ReflectionsSome Yemeni expats abuse the system [Archives:2005/820/Opinion]

February 28 2005

By Yahya Al-Olfi
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It is said that money alone is not a good cause of development. Yes, money might be needed to construct buildings, seaports, airports, highways, telecommunication networks, schools, hospitals, and other infrastructure. But in order to have an advanced industry and fruitful services, any contending state needs more than the money. It needs real political stability, attentive, an organized and disciplined work-force, a location that's close to active markets, and most importantly, it needs law and order.

Failure comes due to the mismanagement of human resources, when trained people instead of being utilized, are ignored or employed where they do not belong. Failure happens when public administration depends on family connections, sectarian considerations, tribalism and many other social illnesses.

Therefore, in order to take the right course, people should be judged according to their qualifications, not their connections. I still remember vividly when I submitted my application during the early 1990s for a position of a translator at Yemen Hunt Oil Company in Hadda. I was told by the examiners that I had won and that it remains for me to merely meet the administrative manager, which I did.

The Yemeni administrative manager who despite being a graduate from the USA, asked me stupidly if I was the one sent with a recommendation from Dr. so-and-so. If only I said yes, I would have been employed but I told him the truth, that I was the winner of the exam held for the position, and that I had not been sent via his friend the doctor.


One of many corruption symptoms in Yemen is the rise in Yemeni expatriates abroad. This is due to the difficult economic situation Yemen is undergoing. The unfortunate Yemeni expatriates endeavor to gain as much money as they can, so that they can invest it back in their home country.

On the other hand, other detrimental expatriates are represented by many of our irresponsible men who happen to be working in the different governmental institutions and are imagining themselves being expatriates within their own country. They are trying their best to rob as much as they can for eventual transfer of the amounts to their private bank accounts abroad, which sometimes can be under the names of their different mothered kids, people who often have arranged the acquisition of citizenships in Switzerland, U.K, USA, France and other foreign countries.

Most of these men and Sheiks invest some of their wealth in projects or purchase shares in companies etc. Such people tend to also have foreign citizenships for themselves, either by making their wives give birth to their kids in the USA, or through obtaining Canadian citizenships. Deep within they truly know that they are wrong and are being criminals, so this is why they have prearranged the escape route in advance, in the prospect of any mishaps that may come.

Indeed, one of such men is now a millionaire and is still occupying a very profitable position. He has a house abroad, multiple bank accounts and is still fishing on the collapsing ship until its prospective sinking.

While we're on the subject, this man used to live in a single room with his whole family because of their difficult living circumstances, prior to his becoming rich, due to his daily pilferage of the poor and unprotected public money.