Iraq Investigates Corrupt Ministers

Iraq’s Integrity Committee vowed to launch full-scale investigations into the ministries of electricity, interior and defense, writes Omar Sattar. In 2008, $7 billion was squandered on power generators that remain unused. 

al-monitor An employee works in a store selling generators in Iraq.  Photo by REUTERS/Mohammed Ameen.

Topics covered

mahdi wardi, aziz al-ugaili, ministry of electricity, ministry of interior, ministry of defense, iraqi list, iraq, corruption, baghdad

Jul 8, 2012

Iraq's Integrity Committee pledged to launch a full-scale investigation into major "corruption" cases involving the ministries of defense, interior and electricity and billions of dollars that were squandered from the public budget.

"I demanded the Integrity Committee to investigate three major corruption cases in the ministries of electricity, defense and interior. The corruption cases will be addressed and revealed in the next parliamentary session," said Aziz al-Ugaili, a member of the Committee to Al-Hayat.

He added that "the Committee uncovered widespread corruption within the Ministry of Electricity. In 2008, the ministry signed a roughly $7 billion deal to acquire power generators. Since that date, these generators have been left unused in the provinces of Basra and Nasiriya. Meanwhile. the ministry continues to acquire similar electricity units."

"The former minister of power, Karim Wahid, was accused in this case. The general inspector of the ministry will also be interrogated because apparently, the generator contracts were a scheme . It seems that the ministry made an agreement with the manufacturer to purchase the generators, but the contracts did not include anything about installing or operating them."

"The Ministry of Electricity sought the services of other companies to operate the generators. These companies demanded large sums of money, and they found the power generators in very bad conditions."

“The interior and defense ministries will also be under investigation, particularly regarding the two deals for the Ukrainian and Canadian aircraft and Bulgarian tanks," said Ugaili.

On July 4, the Ministry of Defense announced the arrival of the first military transport plane, which was one out of six total aircraft that the ministry agreed to purchase from Ukraine. The deal stipulated that the remaining aircraft would be delivered in mid-2012, at a cost of $99 million.

Ugaili added that the Integrity Committee "has prepared a list of the names of the incompetent ministers and governors to be interrogated during the current legislative session, as required by parliament."

Ugaili refused to reveal the names of those involved, adding, "The incompetent officials are those who have spent more than 75 percent of the amounts allocated to them from the 2011 budget."

In the same vein, Iraqi List MP Mahdi Wardi said that the rate of financial and administrative corruption in this year's budget has reached 80 percent in the country's central and southern regions, and 30 percent in the Kurdistan region.

"Our officials have become experts in financial corruption. Trillions of dollars were squandered in the Ministry of Finance under the pretext of completing five projects. These projects, however, are imaginary and have never been materialized," said the MP.

Wardi added, "The budget's allocations would have bolstered the country to a large extent. However, the high rate of administrative corruption, the waste of public money, poor planning and the inappropriate disbursement of funds resulted in the failure of projects in construction and other sectors."

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