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Iraqi officials sentenced to 7 years over corruption charges

Iraqi dinar banknotes [Ali Choukeir/AFP/Getty Images]
An Iraqi counts his dinar banknotes on 22 June 2017 [Ali Choukeir/AFP/Getty Images]

Iraq's Commission of Integrity yesterday sentenced two officials to seven years in prison over "misusing more than seven million dinars ($5.8 million) of public funds."

"Martyrs Foundation former board members have committed violations as the head of the expedition to renovate the temple of Agerguf, 30 kilometres west of the country's capital of Baghdad," the commission said in a statement.

The statement noted that the defendants had "intentionally" misused public funds and "abused their positions by committing multiple violations."

"After reviewing evidence, carrying out administrative investigations, checking a report by the state's Board of Financial Supervision, as well as the presumption of the convicts' escape, the commission issued a sentence in absentia to seven years in prison against the defendants in accordance with the provisions of Article 340 of the Penal Code," the statement read.

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The commission also said it had issued two arrest warrants against the defendants, and seized their assets.

The city where the temple was built, also called Agerguf, was established in the 14th century and is now best known for its 52-metre temple, built by the Kassites and later used by the Sumerians as a place of worship.

Corruption and mismanagement within Iraq's government institutions remain a severe challenge and primary obstacle to stability in the country. Recent national protests largely focused on the low standard of living caused by institutional corruption.

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