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Iraq anti-corruption body forms high commission to probe major cases

Chairman of the Iraqi Commission of Integrity, Judge Izzat Tawfiq Jaafar [Twitter]
Chairman of the Iraqi Commission of Integrity, Judge Izzat Tawfiq Jaafar [Twitter]

The Iraqi Commission of Integrity (Nazaha) yesterday announced the formation of a Supreme Commission to investigate "major" corruption cases in the country.

Nazaha's head, Judge Haidar Hanoun, issued an order to form the Higher Commission for Combating Corruption to investigate major and important corruption cases, a statement released by the body said.

Hanoun will head the newly-formed commission, which will include the directors of investigation and recovery departments in the commission, in addition to a number of its investigators.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Mohammed Al-Sudani described corruption as "a serious threat to the Iraqi state, more dangerous than all the threats that passed to Iraq over the past period."

Since taking office, Al-Sudani has dismissed or arrested several officials on corruption charges.

Days after his appointment last month, authorities initiated an investigation into the theft of $2.5 billion from the General Tax Authority's accounts in the government-run Rafidain Bank, and arrest warrants were issued against those involved.

READ: Iraq dismantles the largest oil smuggling network in Basra 

Although corruption has infiltrated the majority of government institutions, court rulings are rarely taken in cases involving middle level officials in the country.

According to official figures published in 2020, mismanagement in Iraq was the reason behind the disappearance of more than $415 billion over nearly 20 years, a third of which was smuggled outside the country.

The United Nations envoy to Iraq, Jeanine Plasschaert, said in October that rampant corruption represents a root cause of dysfunction in Iraq. "Frankly, no leader can claim to be protected from it," she added.

Iraq ranks 157 out of 180 on Transparency International's Corruption Perception index.

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