Yemen – Yemen President Handpicked Winning Contractor

Posted on 08/02/2011 by

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Via WikiLeaks.
By Richard Smallteacher, Wikileaks Staff, 4 February 2011. Original article here.

Dubai Ports International (DPI), a company based in the United Arab Emirates, won a 35-year concession worth $500 million to operate and develop the Aden Port and Aden Container Terminal, because of the direct intervention of Ali Abdullah Saleh, the president of Yemen who has ruled the country since 1978.

“Good news for Yemen’s investment climate” is the title of a new diplomatic cable released by Wikileaks (05SANAA1589) that was signed by Thomas C. Krajeski, then U.S. ambassador to Yemen. The ambassador commends the decision despite noting that the president told him that he “personally had made the decision to pick DPI.”

Kuwait Gulf Link & Transport company lost the hotly contested bid in June 2006 even after arranging for a member of the Kuwaiti royal family to visit Yemen and lobby on their behalf.

“Although the tender process itself lacked transparency and failed to meet international standards, the fact that DPI won the contract may indicate that, at the highest levels, the ROYG (Republic of Yemen Government) is beginning to see the danger of allowing parochial interests to tank Yemen’s economic prospects,” wrote Krajeski.

“Yemen’s institutions remain weak and implementing important political and economic reforms is still ultimately decided according to the President’s whims,” he added, noting that the decision was the best business choice for the country.

Workers at the Aden port did not agree with the ambassador, however. When DPI took over the port in 2008, the Labor Union Committee went on strike to protest new conditions in the workers’ contract that they claimed were “unjust and do not protect their rights.”

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