Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Official: ‘Sana’a Central Bank’ Financed Fictional Imports | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Yemeni pro-government forces flash victory signs as they head to Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan province, to launch an offensive to recapture the city from Qaeda militants on August 14, 2016. Saleh Al Obeidi / AFP

Riyadh, Aden-A Yemeni bank official uncovered that the rebel-controlled Central Bank in the capital Sana’a was financing fictional import operations that have contributed to supporting what Houthis call “war efforts.”

Member of the Yemeni Central Bank Board of Directors Shakib Hubaishi told Asharq Al-Awsat that at least 50 percent of cash withdrawn from the central bank was still in the possession of rebels, who knew that the bank would not remain under their control for long.

However, the bank official said neither the money nor the weapons would be able to protect the insurgents.

Asked whether the rebels were still capable of running the affairs of the central bank, even after it was moved to Aden, Hubaishi said: “They cannot. And if rebels decided to separate the Central Bank in Sana’a from the bank’s main administration in Aden, the insurgents would be committing a big mistake by isolating themselves.”

“If the rebels refused to hand over the bank’s list of data, we will be able to establish it by our own,” he warned.

The member of the Central Bank Board of Directors denied plans to change the Yemeni currency, saying the bank only seeks to print more cash.

“The (amount of) cash available inside Yemen is not normal. The currency printing is not politically motivated, but it rather aims at covering the financial liquidity problem,” he said, adding that the introduction of more money would come in several stages.

Hubaishi said the decision to move the Central Bank from Sana’a to Aden was not an easy task, but was essential.

This month, Yemen’s exiled President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi decided to move the headquarters of the country’s central bank from Sana’a to Aden.

Separately, Major General Ahmed Seif, the commander of the Fourth Military Region, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the National Army had prevented during the past few days, four military brigades established by rebel militias, from advancing to the coastal cities located on the “Bab al-Mandeb” straight, controlled by the legitimate government.

Seif added that the rebels had benefited from the ceasefire period to mobilize and equip those military brigades.