Yemenis on social media have denounced Houthi Deputy Foreign Minister Hussein al-Ezzi for purchasing a massive villa in Sanaa for $1.5 million.
Video footage posted online showed one of the citizens mocking the state of poverty experienced by Yemenis in Houthi-run areas at a time when the militia leaders are splurging to buy real estate.
Houthis are notorious for funneling state funds to finance the activities of their leaders. The Iran-backed group has also monopolized different parts of the Yemeni economy, such as the oil industry and pesticide and medicine trade.
Facing popular discontent towards corruption practiced by Houthi leaders, Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, the leader of the Houthi movement, allowed releasing excerpts from a recent report by the Houthi Oversight and Accountability Authority on Corruption.
According to the report, the head of the Sanaa Customs Authority, Youssef Zabara, was dismissed.
Zabara was accused of embezzling around a billion Yemeni rials.
However, five days after the dismissal, Zabara mobilized more than 300 customs employees and held a large farewell party, which ended with honoring him for his tenure and thanking him for his efforts.
The move surprised employees and citizens alike. Many wondered how an official who was dismissed because of corruption can get celebrated.
Zabara’s case reveals a lot of truth about Houthi claims of confronting corruption.
The Houthis had dismissed the head of the Customs Authority and the head of the Tax Authority just to quell popular resentment and cover up corruption, not fight it.
Moreover, Houthis appointed Abduljabbar Al-Jarmozi, otherwise known as Abu Younes, as the new Tax Authority head.
Al-Jarmozi had served as the Houthi undersecretary for the Hodeidah governorate.
The newly appointed official is known for doubling taxes on goods and agricultural products.
Houthis assigning Al-Jarmozi could be a sign of the group heading towards hiking tax rates in areas of its control.