Yemeni and international experts emphasize the need for political will to combat corruption and a strategy to meet phase’s priorities.

Yemeni and international experts emphasize the need for political will to combat corruption and a strategy to meet phase’s priorities.

On the International Anti-Corruption Day:

Yemeni and international experts emphasize the need for political will to combat corruption and a strategy to meet phase’s priorities.

In observance of the International Anti-Corruption Day, the Studies & Economic Media Center (SEMC) in cooperation with the Yemen Parliamentarians Against Corruption (Yemen PAC), organized, on Saturday, December 9, 2023, a webinar entitled ” Corruption, conflict and priorities for the next phase”.

The webinar was held via Zoom, with more than 60 participants. Those participants are members of the Yemeni Parliament, former ministers, representatives of government institutions, INGOs, NGOs, journalists and civil activists concerned with combating corruption. They discussed many issues in pertinent with the corruption in Yemen, adverse effects of the ongoing conflict, and current imbalance of anti-corruption mechanisms and structures that come into conflict with multiple powers. As well the lack of political will to combat and reduce corruption.

The chairman of Yemen PAC, Sakhr Al-Wajeeh, expressed his pleasure of the webinar’s convening, and stressed that everyone knows that Yemen is experiencing a complex crisis leading corruption to widespread among State institutions. ” And this is because the absence of the role of legislative and control entities”, he added.

He referred to the deliberate disruption of the Yemeni Parliament, which was convened only twice, the first was in Seiyun city to elect a new parliament presidency, and the second was in Aden during the swearing-in of the Presidential Leadership Council. “After which it was completely disrupted, except for some oversight activities by special committees that investigate some issues”, he went on saying.

“The term of the Supreme National Authority for Combating Corruption and the High Authority for Tender Control (HATC) has expired and no decrees have been issued to reconstitute them, while the Central Organization for Control and Accounting has continued to issue its reports without authorization from the Presidential Council or the Government”, Al-Wajeeh added.


Then, Mr. Arkan El Seblani, UNDP Regional Chief Advisor and Manager of the Project on Anticorruption and integrity in Arab Countries, spoke on the international conventions against corruption Mechanisms of enforcement and follow up.

El Seblani said that the topic of the webinar has a global scope in terms of relationship between corruption and conflict, adding: Anti-corruption systems should not be limited to the UN alone, as there are other systems concerned with combating corruption, stressing that the UN Convention against Corruption is not alone, but rather integrated with its regional counterparts, such as the Arab or African Conventions.

“There are extensions on which the anti-corruption system is based. The first component of international systems is conventions. The second component is recommendations that are often semi-mandatory and sometimes based on penalties such as those issued by financial labour organizations. The third component is national laws, which are called long-arm statutes which have extraterritorial force and effect. And the fourth component is indicators as they form a basis on which to build decisions and formulate sanctions with economic dimensions”, El Seblani added.

For his part, Mr. Kareem Shaban, office director of Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) in Jordan, talked about the reality of corruption in Yemen and the mechanisms to combat it based on the recent study carried out in this regard. He also addressed the main existing legal and constitutional gaps in the absence of constitutional laws enhancing transparency but, on the contrary, there are laws limiting transparency such as the Supreme Office Trial Act.

Shaban listed the reasons for the penetration of corruption, which centered on the existence of interests associated with senior military commanders and the lack of good governance principles as well the lack of transparency and disclosure. Also, the lack of protection of whistleblowers and witnesses, and the absence of many specific techniques in combating corruption.  Also, the lack of performance indicators and benchmarks and the disruption of the High Authority for Tender Control. The system of control and accountability is generally disrupted. Shaban did not exclude the conflict and the duplicated standards of government institutions from the reasons that contributed to the widespread and pervasive corruption in Yemen.

Dr. Saad Aldeen Ben Taleb, former Minister of Trade and Industry and a member of Yemen’s first Anti-Corruption Authority, spoke about the relationship between conflict, crises, corruption and anti-corruption mechanisms in the coming phase. He discussed the current problem facing the country, which he believed lacked the minimum requirements of political will to counter and combat corruption.

Anti-corruption strategist Dr. Ben Taleb added that Yemen has an adequate legal and legislative structure to counter corruption, including the structures and institutions necessary to carry out the task of eradicating corruption and trapping it, but that it is confronted with the weak political will of the President of State to do so. Which had led to corruption in all institutions from the highest to the lowest.

According to Dr. Ben Taleb, there is an urgent need to activate the political will to stop the systematic corruption of all institutions, threaten societal peace and worsening economic conditions that have reached the worst phase ever.

Mr. Ali Ashal, Member of the Yemeni Parliament and winner of the Anti-Corruption Award by Parliamentarians’ International Organization Against Corruption, spoke about official control institutions and their role in fighting corruption. Noting the complete disruption of the State’s institutions, which has led to widespread corruption among State’ agencies. He pointed out that the House of Representatives is completely discontinuing its oversight tasks and not holding the relevant officials accountable, under the pretext of the country’s exceptional phase.

In Ashal’s view, the suspension of control institutions encouraged the corrupt people to do their job at ease. Some of them refused to respond to the Yemeni Parliament in a number of requests for questioning about legitimate abuses of corruption, stressing that the task was difficult because they faced a strong refusal by those who should be at the forefront of confronting and combating corruption.

Mustafa Nasr, chairman of the SEMC, focused on the importance of alliances and networking between civil society organizations, media outlets and the private sector in order to combat corruption. Nasr stressed that this is crucial as anti-corruption institutions collapse.

Nasr added that there is a popular and media retreat in the face of corruption and the exclusion of civil society from any attempt at confrontation, which calls for us to revive the civil coalition against corruption sponsored by the World Bank.

The webinar came up with a number of recommendations, the most important of which was to stimulate political will in various ways and by various means to directly diagnose the reality of corruption, thereby rebuilding a new strategy to combat corruption that was realistic and feasible in partnership with all stakeholders, focusing on local communities and supporting and revitalizing the role of local institutions.

And to revitalize and shape the Civil Anti-Corruption Alliance, which was supported by the World Bank, as well as undertake initiatives to diagnose the corruption system, develop a phased anti-corruption course of action, place a phased focus on sectoral action against corruption, and work on anti-corruption processes such as transparency, good governance and others that make the government engage with those efforts.

As well as building a system of integrity from the bottom up, starting with communities, and lastly to establish a committee of several governmental and non-governmental actors to monitor and track the corruption of the Houthi group in all state’s institutions under its control.

The webinar included a number of key interventions by representatives of government bodies such as the Central Organization for Control and Accounting, the State’s Advocate General and the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, and other interventions by those present that influenced the webinar and addressed the reality of anti-corruption efforts in Yemen and the reliable means of countering the penetration and spread of corruption in official institutions.