Protocols of Corruption in Yemen

National Yemen

Mohamed Al-Absi

By Mohammed al-Absi

Hamid al-Ahmar and Shaher Abdel Haq have acquired an operator license for a mobile phone company costing 20 million dollars. In Sudan, the same license costs 150 million dollars, and in Lebanon it costs one billion dollars. In this way only, most of the country’s wealth, resources and fisheries are sold.

Many sheikhs of the second and third degree—not sheikhs of first category—receive monthly payments ranging from ten to twenty thousand dollars a month from Yemen’s oil companies. These payments are listed on balance sheets under the item “Security Consulting.” The funding for these payments comes out of Yemen’s share of oil profits, and thus from the state treasury, and Yemen’s revolution was not enough to put an end to these payments.

These corrupt payments are delivered solely to sheikhs. The sons of military leaders also take a cut through their positions at the head of security companies inside the oil market, known today as the “security trade.” Yahya Saleh,  Mohsen Ali Mohsen, and Nagel Ghalib al-Kamsh are just a few examples!

In general, there is no state sector able to recoup these losses. This stands in particular contrast to other oil-generating states in the region.

In Morocco, 24% of GNP is accrued from taxes; in Djibouti 21%; in Lebanon 17%. In Yemen, taxes only constitute 6% of GNP. 


Because of the relative marriage between power and commerce.

All of the involved parties are traders and officials, and all of them are relatives to each other. All of them work only for their personal interests.        

Wasted resources and oil wealth can free Yemen from begging from donors. But what should be done under such corrupt rule? It is impossible to use our dwindling resources on the interests of the country given the controlling hands of the tribes, sheikhs and traders.  

It is difficult to list Yemen’s sheikhs’ according to the privileges and industries claimed by each. If Sheikh Mashreqi supplies the tents for Yemen’s Armed Forces, what about Sheikhs al-Shayef, al-Kader, Mkassa, Iboulihom, and al-Awadi?

Al-Ahmar Group investments for Trading weren’t just a big enterprise on their own, but they were also processing and establishing private and public shelters for the army. These investments gave the al-Ahmar Group power through their agents, the TEMETOY Finnish company. Of course, this arrangement occurred under the direction of the former president.

The number of arms traders among sheikhs and military leaders cannot be imagined. Some of the most famous are the owner of the Peace Conference and al-Houthi Governor Fares Manna.

Even the media’s favorite officials have fault, like Secretary of the Capital Abd al-Qader Helal—who spent almost 320 million dollars repairing roads and building bridges that did not fix congestion but simply relocated it. Helal said that he was having trouble finding projects without declaring any tender. So what about the fifty bridges given to Helal’s company without any tender declared?

The worst kind of corruption in Yemen is the lack of administrative efficiency among officials when contracts are signed. This is like selling a kilo of gold at the price of a kilo of zinc.

As another example, Saudi Arabia doesn’t buy its natural gas as a raw material because some gas derivatives are very expense. It’s better to sell derivatives instead of selling the raw gas.

Every time I write, I promise to write optimistically, to avoid frustrating the people. But what can I do?

There is no electricity or fuel in Sana’a, and every day and night officials crow about false achievements. In fact, they are destroying our future as they spread the corruption of the past and present.