Corruption Authority investigates 16 complaints against official entities [Archives:2008/1213/Local News]

December 4 2008

By: Yemen Times Staff
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.

The remaining 16 complaints currently being investigated include complaints about the appropriation of residential unit A529 in Aden, the forgery of judiciary orders, the facilitation of customs evasion at Aden Customs authority, a complaint against the Ministry of Health, the offices of the Ministry of Electricity and Water in Hajja, a district director in Mareb and the Water and Sanitation Authority. Files have also been opened regarding Amran Cement Factory, Dhamar University and Al-Thawra General Hospital in Sana'a.

Field visits confirmed possible corruption in thirteen of the cases of accusation of mismanagement or abuse of authority for personal gains.

The authority will be launching its website soon, in which all information related to the complaints and investigations will be posted. The website will include a contact address for media enquiries.

Several youth awareness activities have been launched by the authority to promote transparency, citizen's rights and anticorruption initiatives.

So far the authority has received 5,276 financial statements, of which 2,562 were sent in the third quarter of this year.

However, the authority has so far only received half the number of requests for financial statements sent to ministers and various government officials since the establishment of the authority in 2007.

Since its establishment in March 2007, the Supreme National Authority for Combating Corruption has been trying to enforce a new law that requires government officials to turn in financial statements to the authority for it to track any suspicious fund transfers and look out for financial abuses perpetrated by government employees.

Other anticorruption projects the authority is considering currently include amendments to the Crime and Penalty code to align it with international treaties and conventions, as well as a draft of the anticorruption legislations in cooperation with the World Bank.

In the global corruption index released in 2007 by Transparency International, a network of civil society organizations that help monitor global corruption, Yemen scored a low 2.5 out of 10, but came before Somalia and Myanmar with the lowest score of 1.4. The index report stressed that Yemen's low score reflected the bad practices of a few powerful individuals and the government's inability to prevent it, not corruption among the general population.