ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraq's Commission of Integrity called up 350 public sector directors and employees in the Diyala Governorate for investigation on charges of corruption.
The commission issued directives at the beginning of November, barring the persons of interest from international travel and suspending them from their duties until the end of the investigation.
According to a local news outlet, the list of the accused contains four directors and dozens of employees from the disputed district of Khanaqin in the Diyala governorate, starting with the former director of the Khanaqin Municipality, the director of the agriculture bank, the director of housing records, and the director of the Rafidain Bank in the Jalawla sub-district.
One of the accused from Khanaqin who wished to remain anonymous said “according to article 331 of the Iraqi penal code, I have been accused now must await the court’s decision.” According to the article, if a civil servant is to neglect or unethically abuse his or her position, they can be issued a prison sentence, a fine, or both.
On Nov.11, in an announcement by the Iraqi commission of integrity, the head of the Diyala Governorate council and both of his deputies and the entirety of the council’s members (26 in total) were called up for investigation on charges of contravention to article 340 of the Iraqi penal code, which pertains to employees or officials abusing the resources available to them in their position. Violations of article 340 are punishable by prison for a period of no more than seven years.
A member of the provincial council also said that “the commission of integrity has become more active now with the effects of the recent protests in central and south of Iraq, especially with the threat of changes within the commission itself as they have been described as inactive and having turned a blind eye for years.”
Since demonstrations in Baghdad and other major Iraqi cities began in early October, at least 320 people have been killed on both sides and over 15,000 wounded amid a violent crackdown by security forces. International observers and human rights organizations have widely condemned the use of force.
Demonstrations continue as protesters are calling for an end to the economic woes of the public and a complete governmental overhaul amid shortages of public services, high rates of unemployment, and chronic institutional corruption.
Editing by Nadia Riva