Farwan to YT: No external interference in the COCAa affairs [Archives:2002/04/Interview]

January 21 2002

The Central Organization for Control and Audit (COCA)s mission is to audit the public properties, environment, systems inspecting the bylaws and legal auditing.
Its main mission is bridging the gap of the financial and administrative corruption. This vital body leaves no stones unturned to achieve its missions successfully. The COCA has adopted new measures to qualify its cadre by sending them abroad for training and studying. Jalal Al-Sharaabi met with its Chairman, Mr Abdullah Ahmed Farwan and filed the following interview.
Q: Will you give us a brief account of yourself?
A: I was born in 1959. I have 4 boys and 5 girls.I worked as a professor in the Comparative Jurisprudence at Sanaa University. Then I worked as an Attorney-at-law at the Public Property Court and after that as a Chairman of the Penal Court. Presently, Iam the chairman of COCA.
Q: What are the main objectives of the COCA?
A: The COCAs mission is to audit the public properties, environment, systems inspecting the bylaws and legal auditing. In this context, more than 813 cases have been referred to the court.
Q: It is said that the the COCAinherited a heavy ill legacy from the past. How do you respond to this remark and what do you think the solutions are?
A: To tell the truth, the administrative system in Yemen is in an extremely bad situation. A person who denies this fact is totally wrong. The COCA is a part of this system. The organizational structure is a conventional one and it never copes with the developments in this domain. Consequently, regulations and bylaws of the COCA should be developed.
The second aspect is related to the cadre. There should be a qualified and professional cadre for these jobs. Besides, the salaries are not adequate and therefore dont meet the requirements of the economic conditions. Lets say that a very good jobs salary is 40,000, what are you going to do with a family comprising parents, children, house rent, medicine and other essential things. This of course lead to the so-called moonlighting, the outbreak of bribery, renunciation and dysfunction.
Q: Does the COCA possess a specialized cadre?
A: We are doing our best to train the staff here. This has been encouraged by the president. He takes great interest in these auditing and judicial bodies to perform their duties properly.
Q: How do you assess the coordination between the COCA and the security bodies and courts?
A: This is a very important question. Through our meetings with new leaderships in all sectors of COCA, we could detect that there are difficulties blocking the COCAs missions and among these difficulties is the misunderstanding of the auditing operations. This has pushed us to form a team with the aim of preparing a coordination program with all different units. The team will initiate its task with reference to the annual reports. This of course will pave the way for us to know those who breach and violate instructions and the bylaws. Then, this should be made clear to the concerned bodies to adopt legal measures against the law violators. Consequently, we have prepared a suitable atmosphere for auditing operations and the main point is that there should be self-monitoring. The external monitoring constitutes only 15 percent. In order to perform our duties faithfully, there should be a self-monitoring by the Finance Ministry over the public property. Then the role of the Directors of the Personnel Affairs at all the administrative units is entrusted with monitoring outlaws and moral obligations.
The role of the COCA is to encourage monitoring and auditing and to bridge the gap of the financial and administrative corruption. The role of the COCA is a complementary one. We dont for instance expect the COCA to monitor an employee or specific person. If things have gone like that, we will need 400 thousand monitors.
I used to be a judge and I have an acquaintance and total familiarity with the judges which in turn has paved the way for me to coordinate with courts to settle cases. Now, we are coordinating with the Future Research Conference to gather together those who have relations with the auditing offices and the Central Bank of Yemen to study issues and simplify difficulties in this respect. A new branch called the High Center for auditing will be established in the country with the aim of stabilizing the general notions of auditing and improving monitoring.
Q: Are there any Foreign or Arab Research Centers to improve the COCAs mission?
A: We are about to establish training centers. We are in touch with the Arab countries. Some Arab countries have made great strides in this field and we will of course make use of their experiences. A training course on information technology was held a few weeks ago to train Yemenis by Jordanian specialists. We are also about to send our cadres abroad to be trained. Some specialized downright centers have provided us with private training courses and internet sites concerned with the auditing aspects. We are also about to publish a monthly periodical which will provide employees at the COCA with the necessary information.
Q: Do you think that some other bodies interfere in the COCAs mission?
A: Frankly speaking, since my appointment at the COCA, Ive never felt any interference whether from a minister, or a governor. In other words, if they interfere, they are in readiness to cooperate with us. But there is a misunderstanding of the COCAs mission and its specialization.
Q: It is rumored that the governor of al-Jawf has been interfering in the COCAs affairs. Is that true?
A: Actually, I havent considered such things as interference. It can be considered as an ignorance of the COCA s job.
Q: Why doesnt the COCA monitor the Defense Ministry and the armed forces?
A: This is untrue. You can check these files in front of you concerning the Defense Ministry and the armed forces. I do confirm that the COCA has a specialized cadre to audit the defense and security bodies. On the other hand, since I was appointed at the COCA I have been contacting the Defense Minister with the aim of facilitating difficulties encountered by the COCA. In this respect, the Defense Minister has issued directives to all the armed units to be monitored by the COCA and said to me that there was no confidentiality.