BAGHDAD (Reuters) – The Iraqi Integrity Commission announced in a statement Monday that $ 60 million had been lost nearly from the Nineveh province budget, stolen by officials close to the governor, Nawfal al-Akoub, before he was dismissed from his post after the sinking of the ” ferry of death ” in Mosul.
On April 11, the Commission announced the arrest of 14 officials and staff of the Nineveh governorate office, on charges of embezzlement and waste of state funds.
The Commission on Integrity revealed in its statement yesterday that officials close to the al- Akoub have acquired more than 76 billion Iraqi dinars (about 64 million dollars) “in the form of instruments or deposits in personal accounts in the form of cash.
“Of the original amount, about 45 billion Iraqi dinars (about $ 37 million) are from the province’s 2018 development funds,” said an official of the commission, who asked not to be identified.
In the context, member of the Parliamentary Integrity Commission , Deputy Kazem al-Shammari announced , that the Integrity Commission will begin to investigate files of corruption and tax evasion related to the Chinese company operating Ahdab oil field (180 km southeast of Baghdad), owed to the Iraqi Government of $ 180 million .
He explained in a statement: «We have documents to prove the process of corruption and tax evasion in the contract development of the Ahdab oil field , which is located in Wasit province, where the Chinese Waha Company and in cooperation with some influential in the Ministry of Oil and the General Authority for Taxation refrains from paying the financial dues it had .
He added: «The Inspector General of the Ministry of Oil, was provided with all the documents to start an urgent investigation of this file, which includes financial and administrative corruption and waste of public money».
On this basis, the Office of the Inspector General of the Ministry of Oil Hamdan Darraji announced, the adoption of a comprehensive strategy to fight corruption, stressing that it can stop overflow of public money and waste.
“The Office of the Inspector General of the Ministry of Oil has achieved many achievements at the level of planning and follow-up to address the corruption and irregularities that have been developed to face a comprehensive strategy and directly from the Inspector General.”
He added: “Perhaps one of the most outstanding achievements of the Office of the Inspector General of the Ministry of Oil for the first semester of 2019, was to stop overflow of public money and waste, and the total fines obtained from the violations of distribution outlets by the Office for the first semester of 2019 for the western and southern regions only, Slightly more than (1887658000) dollars ».
The Office explained that «the total amounts recommended for recovery by the Office in the southern region for the first term of 2019 from the South Oil Company, more than (3.5) million dollars, in addition to the amounts recommended for recovery amounted to (43) million dinars (35 thousand dollars) Almost, for irregularities in the distribution outlets of oil products in the southern region ».
He pointed out that «the total fines as a result of irregularities to distribution outlets for private stations and generators that were seized by the Division of the hotline for the province of Baghdad only amounted to more than (97) million dinars, about (80 thousand dollars) ».
The sinking of the ferry opened the files of corruption that were ravaging the devastated city after the war against the organization «ISIS », which was allocated a budget of $ (800) million dollars, but in spite of that, corruption remains prevalent in the country that occupies the rank of (12) on the list of the most corrupt countries in the world, and although the incident of the Ferry has brought back the issue of corruption of politicians to light again, none of them has not been brought to justice so far.
Iraq has suffered years of corruption spread in its institutions, and this corruption has caused during the past 15 years a loss of (228) billion dollars, went into the pockets of politicians and corrupt entrepreneurs, according to the Iraqi Council of Representatives, and this amount today is twice of the budget and more than the Country’s GDP.
Iraq’s war against corruption is more serious than the battle of terrorism. Corruption has major negative implications for Iraq’s development, including foreign investors to face heavy pressure on their businesses in the country , and that the link of corruption with Iraq has remained the focus of International institutions before the local and regional ones .
In 2017, Iraq ranked 169 out of 180 countries on Transparency International’s corruption index.
The Corruption Perception Index classifies countries and territories on the basis of the extent of corruption in their public sector.
Iraq reached the highest level of corruption in 2007, ranking (178), while recorded the lowest level in 2003, ranking (113).
Iraqi Studies Unit
Rawabet Center for Links and Strategic Studies