Abduljabar Saad to Yemen Times:”There are corruption lobby in the Ministry of Finance and the government.” [Archives:2005/884/Reportage]

October 10 2005

Abduljabar Saad said: 'There is a corruption lobby in the Finance Ministry; examining the tremendous failure of the government, in levying petroleum, customs and tax revenues.'

Though many don't share Abduljabar Saad's point of view, it is widely agreed that he is a man of ideals. He lately became (deputy ministry for the Levy sector in the Ministry of Finance). Though he spent thirty years in large levying positions, he boasts that all he owns is house that costs YR (30.000.000) $ 150.000. He says that one third of that sum is still being repaid in a loan.

He doesn't think that he is an angel, and any one who knows any bad conduct concerning him should declare it so that he can set the record straight.

Abduljabar has recently initiated what is thought to be an exposition of corruption in the Ministry of Finance, by a petition that he submitted to the vice PM and Minister of finance, Alawy Al-salami. The petition was published and a reply to it was also published. He sent a copy to the President together with a resignation, so we met him, in order to shed more light on this subject.

Q: What do you mean by this row?

A: Thank you for contacting me, and I don't agree that what I said was a row. It is a revelation of a real situation.

I wanted people to know the truth. I found myself in a position in which I should either work with integrity or leave for good and I would like the people to know why I left. I couldn't continue my work in the levy sector because of deliberate obstacles set by the Minister of finance and his deputy. I find myself compelled to clear to them and to the people what took place secretly between us, because I don't want it to be reported contrary to what really happened, without being able to defend myself. It is a pity that it became a habit that the key officials often report wrong things about their subordinates.

Q: So you just meant to defend yourself by that petition?

A: He said laughingly that he didn't know that it would be so echoes.

Q: Could you give us briefing of what you said?

A: It is not an easy job. You can refer to the electronic sites of Al-Wasat newspaper and Yemen news in addition to other newspapers that tackled this matter.

In short I said that there is corruption in collection of petroleum, taxes and customs revenues, and that there are corruption lobby in the Ministry of Finance and the government. All reform efforts are being isolated and economic cases are being treated in a random manner. He confirmed that if the state's capacities were well managed they will solve all the country's problems. He suggested thoughts for increasing revenues of petroleum, customs and taxes. 'what I said together with that of the Central organization for reform and audit has the strength of its coming from within.'

Q: What was the response?

A: The reply was simply that it was not true

Q: What did you do then?

A: I believe that I have presented all the facts in details. As a small employee no one takes heed of what I say. Then I found that the deputy PM says what I say is wrong without giving any material evidence. So I decided to resign.

Q: What roles have the IMF and The World Bank got in this respect?

A: The IMF and the World Bank have been here for decades now. They present us and other countries with consultancies. We are supposed as economists to make use of their advices and engineer our own plans according to the country's needs. As a matte of fact our economists and the key officials take what others suggest for granted. This contributed to bringing about the destruction of our economic structures. Ironically the World Bank disclaimed responsibility of the recent economic reforms.

Q: How is the country run then?

A: Things are going without planning and officials -as it was once put by Europeans- play the botched role of 'god in the market place' and not doing it very well. They don't like criticism and they deliberately destroy all skilled employees.

Q: You used to be one of the fans of Mr.Alawy Al-salami and used to describe him as one of the efficient administrators, what made you change your mind?

A: Nothing changed. Mr. Alsalami's skills can't be denied but lately he fell in the hands of a number of cliques who isolated him from all others. They did him great harm to the extent that necessitated the president's interference to tell him to set things right. It seemed that he didn't respond because the president himself made the changes in the customs department and then in the Ministry of finance. He could have saved himself all that and behaved in an indignant manner. An instance of this is his admittance to the recent changes but instead of giving a chance to the new deputies, and Iam one of those, he reinstated the ousted ones and let them do all the work. This is one of his queer new behaviors.

Q: What is the President's reaction towards that?

A: He knows every thing and he often points to it in his speeches, but there are many considerations, concerning the changes to be made with the internal and external pressures that are often exerted, but one believes in the President's wisdom to tackle things.

Q: You depend greatly on the President's role in setting things right when others think that it is the president who is the source of the power of the corrupted.

A: I believe that the President is different, but there are certain situations that make him act slowly, but it won't be long before he will take the right steps. I can strongly defend this point of view.

Q: What will you do next?

A: I will go home and wait for something better to happen. I have made things clear and intellectuals also voiced their points of view. Now it is the part of steak-holders to live up to their duties.