ADEN (Reuters) - The governor of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s interim capital Aden has resigned, citing what he said was government corruption that had undermined his efforts to restore basic services to the city.
Abdulaziz al-Muflehi’s resignation just six months after his appointment deals a blow to Hadi’s government as it pushes its fight against the Iran-aligned Houthis who have seized much of northern Yemen since late 2014, forcing Hadi into exile.
Officials from Prime Minister Ahmed Obeid bin Daghr’s office did not respond to repeated requests for comment. The government denies charges of corruption and says it operates according to high standards of transparency.
In a lengthy letter sent to Hadi, Muflehi said he had intended to focus on infrastructure building and activating state bodies such as the judiciary and police when he assumed office in May.
“Unfortunately, I found myself caught in a bitter war against a huge camp of corruption whose brigades are well trained and fortifications are protected by guards led by Prime Minister Dr. Ahmed Obeid bin Daghr,” Muflehi wrote in his resignation letter, a copy of which was sent to Reuters.
The letter was also published by local media, including online newspapers Aden News and Aden al-Ghad.
As an example, he said bin Daghr had transferred more than 5.787 billion riyals ($13.4 million) from the province’s account to the Communications Ministry, saying he wanted to give Yemen an internet service that rivals advanced countries.
Muflehi said the country first needed to restore electricity services to areas like Aden, and said the move “hides avidities and corruption”.
Muflehi had spent much of his time outside Aden since he was appointed by Hadi in May to replace Aydaroos al-Zubaydi, a local militia commander who had thrown his weight behind secessionists demanding the restoration of the former South Yemen that merged with the tribal north in 1990.
Southerners have regularly complained of the domination of the more populous north in the union, including allegations of seizure of real estate and forced retirement of civil servants and military personnel under former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was forced to step down after mass protests in 2011.
Hadi’s government had pledged to restore sacked civil servants and military personnel and pay back salaries they had complained had been denied to them, but the outbreak of civil war in 2015 has derailed the plans.
Reporting by Mohammed Mukhashaf, Writing by Sami Aboudi; Editing by Janet Lawrence