Three officials were accused of blackmailing and obstructing an investor during the construction of an oil factory

Governor of oil-rich Shabwa investigates officials on corruption allegations

The governor of Shabwa governorate, Mohammed Saleh bin Adyo, on Saturday suspended three local officials and ordered corruption investigations into allegations of wrongdoing in an oil project. 

A source working in the local authority in Shabwa told Almasdar Online that the investigations were set into motion by accusations from investor Akram bin Khalil, who told Governor bin Adyo that he had been obstructed and blackmailed while setting up an oil factory in Al-Rawdha district.

Bin Khalil made the allegations against the Director General of the General Authority for the Environment, the Director General of Al-Rawdha District and the Director General of the General Authority for Space, Land and Real Estate in the district.

Governor bin Adyo suspended the officials and authorized investigations into the matter. Security services have arrested two of the men, the source said, and they are still searching for the third.

Corruption investigations are unusual in Yemen, which has been mired in war and chaos for nearly five years, fueled in part by graft at all levels of government. But since bin Abdyo became governor, the corruption file has received greater attention in Shabwa..

President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi appointed bin Adyo a year ago as governor of the centrally-located governorate, one of the country's most important oil sources with strategic coastal access. 

As the former undersecretary for Shabwa, bin Adyo is one of the most prominent tribal sheikhs in the governorate and the most politically active. Located within the borders of the former South Yemen, the governorate and its resources have been hotly contested in the north-south struggle that has ensued. 

Shabwa has undergone a major transformation during bin Adyo’s tenure, emerging as a political center for the first time since Yemeni unity was achieved in 1990. Its importance grew after the local authority played a pivotal role in clashes between government forces and fighters loyal to the Southern Transitional Council (STC) in August. 

After the fall of Aden and Abyan governorates to the UAE-backed STC without fierce resistance, the southern separatists set their sights on the oil-rich governorate of Shabwa, offering the governor a surrender initiative. 

The governor pushed back, confronting the STC with the help of army units from Marib governorate and local tribes, and the fight ended in his favor. Both governorates are located in the Third Military Region headquartered in the capital of Marib.

It marked a milestone in the conflict between the separatists and the Yemeni government, and has boosted bin Adyo’s popularity, particularly among the local population, many of whom last week celebrated the one-year anniversary of his inauguration. 

Hadi government officials driven from Aden briefly pursued plans to establish Shabwa’s capital Ataq as Yemen’s new interim capital in recent months, until Saudi Arabia intervened in the clashes and brokered a power sharing deal, known as the Riyadh Agreement, in which the STC will be incorporated into the national government in Aden.

Although he receives strong political opposition from STC fighters, some STC members in Shabwa have rs commended his stance in fighting corruption and improving administrative performance in a short period of time. 

Prominent achievements on bin Adyo’s watch include the addition of an 18 MW electricity project, the rehabilitation of Ataq airport, connection of the oil pipeline from Janna Hunt Oil Company to Al-Alam area and securing the governorate’s  20 percent share of total oil income.



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