform, combat financial and administrative corruption or reform faults in security and judicial systems. (Read on …)

Yemen Links: Vacation Edition

Filed under: Corruption, Diplomacy, Education, Proliferation, Saada War, TI: External, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:15 am on Monday, August 14, 2006

Actually, the back from vacation edition:

Security denies banning Hezbollah flags, the Houthis can’t have them but everyone else can.

Teachers strike renews, as they link their minimal salaries to corruption in government offices and duplicity in oil sales.

SCER biased in favor of ruling party and impacted by external influences.

What were they expecting?
The US administration denounced the attitudes of president Ali Abdullah Saleh that support resistance in Lebanon, led by Hezbollah, and Palestinian resistance, led by Hamas, against Israel, Yemeni official source said.
The Emirate newspaper “Al-Bayan” quoted the source as saying that America informed Yemen its objection to statement of president Saleh in which he called for supporting the Lebanese and Palestinian resistance and “opening the door before Arab Mujahideen to fight with the resistance against Israel”.
The source said that Yemen refused US objections.
We clearly told the US administration that friendship and cooperation relations between Yemen and America on fighting terrorism do not contradict with Yemen’s national stances and that there a big difference between terror and resisting occupation,” al-Bayan quoted the official source.

Luqman out? That would be good news, yes, released.

Does the JMP want to win? That’s a good question.

GPC Parliamentarian resigns over corruption: “The environment and climate in which the GPC exercises its activities are controlled by particular individuals who don’t have any interest in the country. They prefer their personal interest to their party’s,” Al-Wajih added. “I’ve been a GPC member since 1985 – before reunification; nevertheless, I believe my resignation is the right decision, although it was late in coming.” More and then of course they call him stupid names: Whilst the GPC Assistant Secretary General, Sultan al-Barakani has played down the impact of the resignation, saying that membership in his party “is not a catholic marriage,” papers signed by unidentified GPC members were found Saturday in al-Wajeeh’s constituency in Hodeidah (178), accusing al-Wajeeh of being a “charlatan, a traitor, an agent, a communist, and an atheist.” The papers, which were dispersed near houses on Friday night by persons unknown, said that al-Wajeeh did not “deserve to be affiliated to the homeland or to the GPC, which accepts only honourable and honest people.” Public reactions to the resignation have largely been in favour of al-Wajeeh’s stand. “The response of the leadership of ruling GPC to the resignation of al-Wajeeh is stupid, and it shows clearly that corruption fights fairness,” said Dr. Abdullah al-Faqih, professor of political science at Sana’a University.

Yemen to manufacture 23 million bullets. huh?

Al-Jawf to boycott election over health issues. Playing the game instead of changing the game.

450 million YR transfered to PA, Saleh to donate one bil YR.

257,000 duplicate voter names refered to cout. Call Jimmeh.

Zindani’s newspaper burns.

Head of Local Council resigns.

Islah independent to stay in race, to enhance democracy no less.

Crime on the rise, but not nearly as pervasive as the West.

Second helicopter crash in a week.

Not speaking Arabic. WaPo: Nearly 30 percent of State Department employees based overseas in “language-designated positions” are failing to speak and write the local language well enough to meet required levels, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office…..Sixty percent of State Department personnel in Sanaa, Yemen, and 59 percent in Cairo do not meet language requirements, the report said.

Only 1250 more MW to go: Yemen and the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD) signed an agreement on Monday to fund the second phase of the by-gas electricity project in Marib governorate. Under the agreement, the fund would grant the project $100 million to tackle the problem of power shortage. (to produce 400 MW)

1 billion YR returned to treasury in 7 months from corruption cases.

Council of Revenge, Allow:

He then criticized the Council of the Higher Judiciary for suspending some of the members of the general prosecution. He described the procedures of the council and its actions as not transparent, and accused them of denying judges and members of the general prosecution who face the Higher Judiciary Council, the right to defend themselves.

He described the HJC as a council of revenge and not a council for the defense of judges and lawyers. The aim of the new Center for Judicial Independence is to track “the failures in the performance of the judicial authorities and to protect judges against violations by the very influential governmental authorities. The judicial bodies—since the unification of the country—have being ruled by military persons,” Allawo said.

He called for liberating the judicial bodies from the control of the police and security officers and added that the recent package of judicial reforms is flawed, the most important fault of which is that the Presidencies of the Supreme Court and the Judicial Forum and the Higher Judiciary Council are occupied by one person, thus centralizing authority in an unbalanced and partial manner.

Allawo, who is also the head of the legal circle of the Yemen Reform Party (Islah), he accused the HJC of being an affiliate, or subordinate of the presidency of the republic, because it holds its meetings in the presidential office. The head of the trustees of the new established center, Judge Taher Muhsin said, “The center is greatly needed at the time, which is witnessing many amendments to the law by the Higher Judicial Council.

He said that he hopes the new judicial authority would review or consider revising the role of the Judicial Forum to act as a syndicate that takes care of the rights of all judicial authorities and affiliates.

Well there’s my answer.

Education office employee absconds with teachers’ salaries.

No longer the poster child of reform

Filed under: Yemen, Yemen-Corruption, Yemen-Democracy, Yemen-Journalists — by Jane Novak at 7:05 am on Wednesday, May 3, 2006

MEO:

Major donor countries, concerned that the reform process in Yemen has stalled, have stepped up pressure on the Sanaa regime by linking aid to tangible change.

“The donors have made it clear that there has to be change,” whether pertaining to public freedoms or the fight against corruption, a Sanaa-based diplomat said, requesting anonymity. President Ali Abdullah Saleh “has been pressured a lot by the international community on reform and good governance,” he said.

It seems a long time since Saleh was invited by US President George W. Bush to take part in a G8 summit in Sea Island, Georgia, in June 2004 in order to endorse Washington’s “Broader Middle East” initiative for democratization of the Arab-Islamic world. Two years later, Washington no longer sees Sanaa as one of its best pupils.

Ambassador Thomas Krajeski publicly aired US concern that Yemen had halted progress toward democracy in an interview with the private newspaper Al-Ayyam last October. Yemeni authorities deny dragging their feet on reform, but Krajeski said that his remarks were prompted by “an increasing harassment of journalists and closing of some independent newspapers, causing all of us concern about Yemen’s democratic commitment and the pace of democratic reforms”. “We remain concerned” by the situation in terms of liberties, chiefly press freedom, he said. Attacks against journalists have increased in recent months, and authorities have failed to arrest any suspects in the assaults.

A draft press law, which one diplomat described as “a law that protects the government against journalists,” is also under consideration just a few months before presidential elections scheduled for September. Another diplomat noted, however, that Yemen and Kuwait are the only two countries in the Arabian peninsula “where there is an opposition press that can go very far in its criticism” of government policies.

Information Minister Hassan Ahmad al-Lawzi insisted in remarks to AFP that the government “condemns” attacks against journalists and that press freedom will be “protected.” Another black spot in Yemen’s record is corruption, which both foreign diplomats and Yemenis see as spreading rather than decreasing.

Washington was not long in making its displeasure known. During a visit to the United States in November, Saleh was informed of its decision to deprive Yemen of financial assistance which would have made it eligible for the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA), an aid programme for impoverished nations launched by the Bush administration in 2002.

The development assistance programme was proposed for countries “ruling justly, investing in their people and encouraging economic freedom.” Some countries that did not meet the criteria required to qualify for MCA assistance were selected to receive “Threshold Programme Assistance.”

The MCA programme links aid to the performance of a country, gauged on the basis of 16 indicators, including one related to civil liberties and another to “control of corruption.” Yemen was picked as a “threshold” country in 2004 before being suspended last November. “Because of increasing concern over government corruption and a perceived decline in commitment to individual freedoms, they (Yemen) were suspended pending improvement,” one diplomat said.

The immediate loss for Yemen ranged between 20 and 30 million dollars. But in the longer term, it forfeited potential aid of hundreds of millions of dollars by losing its eligibility for MCA assistance. The following month, the World Bank announced a one-third reduction of its aid to Yemen – from 420 to 280 million dollars – for the same reasons.

In early February, Germany, the United States, Britain and the Netherlands – Yemen’s top donors — told the Sanaa government they wanted to see “change” and a quick implementation of concrete steps toward reform. All of which did not sit well with the Yemeni president. During a visit to Beijing last month, Saleh pointedly remarked that China does not meddle in the internal affairs of the countries it helps, and on his return to Sanaa, he rejected “dictates and conditional support.”

Corruption Solution: Punish the Offenders

Filed under: Yemen, Yemen-Corruption — by Jane Novak at 4:04 pm on Monday, April 17, 2006

Deputy general, Dr. Abdullah Al-Ulfi, stated that reforms must be made to the law concerning corruption crimes to such a degree that large and small officials receive equal punishment.
Al-Whida reported that Al-Ulfi indicated the current law does not treat high ranking officials. Often, it is the smaller officials who commit the infractions, both monetary and administrative, under the pretext that their direct heads compelled them to do it. It is necessary to take another look at some of these laws so that all are equal before the law.
He went on further to state that there is cooperation between Yemen and Germany to develop the capabilities of the Yemeni financial and administrative cadres.
He stressed the necessity of full cooperation of the judiciary and oversight bodies to raise their readiness to deal with issues tied to money and corruption. In an official report it was made clear that the repeated nature of such violations is due to the absence of any punishments that are effective.
A report published by the monetary committee analyzed and studied the infractions mentioned in the reports by oversight and accounting. It confirmed there was a lack of cooperation among different administrative units with the oversight body. This was most often in delaying or not responding to their requests. This is what has hampered the body from being effective the most.
Thos who participated in the workshop for fighting corruption stressed the importance of finding a legal construct to fight corruption and to protect public monies and to strengthen ways to prevent such infractions. Over 180 people participated in the workshop from the judiciary and oversight bodies. They began their work on Wednesday.
They recommended the necessity of strengthening and activating internal oversight in all units and institutions of the state and to create a review administration in the management body of the state.

NY

Hostile Take-over in Ibb

Filed under: Targeted Individuals, Yemen, Yemen-Corruption, Yemen-Economy — by Jane Novak at 8:06 am on Monday, April 10, 2006

In the US, when one company wants to take ownership of another company, they go and buy a lot of shares until they have a majority ownership stake; in Yemen when someone wants to takeover a company, they send armed men to the location while persuading the local officials not to intervene. This also the proceedure to gain possession of land and houses.

IBB, April 9 — The National Company for Mineral Water in Al-Siani, Ibb was attacked by armed individuals in a military car. Dressed in civilian clothes, five men threatened employees with death and blowing up the factory unless they left and wrote a document confirming the factory’s seizure.

According to Yahya Al-Siani, general manager of the factory’s external relations, the armed men first threatened to kill the guards unless they opened the gates, insulting them and calling them swine. They then stormed the factory and attacked employee Yousef Abdulqadir, the factory’s chief accountant.

The attackers alleged that they were doing this because the factory was theirs, as their sheikh, Ali Hizam Al-Buslani, had bought it from businessman Tawfeek Abdurahim Mutahar. They said they were sent to close the factory for an indefinite time.

Factory administration reported the incident to Al-Siani security headquarters, which sent an armed military vehicle with some soldiers. According to factory workers, the soldiers took the five attackers and some of factory employees for questioning.

Al-Siani said all factory employees were interrogated; however, security questioned only three of the attackers, who seemed to have outside intervention. They left Al-Siani area within a few hours of questioning, affirming that they will return with their whole tribe to seize the factory.

Al-Siani confirmed that the region’s security commander, Col. Ali Abu Ghanim, seems to be plotting with the men, as they are from his area of ‘Arhab.’ According to Al-Siani, Ghanim released them on a written pledge to return Saturday, but they did not. Al-Siani added that a petition was submitted to the governor and the governorate security administration, which directed Ghanim to take necessary measures. However, according to Al-Siani, he did nothing.

The mineral water company was established two years ago under the name “Biladi” in a partnership between Salahadeen Group of companies with 75 percent of shares, Mutahar with four percent and the remaining 21 percent for local area residents. According to the factory’s public relations, it is not confirmed yet whether Mutahar sold his shares.

Yemen Times

Corruption in Ministries

Filed under: Yemen, Yemen-Corruption, Yemen-Statistics — by Jane Novak at 7:26 pm on Wednesday, April 5, 2006

hmmmm, from the YO:

The Executive Manager of the Tourism Promotion Board (TPB) has been referred by Ministry of Tourism to the Prosecutor of Public Money charged with fraud.

The executive manager was charged with transferring YR15 million to a false account for the purpose of taking part in an exhibition in the British city of Manchester, but that the organization never took part.

The minister, Nabil Al-Faqih said that it was a ‘precautionary procedure’, and that they would wait for prosecution team to complete their investigation.

A letter was sent to the finance ministry requesting changing the executive and financial managers of the TPB, but the ministry turned the request down, insisting they stay in their position.

However, Al-Faqih added that he would be forced to suspend then if they Ministry of Finance did not respond to his demand.

In a meeting on Sunday in the TPB, Al-Faqih confirmed that the organization would b restructured based on legal measures.

A vice-chairman of the board was elected from the private sector for the first time. The board of the fund was also elected in a secret vote.

He said it was agreed to establish a tourism investment company to encourage investment in important tourist sites that are currently rarely visited.

Earlier, the Ministries of Media, Culture and Tourism had promised before Parliament to refer all those suspected of corruption to the prosecution of public money.

This came in discussions of the report presented by the Media, Culture and Tourism committee in their study of the reports of Central Organization of Control and Audit (COCA).

The COCA reports showed that total violations in the Ministry of Media and other institutions under its umbrella reached YR 2.64 billion until 2003, while in the Ministry of Culture and Tourism it reached YR 733 million.

The two ministers of Media and Tourism Hassan Al-Lowzi and Nabil Al-Faqih, demanded specific names of those accused of corruption so that they could be questioned.

They repeated their desire to stand beside Parliament in the fight against corruption.

The Deputy Minister of Culture stressed the necessity to tackle violations starting from as far back as 1990.

Parliament demanded additional recommendations to the Media Committee to inform Parliament of the names and positions of those involved in corruption, estimated to be as high as YR3billion.

This recommendation was proposed by MP Sakhr Al-Wajeeh from the ruling PGC party. This procedure must be done within a week to refer them all to prosecution of public money for investigation, and then for trial at a specialized court.

MP Sakhr Al-Wajeeh and MP Abdul-Karim Shaiban asked why the report had been delayed for more than a year before it reached the agenda of Parliament.

Abdul-Razaq Al-Hajari said that the most widely read newspapers in Yemen and liked by many people were the most corrupted, according to the COCA report.

2 Billion Discrepency

Filed under: Yemen, Yemen-Corruption, Yemen-Economy — by Jane Novak at 4:17 pm on Sunday, March 26, 2006

between the market price of oil and that accounted for in the budget. The accounting is at $40.00/barrel and the market prices is $60.00/barrel. (not to mention the amountof public money lost by smuggling) From News Yemen.

MP Ali Ashal criticized the discrepancies in the official report the government submitted concerning oil revenues. He stated such discrepancies are a tool to confuse the public.
A member of the committee for development and oil stated that the statistics provided by the Central Yemen Bank for the month of January show a total production of 5.11 million barrels thus bringing the year-end total to 60 million barrels. The government predicts that this year’s total will be 39.6 million barrels, a decrease of 21 million from the year previous. It has calculated price per barrel at $40 despite the world market price of $60.
The report indicated that the budget for the year 2006 from oil exports is expected to exceed 3.6B dollars, i.e. the difference in price will exceed 2B dollars. The government does not interact with these resources a fact which was taken into account. It was accused of building a budget based on a deficit and “that is not true in most cases.” Ashal clarifies that since 2001 parliament has demanded that this price difference be made available to the future generations and to build more infrastructure. However, this money has been going into the pockets of the corrupt. Mr. Ashal also stated that the oversight committee is unable to produce the real number of government revenue from oil.
Mr. Ashal based his claims on the monopoly of the centers of power over information and their blinding of the truth.
A member on the committee for development and oil confirmed that there was a lack of transparency based on the discrepancies in the central bank’s report. Sakhar Al-Wajih talked about the differences in oil price and stated “the institutions in our country don’t know anything because we are not a state of institutions. Our institutions are only decoration for the world.” He also criticized the government for using the 2B dollars to strengthen security at a time when “the man in the street fears the man in the uniform.”
Ahmed Al-Sharabi, a leader in the GPC, asked those present to not condemn the situation “because it is a difficult situation and people’s feelings are provoked. He stated the “the amount of oil in our country is small and our corruption is big. In other countries the sheer amount of oil covers the size of corruption.”

Related: Yemen seeks 300 million loan from China as some MPs call for some controls on international loans and their dispursement: “The joint council also recommended that the government be bound to not use the revenue from the loans for purposes other than those previously agreed upon….Mohammed Al-Saqaaf called for a clause in the loan law barring the government from buying cars and furniture with loan monies.”

The Impact of the Prison Escape: Saudi Arabia

Filed under: 23 ESCAPE, Yemen, Yemen-Corruption — by Jane Novak at 11:03 pm on Wednesday, March 8, 2006

A big article from News Yemen. Its a very good and complex analysis. The escapees include well trained major AQ operatives including nine previously turned over by SA to Yemen and who have high level contacts inside and outside the region. While ongoing cooperation is important according to the Saudis, the fact that they were housed together for a year is a troubling indication. 400 guns sold by the US to Yemen that were found in SA in the hands of AQ is news, to me at least, and implicates elements of the military in supplying AQ, which is not news, to me at least.

This is interesting, “The arrest of al-Ahdal helped speed up the Saudi American alignment in exercising pressure on Yemen.”

This is freaky; “They disclosed unreality of what was said before on the arrest of Hadi Belqim, mentioning it was proved that Belqim was still free as denying correctness of what was published in Sana’a about the arrest of Abdulrahim al-Nashiri. Saying he was seen free in company with one of Yemeni security men before he was later arrested in the Emirates.” Lying to the US again?

The book mentioned is Sleeping with the Devil, by Robert Baer, who just keeps popping up and is the guy I mentioned in the last article who said that a Saudi military official told him the Yemeni regime is covering up some aspects of the Cole bombing.

Despite the seriousness in trial of tens of those accused of carrying terrorist acts or planning for them, Yemen appears to be amidst a regional and international tempestuous moment towards files it is achieving successes in them. It is Yemen’s cooperation with the international community in fighting terror dating back to the Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh to the White House following the September 11 attacks.

It is strange that the official Yemeni performance seems languid regarding indicators of the tempest as it tries to make use of it domestically and a little farther from the United States of America. This stance is maybe meant for the agenda of the presidential elections and probably to bypass effects of Saada battles, or to put pressure on America that has stepped up its demands concerning requirements of democratic change and its refusal of the Yemeni presence at the millennium fund without achievement of outstanding technical accomplishments.

Despite the Yemeni tepid handling of the 23 who ran away from the Political Security prison on the 3rd of last February, the incident seems to have considerable impact on Yemen in its regional and international relations, even if the authority does not realize that.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has begun “sharp” security and diplomatic activity, as described that to NewsYemen by a high ranking source, to express about its fears from the effect of the escapees outside Yemen. Al-Hayat newspaper in its Saudi edition had quoted Saudi sources as saying that the runaways “from operatives on whom al-Qaeda organization was depending to implement its plans in the region.” The sources that the newspaper described as “reliable”, described the runaways as “possessing highly professional capabilities for carrying out terrorist attacks at both levels of planning and implementation.” The escaped group, “ nine elements the Saudi authorities had repatriated to Yemen according to the security cooperation between the two countries”, included “ dangerous terrorist elements that engineered and took part in planning for big terrorist operations and in their carrying out”, confirming that “ they have large-scale relations and contacts with the rest of the al-Qaeda organization cells and other terrorist organizations inside and outside the region, expecting to “ begin building other terrorist cells inside and outside the region in addition to activating and rehabilitation of other cells to implement new acts .”

The Saudi statements published on al-Hayat newspaper front page, exceeded the talk on the danger of the escapees to queries on the escape operation and said the escaped al-Qaeda operatives “ stayed more than one year in one prison, talking, thinking and planning together until they Managed to dig the tunnel and then escape. ” They wondered “How can a cell experienced in field action be put in one place, a matter that does not serve the course of security investigation and interrogation?” the sources also described the prisoners escape operation as “dangerous” and rather “ dangerous precedence” because of the big number of escapees. But they emphasized the importance of “keeping the security coordination and cooperation between the Yemeni and other security apparatuses” They also stressed the “importance of joining forces and increase in security coordination and cooperation among the region’s countries to arrest the group before they begin to implement sudden terrorist attacks in any available form,” pointing that “the group will seize any available opportunity.”

The Saudi statements on the escapees come at a time when Saudi citizens are standing trial in Sana’a on charges of planning to hit foreign interests in Yemen, after their return from Iraq. In addition there is the more important issue, which is the beginning of Abu A’sim al-Ahdal, whose arrest on 25 November 2003, was accompanied by an indirect tempest in the relations between Yemen and Saudi Arabia, especially that the Americans consider him as “a witness more than an accused in the terrorist operations carried out in Yemen, particularly the Cole and Limburg attacks. The arrest of al-Ahdal helped speed up the Saudi American alignment in exercising pressure on Yemen.

Saudi sources had published news about quantities of weapons, among them shoulder guns that were seized in Saudi Arabia, of American origin sold to the Yemeni defense ministry, in addition to 400 guns carried on shoulder and having serial numbers as part of a deal the United States sold to Yemen defense ministry. Those weapons were seized during one of Saudi raids of gunmen hideout in the kingdom. The sources had wondered on how those weapons were taken from the ministry’s arsenals to be used by al-Qaeda for hitting American interests in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Saudi media had then talked about concerns of American authorities regarding incorrectness of statements published on operations targeting al-Qaeda elements. They disclosed unreality of what was said before on the arrest of Hadi Belqim, mentioning it was proved that Belqim was still free as denying correctness of what was published in Sana’a about the arrest of Abdulrahim al-Nashiri. Saying he was seen free in company with one of Yemeni security men before he was later arrested in the Emirates. Those were statements made by the Saudi interior minister prince Naif Bin Abdulaziz after the arrest of al-Nashiri last year. The political adviser to the president of the republic Dr Abdulkarim al-Iryani had then replied on those statements. At that time Sana’a considered raising the talk on Yemen’s arming of terrorists came to be ahead of information that may be obtained from the detainee Mohammed Hamdi al-Ahdal. Yemen had then said the preliminary information of investigation confirmed involvement of regional personalities in the attack on Limburg and facilitation in the attack on Cole, as part of the local conflict of the country to which those personalities were affiliate. A few days after the capture of al-Ahdal, the Yemeni interior ministry tried to contain the crisis and allowed a Saudi security team to be acquainted with procedures of investigation with al-Ahdal and Yemeni security sources rejected to divulge information by the American intelligence on the author of a book titled “Sleeping with the Satan”, copies of which were given to Yemeni presidency. The book had mentioned about a regional role in the operations of Cole and Limburg. The Yemeni interior ministry had talked in a statement during that crisis about “partied aimed at media excitement with the aim of misleading the world public opinion on the truth of Yemeni serious and decisive stands in fighting terror,” pointing to attempts of “extortion” against Yemen, mentioning “Yemen that suffered damage of terrorist acts, more than any other country, could not submit to any extortion of whatever kind or of whatever source.”

According to Yemeni sources there were previous American intelligence repots delivered to Yemen that mentioned about such information on a role by Saudi prices in supporting al-Qaeda operations in Yemen and the possibility that al-Ahdal, who was among the FBI lists, might have confirmation or denial of the information. Yemen had earlier announced it had sent to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia “what concerned it of al-Ahdal confessions, “who had “talked about names of personalities in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and the Arab United Emirates” who helped him in funding al-Qaeda terrorist acts in Yemen. It is known that al-Ahdal, who Yemen authorities had accused of receiving more than eighty million riyals to spend on tribesmen in the governorates of Al-Jawf and Marib to facilitate hiding the wanted elements, was born in Al-Madina, Saudi Arabia in 1971. He studied in that city as he graduated from secondary school and then worked in trading with honey and established the Caucasus Charitable Society. He is a handicapped, putting on an artificial leg and his left arm paralyzed because of injuries caused in many battles in Bosnea-Hersegovina and Chechnya where his left leg was amputated because of his wound. Yemeni authorities say all his travels to take part in fighting were before going to Yemen as he was forced to go to Yemen after his imprisonment in Saudi Arabia in 1999, spending one year and two months after being deported to Yemen. His first appearance of his name in Yemen was a storming operation by Yemeni Special Forces of Al-Aljalal strongholds in Marib governorate, 140 km to the east of Sana’a on 18 December 2001. Fifteen persons were killed and 20 were wounded in the clashes with Abeeda tribesmen of Marib governorate before the combing up of Balharith area in Shabwa governorate for the same reason. Security authorities said “Abu A’sim” is the connecting link in receiving amounts of money from abroad to finance sabotage activities in Yemen and distribute them among elements of al-Qaeda and that “ the last sum of money he received was $ 500 thousand from Kuwaiti and Saudi sides suspected to be affiliate of al-Qaeda. The purpose is to carry out terrorist acts against American interests and a number of economic and oil installations.

In the second of his trial sessions last February, the prosecution announced that al-Ahdal “Abu A’sim” had confessed before the general prosecution of raising one million and 61 thousand Saudi Riyals from Saudi businessmen in four years to support al-Qaeda organization in Yemen, but the prosecution refused to disclose their identities. Representative of the prosecution Khalid al-Maweri, in the Monday session chaired by judge Najib al-Qaderi, said the accused delivered 20 thousand riyals to the first man in the organization in Yemen, Abu Ali al-Harithi, who was killed in November 2002 in Marib and 50 thousand riyals sent to al-Harithi via a person Abdulaziz, nicknamed “Abu Maath”, a Palestinian carrying Saudi nationality.

When the judge asked al-Ahdal about correctness of his confessions before the general prosecution, he affirmed he had collected 61 million Saudi riyals I four years to support families of the Yemenis killed and imprisoned in Afghanistan, Chechnya, Bosnia-Herzegovina and also families of Yemenis detained in Guantanamo.

On the American side, according to what was announced by military sources that published for the first time text of a letter from the American president to president Saleh, Bush had expressed his disappointment for Yemen’s stance regarding its commitments. However, the letter did not mention about al-Qaeda, the escapees and the detained, but only talked about al-Zindani and Khalid Mishaal. According to the message text Bush told Saleh among data is our joint commitment to strengthening the bilateral cooperation between our to counties, but I have felt a big disappointment when I learned that you have guaranteed Sheikh al-Zindani, the person the United Nation determined as his having ties with al-Qaeda organization, that was in the Yemen official delegation at the Organization of Islamic Conference in Mecca, Saudi Arabia that was dedicated to denounce terror and fighting extremism and enhancement of tolerance. Bush has also expressed his growing concern when he learned that president Saleh received warmly Khalid Mishaal, the leader of Hamas at the beginning of this month.

According to Bush’s letter, he mentioned that Saleh’s close ties with the individuals he mentioned cause skepticism in Saleh’s commitment to the war on terror. He confirmed that the method by which he could prove his being committed partner was by carrying out without more delay Yemen’s international obligations by freezing Sheikh al-Zindani properties and preventing him from future travel. In addition, Bush urged president Saleh to sever the relation with Hamas and its leaders. Bush said Saleh’s cooperation in the war on terror was important and expressed his hope that it was possible to depend on his leadership in scoring victory over terror.

The World Bank vs. Corruption

Filed under: Yemen, Yemen-Corruption — by Jane Novak at 6:45 pm on Monday, March 6, 2006

An editorial from the CSM:

World Bank’s war on corruption

The Monitor’s View

How can anyone question a global campaign against corruption? Graft scoffs at rule of law, dilutes a nation’s wealth and market forces, degrades the environment, and frustrates citizens. And yet, such a new campaign at the World Bank, championed by president Paul Wolfowitz, deserves close scrutiny.

After nine months at the helm of an institution which lends $20 billion annually to relieve poverty in poorer nations, a controversial architect of the Iraq war has found a new cause.

“Corruption is the biggest threat to democracy since communism,” Mr. Wolfowitz says. His big priority is to reduce graft in the countries where the bank does business and ensure that the bank itself is clean.

For instance, he’s staffing up the bank’s “integrity” unit, in part to clear a backlog of several hundred cases of alleged misconduct and corruption relating to bank projects and operations. That effort has encouraged more willingness to report suspect cases.

He’s also using loans as leverage to prompt change. A sampling so far: The bank has held up $800 million in loans to Indian health programs, canceled road contracts in Bangladesh, and frozen loans to Kenya – all because of graft concerns.

Here’s to the passion and cause of the Wolfowitz campaign, and to the signal his measures send. But, as with the White House’s vision for transforming Iraq, the challenge with the World Bank’s cleanup crusade lies with its execution – and, perhaps, unrealistic expectations for change.

In ramping up the antigraft effort, Wolfowitz acknowledges “turbulence” among staff. The loan-witholding decisions have been criticized as arbitrary, and made without input from senior managers (some of whom have left). A bank official says the campaign is still a “work in progress.”

At the same time, there’s a matter of balance. Just how high will Wolfowitz set the bar? Corruption is widespread. The bank shouldn’t put itself on a trajectory not to lend at all (which could turn weak states into failed states), or to lose sight of its main purpose: to alleviate poverty.

Using loans to fight corruption should be just one tool in a wider effort by international bodies to tackle this deep, long-term problem. Poor countries need a variety of incentives to overcome such problems as low salaries for civil servants, who use bribes to supplement their income.

In his new book, America at the Crossroads, Francis Fukuyama concludes that domestic pressure is the most effective force for longterm, institutional reform. (That argues for the bank’s decision to freeze most loans to Kenya, in concert with Kenyans protesting graft.) For external pressure to work, he says, the incentive must be huge (such as the lure of membership into the European Union) and must reward already proven reform.

Wolfowitz should be commended for a more vigorous approach to graft. But if he wants to make headway, he’ll have to build up bank morale. And while it’s right to aim for aboveboard bank projects, clear and consistent criteria are needed for freezing loans or canceling projects.

Most important, he must watch to see that he’s striking the right balance between fighting corruption and fighting poverty. Going head-to-head with bribes and favoritism is not just a moral battle, but a logistical one.

“On the Dagger’s Edge”

Filed under: Yemen, Yemen-Corruption, Yemen-Democracy, Yemen-Economy, Yemen-Election, Yemen-Journalists — by Jane Novak at 12:46 pm on Sunday, March 5, 2006

Quite an interesting seven page article in the US News and World Report, lots of interesting quotes, covers the big topics: poverty, corruption, lack of oppostion leadership, journalists, the tribal areas, education, traditionalism, potential state failure, democratic reforms, counter terrorism efforts and the impending election. To follow is an assortment of random quotes from the article:

This time, the assault is an exercise, but Yemen’s elite Counterterrorism Unit has successfully carried out several high-risk operations against suspected terrorists and kidnappers. Portraits of six fallen soldiers, the unit’s “martyrs,” hang on the walls of their barracks. “They are without a doubt the bravest guys I have ever worked with,” says Ed, a U.S. Army trainer on his second tour in Yemen.

These days, though, Yemen is facing its own crisis, the result of deepening poverty and a government in denial about the depth of reforms needed to survive. In the past year, the United States and the World Bank have slashed their modest aid programs to Yemen, increasingly fed up with a bureaucracy that is one of the most corrupt in the world. “Yemen is teetering on the edge of failed statehood,” warns one U.S. official. “It will either become a Somalia or get serious about transforming.” For a nation awash in guns and crisscrossed by well-worn smuggling routes, the threat is grave.

(The 17) The group was captured after U.S. intelligence passed a tip to Yemeni security forces.

“This is a country that is really in the balance,” says Thomas Krajeski, the U.S. ambassador to Yemen. “There is a risk here for failure, and there is a chance of success. It is our job to give them all the help we can, but they have to make some hard decisions now.”

Increasingly, however, Yemenis fear that the strongman who has ruled for 28 years will be unable or unwilling to make the tough reforms needed. “The Americans are happy because they found someone who will fight terrorism,” says Mutawakil. “But my fear is that we’re establishing the foundation for terrorism in the country, just as they did in Iraq.” He is particularly concerned about what he calls Saleh’s “divide and conquer” style.

Amid all this, Yemen has somehow managed to remain one of the most democratic nations in the (admittedly autocratic) Middle East–and one of the very few with a relatively free press. The government tolerates a raft of opposition parties and independent newspapers. Yemenis, for the most part, feel free to criticize the government, and even Saleh, in public.

The democratic reforms all stop short of threatening Saleh’s rule

The final straw came when her staff recorded “appalling cheating” by government officials during a by-election for a parliament seat. “This past year, the scales dropped from our eyes,” she says. “We’re tired of promises. We’re tired of good intentions. < > It comes to a point when it’s not enough to say that you held the country together as it fell down the tubes.”

“In the past, we have been lenient when it comes to accountability,” says Qirbi, the foreign minister. “Now we are making the people who are responsible accountable for any poor performance. We have overcome a major obstacle, which is admitting that there are deficits.”

“We have maybe the worst educational quality in the world,” says Arhabi, the minister of planning. “I have myself seen students in sixth grade, who if you ask them to pronounce the alphabet, they aren’t able to finish it. Forget about reading and writing.”

Even worse, some corruption is officially sanctioned. As many as 60,000 people are receiving at least two government salaries, often doled out officially to buy their loyalty. “Many of the double dippers are tribal sheiks or military people,” says Yahya al-Mutawakel, the vice minister of planning.

Perhaps the brightest is the Social Fund for Development, an independent government agency that helps build schools, clinics, roads, and water wells funded mostly by foreign nations. With only 150 full-time employees, the fund managed some 1,000 projects last year with an $80 million budget. The fund–and Arhabi, its director–win nearly universal praise from foreign donors for their integrity and exhaustive accounting system. The secret: highly paid employees and the ability to fire staff at will.

Underlying any discussion of reform, however, is one uncomfortable factor–nobody can picture Yemen without Saleh in charge. Even his most implacable critics fret that there is no viable alternative today

“I expect more dangerous risks in Yemen–extremism and fanaticism,” he says. “But it’s not related to religion. It comes out of the failure to satisfy life’s needs.”

For many, the upcoming local and presidential elections will be a test. And the stakes are high. “What we are afraid of is that the Yemeni people will lose hope in elections as a means of change,” Sabri says, “because this is what the traditional forces want.”

Itrs really a good article.

Three Great Articles about the Political Process in Yemen

Filed under: Yemen, Yemen-Corruption, Yemen-Democracy, Yemen-Election — by Jane Novak at 10:50 am on Sunday, February 26, 2006

This one in the Yemen Times on the election commission is perfect for me. It explains the laws and the issues clearly and precisely.

The issue of selecting SCER members remains mysterious since local public opinion does not know how to select candidates for the commission race. Since 1993 elections, only the three main parties have occupied SCER posts: the ruling party, Islah and the Yemeni Socialist Party, which was ruled out in 1997 and 1999 elections. The issue still is misleading since it says the SCER is independent and neutral, while it is in fact administratively and politically controlled by the ruling party.

This one in News Yemen explains very clearly what happened in that election for the presidium of the Paliarment:

1- President Saleh continues to impose the leadership agenda on GPC members regardless how the majority in the party have voted. The sudden change did not happen because Basaleh or Mahmood campaigned over night, it happened because the presidency wanted it to change.
2- If real democratic procedures become the norm within the GPC, its members are capable of bringing good people to the frontline. GPC has some responsible and clean people.
3- 44 MPs of the ruling party who had voted for Sakher in the party exercise changed their position and voted for the other two. It makes me wonder, why have they changed and can we trust them again?
4- What happened was a disgrace and a blow to the government claims about reforms and change. Government is not serious about reform and the need to change; in spite of its media covering pages and pages of papers with big headlines “Change is the title of the Era” in Al-Thawra – Feb 12th, 2006. “Change” 26 September same day and so on… if the government really believes in the value change brings, it would not have let a golden opportunity (the parliamentary presidium) slip out of its hand.
5- To reform, you need to identify qualified, moderate and reform minded individuals within the system and outside it and promote them to do the restoration job. What happens in Yemen is the contradictory to this simple equation. The leadership finds qualified and reform minded people, but instead of promoting them it crushes them and ensures they are in no place to impact their “evil, culturally insensitive western reforms” on the process….

PS. Islah and YSP are not better off. The two main oppositions did not even run anyone and they remained a by watcher (as usual) and later will continue to balm the party with the majority for all our misfortune. They would have looked better and will have a good argument to justify the future challenges if they had run for the deputies’ seats and lost. It is not by watching you would convince people you are doing something.

This is another one from the Yemen Times on the same subject: However, dealing with them as employees makes them only a herd without enthusiasm for the ruler, his party and regime. What kind of democracy or peaceful transfer of power are we talking about if the President never accepts any decision from his party bloc? Good point.

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