Looted Yemeni funds… The spread of corruption amid increasing international pressure
The issue of looted funds looms large in Yemen during the current period in which the country is facing strong domestic and international pressure to seriously address the problem of financial and institutional imbalances in the fight against corruption, money laundering and terrorist financing.
Yemen faces a number of immediate risks caused by corruption and the lack of application of the rule of law against those who tamper and squander the national wealth, return looted funds and increase public resources, which represent the greatest challenges, in light of the war and conflict that has lasted in the country for almost eight years.
Mahmoud Muhammad, a legal adviser at Yemen’s Anti-Corruption Authority, confirms to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that Yemen is faced with the difficult task of rebuilding private agencies and departments working to create a coherent working system to deal with this spreading epidemic in the country, and to promote the values of integrity and transparency in various public and private institutions and to activate joint channels of work with the financial and banking sector as a necessary step in the requirements of restoring trust with the international financial and banking community. .
He points out that the collapse of the state apparatus in Yemen has opened many openings for corruption, money laundering and illegal profits, which are difficult to enumerate in the light of the current situation in which Yemen lives.
There is a domestic and international consensus that Yemen is exposed to serious crimes in money laundering, looting of wealth, imposition of levies and royalties, and the destruction of all necessities of life, and the consequent increase in suffering and high cost of living, which has caused the largest humanitarian crisis in the region.
According to a responsible Yemeni banking source, who did not wish to be named, in a statement to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, the government’s financial and monetary institutions in Yemen are working to adjust the financing conditions of the funds, the US Federal Reserve, the requirements of regional banks, and international and regional organizations responsible for compliance and anti-money laundering. And the financing of terrorism towards local banks in their foreign affairs, as well as the imposition of necessary measures such as subscription to the new service of the SWIFT system as an important regional requirement to facilitate the business of Yemeni banks with foreign banks.
Although the Yemeni government confirmed, after last Monday’s meeting, that it will take “serious, transparent and responsible positions in dealing with all cases of corruption, since the institutional frameworks dealing with accountability and the fight against corruption must be the only ones to rule and decide in these cases, so that no one thinks he is immune.” About sanity and sanity, or that he is above the law, so everyone is equal before the law, and an official has no immunity, nor does he protect anyone from the hands of justice.
Economic researcher Jamal Raweh points out in an interview with Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that corruption, looting of wealth and smuggling of funds are among the most important causes of the economic crisis in Yemen. difficult for any future efforts to recover looted funds and wealth.
Rawah notes that the figures circulating may not represent the true size of that money, which he believes exceeds $40 billion, since the percentage of what is laundered and liquidated in many illegal ways is no less than 60 percent.
In a rare appearance for him, the Supreme National Anti-Corruption Commission (Government), emphasized at a meeting held in Aden at the beginning of the week, the importance of strengthening and activating the roles of supervisory and judicial bodies, preserving their independence, and continuing the work of state institutions, especially in light of the exceptional circumstances that Yemen is going through and the repercussion of the war on all political, economic and social levels, which leads to the end of the state reconstruction process.
The commission called on all partners, civil society organizations, the private sector, all state agencies and institutions, and the Government and its ministries to work in a true spirit of partnership, create effective coordination in the fight against and prevent corruption, and work together to promote the values of integrity, respect and commitment ethics of public service.
She pointed to the importance of strengthening the partnership between different parties in the national integrity system, their coordinated efforts, and cooperation between law enforcement agencies, the private sector and civil society components in order to achieve common goals and protect public resources and property.
In conjunction with all these movements, Yemen knocked on the door of the United Nations Capital Development Fund. With the aim of strengthening partnerships for productive projects, leading to support and encouragement of the Yemeni government to work on economic and development programs that contribute to strengthening resilience, and alleviating human and economic suffering to move into the phase of early recovery.
Legal experts and economists believe that there are many difficulties and challenges facing Yemen, which prevent the country from benefiting from the services of such UN and international institutions and funds, represented in corruption, the spread of money laundering operations, the looting of wealth and public resources, imbalance in the system of transparency and integrity, and failure to apply local government laws to limit heavy centralization.
In a statement to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, economic researcher Waheed Al-Fudaie touches on the need to actually implement the recent decision of the National Defense Council in Yemen, including individuals and entities on terrorist lists, banning business with them, freezing their accounts, and that there are other decisions issued by the public prosecutor’s office with lists New blacklist that includes a comprehensive list of all entities and individuals associated with the Houthis and their supporters and collaborators.
Al-Foudei emphasizes that the Central Bank must contact the anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing units in all countries of the world, and distribute blacklists internationally within the framework of joint coordination and cooperation in the fight against terrorism. The worsening situation in Yemen is reflected in international indicators and reports that track the continuous decline in the business environment index over the past eight years of war and conflict in the country, as Yemen fell to 187th place in 2021.
Transparency International’s latest Corruption Perceptions Index 2020 report on Yemen sees Yemen fall to 177th place out of 180 countries. The weakness and fragility of state institutions, the weakness of public liberties and good governance in recent times, as a result of war and conflict, has also contributed to the worsening of corruption to levels beyond your ability to cope.