Iraqi Committee Member: 'Major Legal Breach' in Russia Arms Deal

Article Summary
An Iraqi parliamentary committee will soon announce its findings in an investigation of a widely-publicized $4 billion arms deal with Russia, writes Jawdat Kazem.

The spokesman for the Iraqi committee charged with investigating the Russian arms deal, State of Law coalition MP Adnan al-Shahmani, said that "the results of the investigation will be announced today.” Meanwhile, a committee member said that there was a big difference between the price of the deal [and that which was previously announced], a difference that could amount to a billion dollars.

Shahmani added during a news conference held in the parliament yesterday [Dec. 25] that "the committee had completed its investigations into the Russian arms deal,” and pointed out that "it decided to announce its findings during the parliamentary session to be held tomorrow [Dec. 26].”

The arms deal between Iraq and Russia has raised apprehensions that it is rife with financial corruption due to the interference of some Iraqi and Russian agents and figures. The deal is worth $4.2 billion, and it includes helicopters and surface-to-air missiles.

For his part, a member of the Integrity Committee MP Talal al-Zawbai said in a statement to Al-Hayat that "the committee charged with preparing a report on the Russian arms deal will vote on the report containing the names of the figures involved in this deal."

He stressed that "the committee's conclusions have yet to be finalized because we are still waiting for some answers from the prime minister, not to mention that involved parties from outside Iraq refused to undergo interrogation about the deal.

"Despite these shortcomings, the committee has reached important results that will be announced. According to these results, for example, there is a difference or a reduction in price, amounting to a 9% to 30% decrease, or more than a billion dollars. This means that there is a big difference between the price quote from the first delegation that went to Russia to sign the deal and the price quote of the second delegation, which concluded the same deal at a 30% lower cost," he added.

He said, "There is a major legal breach in the deal, as the quoted price does not meet the real cost of the weapons to be imported. The minister is entitled to sign a deal worth $100 million, whereas the deal is worth more than $4 billion, and this is a clear breach of law.

"The committee was supposed to announce its final report yesterday, but most of the members agreed to postpone the announcement in order to finish up some details," he added.

Found in: weapons, security, russian, iraqi parliament, iraq, government, corruption

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