Study warns of bribery risks in Yemen [Archives:2006/975/Front Page]

August 24 2006

By: Yemen Times Staff
SANA'A, Aug. 23 ) Aiming to discuss the bribery issue in Yemen and enable candidates for local and presidential elections to learn the issue's details, the Yemeni Polling Center (YPC) held a symposium Tuesday at Hadda Hotel to discuss outcomes of a study regarding the bribery issue in Yemen.

Thirteen field researchers conducted the study between July 5 and Aug. 5 in five Yemeni governorates: Sana'a, Sa'ada, Hodeidah, Taiz and Aden.

“The study's main goal was to unveil all aspects related to bribery and record them in a scientific manner by gathering the opinions of government office employees and workers regarding this phenomenon,” YPC head Hafez Al-Bukari explained. “It also aimed to put the phenomenon before concerned authorities and decision makers in order to come up with right solutions to it,” he added.

In collaboration with Sana'a University academics, the YPC conducted and supervised the study, which was financed by the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), affiliated with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C.

Data was collected from various government institutions via direct questionnaire, selecting a sample from among employees and citizens, as those two groups are more attached to the bribery issue. Governorates were carefully selected in accordance with their relative importance as to population and economic activities, with Sana'a being assigned more importance because it's the capital and contains most state institutions with direct relations with citizens.

The study involving 699 individuals indicated that there's a consensus, although relative, over the existence of bribery in Yemen. More than 78 percent of participants indicated that bribery dominates all government institutions.

According to the study, 70 percent of respondents attributed the reason for the phenomenon's spread in Yemen to low salaries, followed by 62 percent for absence of religious restraint and, finally, 50 percent for weak legal deterrence.

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Other reasons related to routine complexity and lack of bylaws weren't considered reasons for such spread.

The study pointed out that most individuals bribe employees to complete their transactions as soon as possible, further hinting that corrupt officers delay such transactions to force people to pay bribes, according to 70 percent of participants.

According to the study, bribery exists greatly in financial affairs departments and takes many forms because it either can be demanded by a mediator or spring from individual initiative as he or she bribes an employee directly. The study also indicated that family members view those who exploit public funds or public work as clever, thus encouraging the phenomenon's spread.

Bribery is dominant within Yemeni administrative apparatuses, particularly the police and judiciary, which are meant to secure justice and apply law. The study recommended uniting efforts to correct the situation, as such will have a positive impact to limit the phenomenon and lessen its spread.

Because bribery-related laws aren't applied, the phenomenon continues expanding, with employees receiving bribes usually enjoying protection from those above him/her. Further, the phenomenon is widespread in Yemen because society has a passive position regarding corruption afflicting the government administrative system. Finally, the study requested increasing public awareness about bribery and its risks to their nation.