ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The governor of Iraq’s oil rich city of Basra has allegedly fled to Iran amid allegations of corruption, Iraqi officials said on Tuesday.
Majid al-Nasrawi stepped down from his role as governor of Basra before fleeing to neighboring Iran, according to Reuters.
Nasrawai is the highest ranking public figure to be investigated for alleged corruption since Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi was elected in 2014.
On Monday, Iraq’s Integrity Commission issued a statement calling on the foreign ministry in Baghdad to contact Iran and ask them to repatriate Nasrawi.
A politician close to the accused governor said the claims against him were “politically motivated” by rivals, Reuters reported.
“He can travel wherever he likes as long as there are no legal obstacles,” said the politician, whose remarks confirmed Nasrawi had left for Iran.
Nasrawi is accused of grafts linked to contracts for projects to construct and develop services in the city.
Upon announcing his resignation on Thursday, Nasrawi said he had no faith in Iraq’s justice system, according to local media reports.
“I ask all the people of Basra to clear my name of these allegations so that I can return to my duty,” he said.
Nasrawi allegedly agreed to “work with the parliamentary authorities” regarding the corruption investigation but fled the country on Friday despite a travel ban being issued against him.
Meanwhile, the Iraqi Judiciary Council on Wednesday filed an arrest warrant against Anbar governor Suhaib al-Rawi over corruption charges.
Rawi was due in court but failed to attend the hearing and even recently attended the ceremony of a border crossing opening between Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
Editing by Ava Homa