Houthis Acknowledge Pillaging 72% of Oil Revenues in Hodeidah
Last week, Houthi militias acknowledged seizing around $60 million from fixed oil revenues estimated at $84 million without informing the UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths’ office, which is tasked with monitoring the private account receiving legal revenues from oil trade at the Hoddeidah ports.
Houthis have plundered 72% of total revenues and spent almost half of it on their war effort, Yemeni government economic committee member Fares al-Jaadabi told Asharq Al-Awsat.
The looted funds were deposited in an account monitored by the UN special envoy’s office and were intended to be disbursed as salaries for civil servants according to a mechanism agreed upon by the office and Houthis, but the process reached a dead end after the latter criminalized dealing with the new currency and confiscated the funds.
Houthis, when asked about the funds by the UN special envoy’s office, exercised evasiveness and deception. After repeated inquiry about the funds, it became apparent that around 50 % of the stolen cash was spent on the Houthi war effort while the other 50% was disbursed as salaries to Houthi loyalists.
On the other hand, Asharq Al-Awsat has learned that discussions are currently taking place between the Yemeni government and the United Nations envoy to allow the entry of four oil ships into Hodeidah.
Government sources revealed that Griffiths is exerting efforts with government leaders based in Riyadh in order to revive the oil import agreement for Hodeidah ports weeks after the Houthis reneged.
The agreement, which was sponsored by the United Nations last year, was to supply the proceeds of tax and customs duties on shipments to a special account in the central bank branch in Hodeidah to pay the salaries of employees until Houthis have recently looted the funds collected, which are approximately $ 60 million.
A government source familiar with Asharq Al-Awsat reported that authorities are still reserved on returning to the mechanism and are asking the UN envoy to provide guarantees to ensure that the Houthi group does not plunder more funds.