Kurdistan Region sentences 41 public servants to prison for corruption

The Kurdistan Regional Government's (KRG) Commission of Integrity on Tuesday announced that 41 public servants accused of financial and administrative corruption had been sentenced to prison.

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan Regional Government's (KRG) Commission of Integrity on Tuesday announced that 41 public servants accused of financial and administrative corruption had been sentenced to prison.

Musher Rashid, Director General of the commission's legal department said in a press conference, "There are currently 130 cases of corruption at the specialized courts of law, 55 cases go back to the previous years and haven't been settled yet." He added that "75 of the total cases were referred to the judicial system this year."

In the statement, Rashid also mentioned that out of the 75 cases of corruption in the courts of law, 41 were found guilty and sentenced to prison, while 34 of the accused were released after the trials.

"59 of the corruption cases are from Erbil governorate, 43 from Sulaimani governorate, and 24 cases are from Duhok," added Rashid.

Anti-corruption efforts remain one of the primary calls from citizens in the Kurdistan Region and Iraq.

In early December, the commission announced that, since 2016, it had referred 737 corruption cases to court and prevented the loss of 17.79 billion IQD (just under $15 million) from the government's revenue. 

Read More: Kurdistan Integrity Commission: 737 corruption cases since 2016

The figures were released in a statement by the commission's chairman, Ahmed Anwar. Since 2014, he said, the body had also investigated 523 high-ranking officials, including ministers and lawmakers, and worked on 83 cases that involved governors, director-generals, and advisors.

The commission estimates that 423.29 billion IQD ($355.7 million) has been lost to corruption in the Kurdistan Region since 2016.

The Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region, Masrour Barzani, has often stated that fighting corruption is a top priority of his cabinets' plan, arguing that corruption damages the economy and undermines people's belief in the region.

Over the past few years, senior Kurdish leaders have repeatedly stressed that combating corruption is no less important than the fight against the so-called Islamic State.

Editing by John J. Catherine