Middle east

New law allows Houthis to steal Yemeni money… What are the details of this law?

In new legislation that allows it to plunder bank savings under the guise of fighting usury, thereby allowing it to take over the rest of the commercial banks after taking over another under the pretext of bankruptcy, the Iranian-backed Houthi group is pushing a new law through the parliament under their control in Sana’a to prevent what they call “Western dealings.”

This controversial law, which was rejected by representatives of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Banks, is a prelude to seizing the interest of bank savings for thousands of citizens, especially since most commercial banks have refused for years to disburse savings and deposits in their possession since September 2014; that is, before the Houthi coup under the pretext of war and illiquidity.

Al-Arab, a London-based newspaper, quoted informed sources as saying that the Houthis were inspired by a similar Libyan version of the law issued in 2013 before it was suspended. There were some non-fundamental changes in the law that Yemeni economists and financial experts said were designed to rob Yemenis of savings only in banks, and they are not commensurate with the nature of the global banking system.

The Association of Banks in a letter to the House of Representatives (Sana’a) expressed its inability to pay the money deposited, while the Houthi central bank refuses to fulfill its obligations to local banks or to pay interest on treasury bonds that amounted to $5 billion.

Financial sources say that the Houthis’ rush to issue the controversial law on banning asthma transactions is aimed primarily at seizing interest accrued to banks, companies, and financial institutions, which means that these banks are unable to pay the dues of more than one million depositors.

Since its invasion of Sana’a in September 2014, the Houthi militias have embarked on a policy of confiscating public and private funds, imposing laws and measures aimed at controlling the financial and banking sector, and seizing the funds of bank depositors.

Commercial sources believe that behind the move is a plan by militias to seize billions of riyals as profits for government agencies, especially the Insurance and Pensions Corporation, which has invested billions of riyals from retirees’ money in treasury bonds, and similar commercial banks.

The Houthis’ practices of destroying the national economy, increasing poverty and unemployment, and exploiting them for political and financial purposes have become commonplace, as women and children in Yemen search for leftover food in piles of garbage on the streets of Sanaa and neighboring Yemeni provinces.

With no job opportunities, widespread poverty, and looted salaries for state employees, the Houthi militias and their leaders are living in an unprecedented well-being, squandering state revenues and harnessing their personal interests and military actions.

A number of economists attribute the high rate of poverty and unemployment among Yemeni families, with some looking for food in the garbage, to the militias’ looting of salaries, the massive manipulation of the disbursement of humanitarian aid by the World Food Program and other international aid agencies, and the looting of state revenues.

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