The level of corruption in Iraq came to light yesterday after it was announced that over two thousand arrest warrants were issued and more than $1 billion was recovered following successful anti-corruption trails.
The Iraqi Commission of Integrity, which was set up in 2004 by the Iraqi Governing Counci,l said “the arrest warrants issued last year concerning integrity cases amounted to 2,133 orders, of which 996 were executed.”
Reports in Arab sources say that the head of the commission, Hassan Al-Yasiri, revealed that individuals snagged in the anti-corruption charge included government minister.
Al-Yasiri confirmed that 17 ministers were arrested and a further 273 officials and mangers were seized by Iraqi officials.
“The total amount recovered was more than one trillion and 305 billion dinars (more than $1 billion),” said Yasiri.
Iraq is among the world’s most corrupt countries, according to the Transparency International Index, over the past years.
Corruption is one of Iraq’s main challenges. According to the UK-based International Centre for Development Studies, $120 billion simply disappeared during the term of office of former Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki.
The country has made efforts to tackle the problem but it is so pervasive that one of Iraq’s anti-corruption leaders, Mishan Al-Jabouri, complained that there is no solution. “Everybody is corrupt, from the top of society to the bottom, everyone, including me.”
Last Thursday, Iraq handed over former trade minister Abdul Falah Al-Sudani, an international police officer in Beirut, who was accused of embezzling state funds.
According to the Iraqi Integrity Commission, a number of former ministers are wanted on charges of corruption, but fled abroad.
They included the former ministers of electricity Ayham Al-Samarrai, defence Hazim Al-Shaalan, trade Abdul-Falah Al-Sudani and transport Louay Al-Ors.
Prime Minister Haidar Al-Abadi, who took office in 2014, pledged to fight rampant corruption in the country’s constituencies, which people have been protesting for year.