Watani Bank defendants sentenced to different terms [Archives:2007/1033/Local News]

March 15 2007

SANA'A, 13 March ) On Tuesday the State Security Specialized Penal Court issued its rulings on the Watani Bank case. The court sentenced the bank's Chairman of the Board of Directors, Dr. Ahmed Al-Hamadani, to two years in jail. It also rejected the case raised by civil claimants and sentenced Tha'er Shamlan, Abdu Al-Mahyub, Abdullah Al-Khawlani and Naji Al-Ghader to eight-month terms.

The court also ordered the jailing of Abdullah Al-Mazna'ei, Bashir Al-Adimi and Saleh Al-Yaf'ei for one year each but released Abdulelah Al-Mamari, Said Shabih, a Pakistani national, and Hizam Al-Rub'u because of the period they have already served in prison.

Prosecutor Khalid Al-Mawri told the media that they will appeal the judgment because the rulings do not correspond with the punishments dictated by the law for such cases. The punishments meted out by the prosecution ranged from three to ten years.

The prosecution accused nine members of the board of directors, including chairman Al-Hamadani, together with two employees from the tax authority of squandering shareholders and depositors' funds amounting to YR 20 billions and betraying the confidence of investors. They were also accused of mismanaging the bank to achieve their own personal ends and harming the development and national economy of Yemen in the process. The indictment also charged the accused individuals of easing the squandering of money for themselves and others as well as spending large sums of money illegally to speculate on the stock exchange. They were also accused of having provided loans for prominent personalities without any guarantees.

The Central Bank of Yemen took a decision on December 2005 to take control of the Watani Bank after it was unable to repay the depositors and cancelled the authority of the board of directors. Additionally, the bank issued a general notice to all Yemeni banks to freeze the accounts of the members of the Watani Bank's board of directors together with their relatives. Though some of defendants left the country following the arrests, they were brought back by Interpol after following forcible arrests by the Specialised Penal Prosecution. The prosecution also ordered forcible arrests of more than 50 debtors who owe the Watani Bank more than YR 12 billions.