ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Iraqi Commission of Integrity on Monday issued a statement, announcing the activities and measures it took in November regarding the issuance of arrest and interrogation warrants against Iraqi officials, both those who now hold office and those who previously held office.
Iraq continues to rank high on Transparency International’s list for corruption, fraud, and mismanagement of state institutions. Second only to the violence in the country (which has abated for now), these are some of the most significant challenges that Iraq has faced, since the US-led overthrow in 2003 of Saddam Hussein’s regime.
Iraq’s endemic corruption has caused many problems, including the poor provision of government services to large parts of the country. Two major demands of the protests, which began in October, are an end to government corruption and improved services.
As the Commission of Integrity stated, it has issued arrest and interrogation warrants against 226 high ranking officials, including ministers, on charges of corruption.
Specifically, the Commission explained that it ordered the investigation of nine ministers, among them, two who are serving now; five from the previous cabinet; and two who were in the cabinet prior to that one.
The interrogation orders also include twelve members in the Council of Representatives. Ten are currently members of parliament, while the other two were previously members of parliament.
The commission also issued arrest orders for the current governor of Babylon province and another eleven provincial figures who no longer hold office. Nation-wide, the arrest warrants “included 118 provincial council members and 37 former members.”
“The arrest and interrogation warrants involved 32 Director-Generals, 19 of whom hold positions in the current cabinet, including in the ministries of Oil, Electricity, Education, Health, Industry, and Religious Affairs, while the other 13 served in the previous government in the Ministries of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Transportation,” the statement added.
The Commission’s investigation office stated that a total of 256 orders were issued, 221 interrogation orders and 35 arrest warrants.
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, poor government services, and high unemployment rates.
Editing by Laurie Mylroie