Houthis take $54 million from joint bank account intended for civil servant salaries
Yemen’s internationally recognized government on Monday condemned the Houthis for withdrawing more than 35 billion Yemeni riyals (about $53.9 million*) from a special account in Yemen’s Central Bank branch in Hodeidah governorate, which was allocated for the salaries of civil servants.
The government’s Foreign Ministry called it a “flagrant violation” of a UN-brokered arrangement to pay civil servant salaries using fees from oil imports at the port of Hodeidah.
On April 16, the Houthis announced their intention to withdraw funds from the special account, claiming they would use the funds to pay each civil servant a quarter of their monthly wages. The Houthis at that time accused the Yemeni government of reneging on prior agreements to pay the civil servants.
On May 14, UN Special Envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, briefed the UN Security Council in New York about his concerns on the use of the special account.
“My Office has repeatedly requested documentation from Ansar Allah (Houthis) that is needed to verify the Special Account activity. Indeed, I have written to the leadership to personally reiterate this request,” Griffiths said.
A few days later, the Houthis allegedly withdrew 35 billion Yemeni riyals from the account.
Yemen’s Foreign Ministry has since called on the UN Security Council to compel the Houthis to hand over data on the current status of the special joint account.
Elsewhere in Hodeidah on Monday, Houthi tanks shelled the Red Sea mills grain processing facility and sites hosting the anti-Houthi fighters known as the Joint West Coast Forces, according to members of the joint forces.
Houthi fighters also shelled joint forces in the town of Al-Saleh, near Hodeidah’s airport, as well as residential homes in the village of Al-Jabalia, in Hodeidah’s Tahita district.
*Currency calculation based on a conversion rate of 650 Yemeni riyals per $1.
Editing by Ahlam Mohsen and Casey Coombs