ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraq has issued arrest warrants for 11 ministers and minister-level officials suspected of being involved in corruption, Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi asserted on Tuesday.
His comment came during a press conference in Baghdad, where he stated that a total of 1,267 corruption cases have been sent to the courts in the last six months, with 4,117 other cases across different government institutions still being investigated.
Abdul-Mahdi noted that 1,593 arrest warrants had been issued against individuals suspected of corruption, 497 of which were arrested by local authorities. He added that arrest warrants had also been issued against 11 ministers and ministerial-level officials as well as 15 general-directors and similar individuals.
The Prime Minister’s speech was delivered one day after he met with the head of the Iraqi Supreme Judicial Council, Fayeq Zidan, who called on the Iraqi Parliament to lift the immunity of lawmakers suspected of being involved in corruption before being elected as members of parliament.
Successive Iraqi federal governments have not been able to put an end to corruption. The current government, who ran on a reformist platform, continued to struggle to address the widespread mismanagement of public funds while facing strong resistance from within its own institutions.
Iraq has one of the world’s largest oil reserves and is the second-largest oil producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). However, its citizens suffer from extreme poverty and high unemployment rates.
The embattled Middle Eastern nation continues to rank high on Transparency International’s list for corruption, fraud, and mismanagement of state institutions, some of the most significant challenges facing the country since the fall of the former regime in 2003.
According to the organization’s 2018 Corruption Index, Iraq ranks 168th, the 12th most corrupt country out of a total of 180.
Editing by Nadia Riva