ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has referred 15 current and former Iraqi officials to the integrity commission on charges of corruption, two sources confirmed on Tuesday.
Earlier in the day, Abadi referred many former ministers and senior officials to the nation’s integrity commission, which investigates graft, “against the background of corruption in the contracts of schools lagging in several provinces.”
Ihsan al-Shammari, head of the Center for Political Thought and a close associate of Abadi, said 15 Iraqi officials, including ministers, were referred to the Commission on suspicion of being involved in corruption.
Corruption in Iraq’s education system and its schools in general dates back to the years after 2005.
The case involving corruption with school contracts includes three ministers and 12 general managers, including managers in private banks, Shammari stated on his Facebook page.
The three ministers are former Education Minister Mohammed al-Tamimi, former Minister of Housing and Construction Mohammed al-Darraji, and former Minister of Industry and Minerals Ahmed Karbouli, an Iraqi lawmaker close to Abadi revealed to Kurdistan 24.
Kurdistan 24 could not reach any of the former ministers for comment. Meanwhile, the names of the general managers and those in the private banks were not accessible.
Without elaborating, Shammari said Abadi would refer further files to the Integrity Commission.
Despite the ongoing protests in central and southern provinces, corruption continues to swallow the nation’s resources since the end of Saddam Hussein’s dictatorial reign in 2003.
Iraq, OPEC’s second-largest oil producer, ranks high on Transparency International’s Corruption Index as corruption and mismanagement in state institutions are the most significant challenges the country has faced since the fall of the former regime nearly 15 years ago.
In 2017, Iraq ranked 166 out of 176 on the Transparency Index, making it one of the most corrupt countries in the world.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany