Friday, April 15, 2011

Yemen rejects opposition corruption charges

(AFP) Apr 14, 2011

SANAA — The Yemeni government rejects accusations from an opposition website that it withdrew $150 million of state oil funds to cover expenses from mobilising its supporters, the official Saba news said Thursday.

President Ali Abdullah Saleh has faced protests calling for his departure since January, in which more than 125 people have been killed. Regime supporters have also held large demonstrations.

On Wednesday,, which is affiliated with the Islamist Al-Islah opposition party, published a blurry image of an alleged government document with an article saying that the finance ministry had withdrawn $150 million from the Yemen Petroleum Investment Company to cover the expenses.

"It is unfortunate that the site... deliberately falsified facts in an attempt to mislead public opinion for political purposes," Saba quoted an official from the finance ministry as saying.

The site "deliberately ignored the fact that the amount ($150 million) was allocated to the strategic reserves from petroleum products," the official said.

Yemenis are preparing for rival demonstrations following the main weekly Muslim prayers, with anti-Saleh protesters calling for the "Friday of Determination" while his loyalists have dubbed it a "Friday of Dialogue."

Yemen's oil-rich Gulf neighbours have urged Saleh, in power since 1978, to ensure a peaceful transition of power to Vice President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi and a national unity government led by the opposition.

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