AL-MUKALLA: An anti-corruption authority controlled by the Iran-backed Houthis in Sanaa has ordered the seizure of assets belonging to Abdul Qader Bajamal, a late former prime minister, accusing him of misusing public funds, Yemeni activists and local media said.
Ahmed Nagi Al-Nabhani, a Yemeni activist based in the city, told Arab News that the Supreme National Authority for Combating Corruption issued a seizure order targeting houses, bank accounts and other properties owned by Bajamal over a failed project during his tenure in 2003.
Bajamal was a senior member of the General People’s Congress, the former president Ali Abdullah Saleh’s party, and head of three consecutive governments from 2001 to 2006.
Al-Nabhani said that the SNACC had sent the case to the Public Funds Court for prosecution, and called for coordinated local and international rights campaigns, mainly from Bajamal’s party, to pressure the Houthis to allow the former premier’s family to access their assets.
“There must be serious and real solidarity with the family of Bajamal, because they are now, according to the decision of the SNACC, banned from using their father’s property,” Al-Nabhani said.
Bajamal died in September 2020 at the age of 67.
In a condolence message to his family, Mahdi Al-Mashat, head of Houthi Supreme Political Council, described Bajamal then as a “sincere, dedicated” national leader who served his country.
The seizure order against Bajamal came as the Houthis raided the houses of other late Yemeni officials in Sanaa and areas under their control.
In Sanaa, armed Houthis occupied the house of the late Abdul Rahman Bafadhel, an MP and member of the Islamist Islah party, and expelled his daughter and her husband, citing a seizure order, a friend of the family told Arab News.
Bafadhel died in Saudi Arabia in October 2015 in a car accident.
The militia also raided the house of Ameen Ali Al-Kaderi, a late tribal leader who opposed their rule in the central province of Ibb, his son Salah said.
Since taking power militarily in late 2014, the Houthis have issued hundreds of seizure orders and death sentences against military and security leaders, politicians, journalists and activists who rejected their coup and supported the internationally recognized government of the country and military operations by the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen.
The Houthis sold or rented some of the seized properties, turned others into secret detention centers, and gifted others to their leaders.
Abdurrahman Barman, a Yemeni human rights advocate and director of the American Center for Justice, told Arab News that the latest string of seizure orders against Bajamal and Bafadhel show the Houthis are moving to dispossess families of dead politicians of their property under the pretext of fighting corruption.
“This is an attempt to impoverish Yemenis to concentrate wealth, power, the economy, the judiciary, the media and all sources of power in the hands of the group,” Barman said.