AL-MUKALLA: The internationally recognized government of Yemen will try to mitigate the impact of the latest UN report on the central bank’s reputation and the country’s banking system in general, a senior government official told Arab News.
“After reading the report, we feel concerned about the reputation of the central bank and the report’s impact on currency rates, the citizens and the economy,” the government official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief reporters.
The UN panel of experts who monitor international sanctions in war-torn Yemen said in their latest report that the Aden-based Central Bank of Yemen misused millions of dollars from the Saudi deposit meant for buying food and diverted millions of dollars to a group of local traders.
On Wednesday, Yemeni government officials held a virtual meeting with members of the UN panel with the aim of correcting some points in their report, the official news agency SABA reported.
The Yemeni officials told the UN experts that their report included “inaccurate information and conclusions” about the disbursement of the Saudi deposit, reprimanding the UN officials for not meeting the relevant Yemeni authorities before releasing the report, SABA said.
The central bank officials also held another virtual meeting with the UN experts for the same purpose. During the meeting, the bank’s officials voiced reservations about corruption and money laundering accusations that were included in the report, and demanded the UN experts correct any misinformation.
According to official media, both sides agreed to hold more meetings and review the report based on the responses and clarifications from the Yemeni side.
In an eight–page report seen by Arab News, the central bank said that several Yemeni and Saudi institutes were aware of the bank’s “transparent” procedures for spending the Saudi deposit, adding that the bank was forced into giving some “incentives” to local traders to boost their trust in the central bank.
The bank noted that the Iran-backed Houthis banned banks in areas under their control from dealing with the Saudi deposit and imposed taxes on essential commodities that crossed into their territories from government-controlled areas, which pushed up their prices.
“All financial transactions that took place from the Saudi deposit were based on a clear, transparent and fair mechanism that applied all foreign banking and trade standards,” according to the bank’s report.
Headed by the chairman of the Arab Parliament Economic Commission, Insaf Mayo, the Yemeni parliament recently formed a committee of several Yemeni economists to investigate UN corruption allegations about the central bank in Aden.
At the same time, Yemen’s government has said that the World Bank allocated $20 million for repairing roads and basic infrastructures across Yemen.
According to the official news agency, the dean of executive directors board of the World Bank Group, Merza Hasan, told Yemeni minister of planning, Waed Bathib, that the World Bank would support the Yemeni central bank and the banking system in Yemen by disbursing the WB’s grants through the central bank in Aden.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by WCT staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)