SNAAC = The Supreme Authority of Anti-Corruption in Yemen
|Reference id||aka Wikileaks id #245736 ?|
|Subject||2010 Investment Climate Statement – Republic Of Yemen|
|Origin||Embassy Sanaa (Yemen)|
|Cable time||Wed, 27 Jan 2010 11:44 UTC|
|History||First published on Wed, 24 Aug 2011 03:21 UTC (original)
Modified on Thu, 1 Sep 2011 23:24 UTC (diff from original)
Corruption is a significant impediment to U.S. investment in Yemen, since it is nearly impossible for U.S. investors to verify with any degree of certainty that local partners, the key to any projectQs success, will comply with the letter and the spirit of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. U.S. investors should be aware that Yemeni businessmen have an operating definition of corruption that differs vastly from one that would satisfy an American corporate lawyer. Kickbacks and bribes at every level of government and at every phase of a project are a common way of doing business. Despite ratifying the UN Convention Against Corruption in 2005, Yemen ranked as the 154th most corrupt country out of 180 countries and territories on Transparency InternationalQs 2009 Corruption Perception Index, compared to 141st in 2008. The poorest country in the Arab world, Yemen has a hugely overstaffed and underpaid civil service. One can see ministry employees who make less than USD 300 per month driving luxury cars and traveling abroad in first class. Potential foreign investors are often approached, either directly or indirectly through an intermediary, with offers by government officials to swing a tender or a project license for a Qfee. Illicit activities include soliciting and paying bribes to facilitate project approval, leveraging dispute settlements, changing tax rates and customs tariffs, and engaging in family or tribal nepotism. Government officials at all levels regularly approach investors to serve as Qproject consultantsQ for unjustifiably high rates, a common form of soliciting a bribe that provides officials with some form of plausible deniability. The government recognizes that it must enact civil service and administrative reforms to create disincentives to corruption, but progress has been extremely slow. Parliament approved the creation of an 11-member Supreme National Authority for Combating Corruption (SNACC), an independent body with the authority to track down corrupt public officials and retrieve funds obtained through corrupt practices. SNACC is charged with drafting and implementing anti-corruption policies and collecting financial disclosure forms from senior government officials. SNACC can investigate individuals involved in financial crimes and public corruption and refer them to the judiciary for prosecution. Since its creation in 2007, SNACC has collected more than 15,000 financial disclosure forms from public officials and sheikhs and has referred five corruption cases to Yemeni prosecutors for trial. None of the five cases had resulted in convictions as of December 2009.