Parliament raises oil deal scandal again [Archives:2004/771/Front Page]

September 9 2004

Yemen's parliament reiterated its demand that Prime Minister Abdulqader Bajamal should be questioned about several issues of corruption, including the contract for the sale of 60% of the oil from the field in bloc 53, child trafficking and contaminated medicines. During heated debates on Saturday and Sunday, MPs decided that the government should be held to account concerning its commitment to call off the oil deal, which was considered by the parliament as 'fishy' and against the law. Parliamentarians, who succeeded last June in thwarting the oil deal, said that the government has not fulfilled its commitment to call off the deal. They decided that the government must inform them of what has happened to the oil deal, or they will summon Bajamal to be questioned.
The Ministry of Oil signed a contract with an investor, in which it sold 60% of the oil in field No. 53 at $13 million per year, while its annual revenue reached $20 million. The Ministry denied that the bargain was against the law, and argued that it was in favor of Yemen. But, MP's said Yemen would have lost YR 37 billion, had the deal been implemented.
The parliament also decided to discuss in their agenda, a number of reports written by the central Organization for Accounting and Auditing. The scandal of child trafficking, and contaminated-diluted medicines, were some of the vital issues that MPs considered in need of elaboration from the government.
The MPs also demanded that they be kept informed of developments in the on-going fight between supporters of the fanatical cleric Hussien al-Huthi, and government troops, which has claimed the lives of thousands of people. This fight has raised concern among different political parties, particularly the socialist, who have demanded an end to the confrontations, which have proved useless in ending the problem.
This firm action by some MPs has come after reports that the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have threatened to stop their cooperation with Yemen, mainly because of corruption, which the WB and IMF recognize as a pervasive problem.