Investigations into Oil Ministry corruption [Archives:2005/870/Front Page]

August 22 2005

Hassan Al-Zaidi
SANAA- The Ministry of Justice had last week started interrogation of Oil and Minerals Ministry officials accused of being involved in connivance with merchants, in addition to failure in levying large amounts of money for the ministry.

The investigations also cover cheatings in mazut quality in Barah cement plant, where an entrepreneur is involved. The cheating incident led to large flaws in the plant and consequently it stopped production. The investigations are expected to disclose major corruption elements that are behind this case.

Reliable sources have told Yemen Times that the government has lately agreed to pay $17 million as damages to the Japanese company that operates Amran cement plant, after some bribes were paid. The company remonstrated against the stoppage of Amran plant last July, and demanded government for compensations.

Halt of production by national cement plants has led to price hikes that drove the 50kg cement sack's price to YR.1400. Cement merchants were the major beneficiaries in that process.

Observers think that the government of PM Ba-Jamal is suffering an unprecedented economic and administrative corruption.

President Ali Abdullah Saleh ordered in his latest speech that key executives who are responsible for corruption and those who trade in public funds should be held accountable whoever they were.

In spite of all these calls, the Central organization for Control and Auditing emphasizes that abuse of power is still going on, misusing loans and aid without the least reaction from anybody. No public legal procedures had been taken against any corrupt element ever since the president came to power, in spite of the vast wealth they have collected during their office terms.

Observers' opinion is that the president is unable to combat corruption and name the officials responsible for it although the state's wealth is being plundered. Such corrupt officials are now found in the state's civil, military and security institutions.

The large financial deficit has forced the government to increase oil products prices, but the public does no longer believe in what the government or its officials say.