Yemen: vast amounts of money are missing

لقراءة هذا التدوينة بالعربية اضغطوا على هذا الرابط

Billions of Yemeni public money is reported missing, endangering vital projects for the Yemeni people. Together with a film crew from MIND Media Innovation & Development we follow brave activists and their quest to find the missing billions. We met Ahmed Saif Hashid and Naif Hassan, two men who are at the forefront of using access to information to expose alleged corruption.

Film director Omar Kamel, cameramen Ahmed El Kady and Mohamed Hamdy with Ahmed Saif Hashed in front of the parliament.

Recently, the Yemeni government issued a decree to provide healthcare and compensation from the state budget for people injured during the 2011 revolution.  However, many of the injured so far have received neither healthcare nor compensation and are at risk of chronic illness. The government announced that it had paid 2 billion YER (€7.1 million) to Al Wafaa Foundation to provide such healthcare. The foundation claims it never received these funds. The Public Funds attorney general announced he had suspended the funding transfer. But nobody is able to say where this money is.

Ahmed Saif Hashed, an independent parliamentarian, has been on the frontlines tirelessly supporting people injured during the revolution and their claims to adequate medical treatment and compensation. After one of them died in January 2013, he supported sit-ins and a hunger strike in front of parliament calling for payment in line with the governmental decree to provide healthcare and compensation from the state budget for people injured during the 2011 revolution. He was attacked and severely injured during one protest in February 2013.

This blog post is part of a series drawing
on articles from the forthcoming project
It Belongs to You: Public Information in the
Middle East and North Africa
.

Another important case in point where money is missing is the diesel industry. For Yemenis it plays a large role not only in transport, but also in agriculture for irrigation and in keeping electricity through diesel generators going. Secrecy and limited access to information in the diesel sector enable large-scale corruption impacting millions of farmers and ordinary Yemenis.

Cameraman Adi Al Kady with Naif Hassan infront of Ministry of Oil.

A 2008 study reports that 50 per cent of total annual government subsidised diesel was smuggled out of country – at the time equalling 12 per cent of that year’s GDP.

Naif Hassan, a journalist and editor for Al Sharea and Al Oula newspapers, detailed how he investigated and uncovered corruption in the diesel sector. Like many other journalists, Hassan has suffered physical assault but despite threats he continues his work to uncover corruption scandals.

Access to information is essential to reveal corruption. People have an important role in this – they have the power to challenge limitations to public information and use what information they obtain to support a more just and fair state of affairs for society.

MIND’s film crew met people in the old city of Sana’a, activists and youth volunteers rehearsing for street theatre against corruption – great examples of how people speak up for access to information.

Filming in Sana’a old city

Filming in Sana’a

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Annette Kleinbrod

About Annette Kleinbrod

Annette Kleinbrod is Programme Manager of Transparency International's People Engagement Programme

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2 Responses to Yemen: vast amounts of money are missing

  1. Nick 17 September 2013 at 5:50 pm #

    Good luck to Naif on exposing this corruption. It only takes 1 determined individual to expose and pursue the corruption which is rife in so many countries.

    We currently have a similar situation with billions of Rands having gone “Missing” through erroneous spending by our provincial Health Department (South Africa). With enough exposure and public pressure hopefully these dodgy dealings will be brought to light.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Weekly News Update 19 September 2013 | Yemen Digest - 19 September 2013

    […] Vast amounts of money are missing Transparency International — 17 September 2013 Recently, the Yemeni government issued a decree to provide healthcare and compensation from the state budget for people injured during the 2011 revolution.  However, many of the injured so far have received neither healthcare nor compensation and are at risk of chronic illness. The government announced that it had paid 2 billion YER (€7.1 million) to Al Wafaa Foundation to provide such healthcare. The foundation claims it never received these funds. The Public Funds attorney general announced he had suspended the funding transfer. But nobody is able to say where this money is. A 2008 study reports that 50 per cent of total annual government subsidised diesel was smuggled out of country – at the time equalling 12 per cent of that year’s GDP. […]