Analysts estimate that the Houthi rebels embezzled at least $ 1.8 billion in 2019 allocated to basic services and citizens’ salaries.
Economic profit is fueling disaster in Yemen where a six-year war has led to repeated attacks on civilians, enforced disappearances and other gross human rights violations, UN experts have said.
A new United Nations report estimates that the Houthi rebels embezzled at least $ 1.8 billion in 2019 intended for the government to pay salaries and provide basic services to citizens.
The government of Yemen, meanwhile, has implemented a program to illegally divert Saudi $ 423 million from traders to purchase rice and other goods for the Yemeni people, he said.
The report describes a deteriorating situation in Yemen, where the panel said the Houthis and the government “appear to be indifferent” to the devastating effect the falling economy has on its people while continuing to deflect the country’s economic and financial resources.
Six years of war between a US-backed Arab coalition supporting the internationally recognized government and Iran-aligned Houthi rebels have been catastrophic for Yemen, killing more than 112,000 people, creating the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, bringing the country on the brink of famine and the destruction of infrastructure.
It started with the Houthi takeover of the north in 2014, where the majority of Yemenis live, which sparked a destructive Saudi-led coalition air campaign aimed at restoring government.
The panel said that there is “a growing body of evidence to suggest that individuals and entities” in Iran are providing “significant volumes of weapons and components to the Houthis”.
The panel said the government had lost strategic territory to the Houthis and the Southern Transition Council, a separatist group backed by the UAE. In December, the coalition announced a power-sharing cabinet that included separatists from the south, as part of a deal to end a power struggle between the former allies.
“The lack of a coherent strategy among anti-Houthi forces, demonstrated by infighting within them, and disagreements between their regional backers, has served to strengthen the Houthis,” UN experts said.
The report says the Houthis perform government functions, including collecting taxes and other state revenue “much of which is used to fund their war effort” – not to help the Yemeni people.
“The government of Yemen in some cases engages in money laundering and corrupt practices that undermine access to adequate food supplies for Yemenis, in violation of the right to food,” said the panel.
In the $ 423 million program that illegally transferred public money to traders, 48% was received by a single holding company, the Hayel Saeed Anam Group, experts said.