Yemen’s fight against corruption stagnates [Archives:2007/1090/Front Page]

October 1 2007

Mohammed Al-Jabri
SANA'A, Sept. 29 Setting up an anti-corruption authority and approving Bid and Tender law are parts of the government's recent efforts to reduce corruption. The government said progress was made towards fighting against corruption during 2007. But on Wednesday, the Transparency International showed Yemen didn't make strides in moves against corruption, and even got worse than before.

Yemenu was ranked 131 out of 180 countries on the 2007 Corruption Perception Index by the corruption watchdog Transparency International, slipping from 111 in 2006. It scored 2.5 points out of a maximum possible score of 10.

The index scores countries on a scale from zero to ten, with zero indicating high levels of perceived corruption and ten indicating low levels of perceived corruption.

Other countries ranking alongside Yemen include: Burundi, Honduras, Iran, Libya, Nepal, and Philippines.

u” These indicators are alarming,” MP Aydarous Al-Naqeeb passed these comments following the Transparency International's evaluation.u “They require that the decision-makeru pay attention to the unfavourable consequences that will emerge in the near future as a result of the current situation.u The recent protests and social tensions are a case in point and are difficult to be contained,” he added.

The expert noted that corruption is not a disobedient demon, and that it can be curbed. He said :” Corruption uis a behaviour practiced by humans. We should fight those people who practice this kind of behaviour.”

Al-Naqeeb, who is a member of Yemeni Parliamentarians Against Corruption, a local NGO, is worried about Yemen's future that will be bleak should there are no serious measures to solve the problem [of corruption].

uAccording to him, there is no serious program on the part of the government to fight corruption; nor is there a practical agenda to curb this problem[of corruption].

“The corrupt can enjoy using the state's executive and financial authorities. They can feel secured as we have never heard that anyone ofu them has been sent to justice,” he added.

Al-Naqeeb made it clear that there is no political will to fight against corruption. “The steps taken by the government (setting up anti-corruption authority, and Tender and Bids law) have no marked practical agenda. They have been taken to meet the donor countries' desires.”

Analysts said corruption is an epidemic that kills development in the country and that it leads to unfair distribution of the state's resources. About 43 percent of Yemen's 21 million inhabitants live under poverty line, while the rate of unemployment and illiteracy remain high. u

u”At this stage, corruption can't be fought against as the regime has been built on corruption tools,” said Dr. Mohammed Abdul-Malik Al0Mutawakel, professor of political science at Sanaa University. There must be free and fair elections, and a parliament whose members represent the public will, in order to ube able to fight corruption, he added. u

He noted: “We need a considerable time to create a real democratic atmosphere. The economic conditions are deteriorating and people have reached the stage of hunger.”

The 2007 Corruption Perceptions Index looks at perceptions of public sector corruption in 180 countries and territories. uScores are significantly higher in several African countries in the 2007 CPI.

These include Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa and Swaziland. These results reflect the positive progress of anti-corruption efforts in Africa and show that genuine political will and reform can lower perceived levels of corruption.

uOther countries with a significant improvement include Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Dominica, Italy, FYR Macedonia, Romania and Suriname. Countries with a significant worsening in perceived levels of corruption in 2007 include Austria, Bahrain, Belize, Bhutan, Jordan, Laos, Macao, Malta, Mauritius, Oman, Papua New Guinea and Thailand.