An urgent notification to Transparency International [Archives:2008/1211/Opinion]

November 27 2008

By: Najeeb Al-Ghurbani
Transparency International has decided to give honest staff in Yemen valuable and precious prizes, which are apparently deserved by 'clean-hand' people, who care a lot about preserving public funds. This prize resembles that of Noble.

I and others felt very happy as many honest servants in various ministries and government offices were selected for the prizes. Here, I will specify the selection process in Ibb governorate. The international organization selected, but we don't know on which criterion its selection was based, and numerous remarks need to be highlighted in this context. This is its specialization, and we have nothing to do in this regard.

However, I found that Transparency International's staff in Ibb governorate are forced and not free to select. In this governorate, the organization selected one of the Public Health and Population Office's staff members while the process is conducted via a questionnaire surveying people about who is the honest manager in the governorate.

The process was conducted in an invisible way without notifying the various social groups or giving instructions to the study population on how to fill in the questionnaire form. Additionally, the international organization's representatives were prevented to make statements to the media while the questionnaire form contained the name of single person nominated for integrity without any rival.

There are plenty of positives and negatives, particularly those relating with preservation of public funds, the nominee's character and how he/she treats workers and people. Such data are extremely important to the questionnaire form. People should also understand how to deal with this form easily.

In light of the questionnaire form, the organization made up a team (a boy and a girl), who represent it in the governorate. This is what concerns staff of public health and population as a sample to select those who are honest, as well as how the selection criterion was applied on the ground.

The process was undertaken wrongly

Remarkably, the population sample selected to fill in the questionnaire form had been determined in advance by an organization other than Transparency International. As many as 170 staff members of a certain hospital, whose manager is the sole candidate for the prize, were selected as a sample to fill in the questionnaire form that targeted health officials, and other forms were distributed to targeted male and female teachers to do the same thing.

As the questionnaire forms are limited, they were given to specific social groups. Having asked many of the hospital staff members about safety of the process and how the questionnaire form was filled in, most of them confirmed that they ticked with their pens only on the positive aspects of their hospital manager (the candidate). Why did they do so? It is because they filled in the questionnaire form in the presence of their boss's monitors.

The questionnaire form also included certain spaces for signatures of the informants, which means that employees might have realized that, amid notable carelessness of the international organization's staff and lack of criteria to clarify how the form must be filled in; the manager may have access to their signatures, particularly as he knows about their signatures. He would have then known who opposes and who backs him.

Therefore, the questionnaire forms were passed to the targeted group (the hospital staff) in a manner lacking transparency. The Transparency International's staff committed a huge mistake.

I would like to confirm that I am not against the selection of a certain manager for the prize, however, inexcusable mistakes were committed against the organization and its bylaws. The organization knows well how such procedures must be taken. What took place on the ground is nothing more than a comic play, most notably as the candidate is truly honest and represents Yemen in the filed of international integrity. All the procedures taken in this regard should have been transparent and honest too. Through this article, I intend to notify the esteemed international organization to review what happens on the ground and examine how its staff abides by its bylaws.