Skip to main content

Iraq's corruption continues unchecked

Corruption involving public contracts has become prevalent in Iraq since 2003 and is difficult to stop because government officials are benefitting from it.
Labourers work at a construction site in Karrad district in Baghdad April 3, 2013. Thanks to a partial improvement of security and an oil boom, Iraqis' average incomes are rising sharply, and they are able to save more. But many of these savings are not being channelled into the stock market, where they could earn returns, or even into bank deposits, where they could be lent on to companies for fresh investment. Instead, they are going into real estate. REUTERS/Mohammed Ameen (IRAQ - Tags: BUSINESS REAL EST
Read in 

BAGHDAD — An Iraqi contractor who works on road pavement and sewage projects in the Iraqi capital told Al-Monitor, “Government officials as well as senior contractors related to them have stakes in most, if not all, of Iraq’s construction projects, which are sold to executing contractors at a price that guarantees their implementation with the minimum level of specifications and at the lowest cost.” Speaking on condition of anonymity, he said, “This revelation is not a secret. It is a fact that the people, government officials and the media continuously talk about.” The contractor's assertion was supported by a statement issued by Baghdad province Jan. 19, reporting that 42 people had been referred to the Commission on Public Integrity for corrupt practices involving projects in Baghdad.

Bahaa al-Shammari, a civil engineer who has worked on several reconstruction projects, told Al-Monitor, “It's not just about financial corruption, but administrative corruption and circumvention of the law as well. Officials are resorting to their relatives and friends by registering companies in their names for form’s sake when these companies do not have skilled technicians or mechanisms. With the help of officials, [the companies] sign a contract to rebuild a school, for example, and they carry out the projects either by selling it to another contractor or by recruiting workers and developing mechanisms. This ultimately leads to failed projects.”

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.