Iraq's Odious Debts

Iraq reports corruption epidemic

Jon Leyne, BBC correspondent in Baghdad
British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
June 27, 2005

There is massive corruption in most Iraqi government ministries as a legacy of Saddam Hussein’s era, the Iraqi anti-corruption commission has said.

Arrest warrants on fraud charges have been issued for two former ministers in the Iraqi interim government.

One ex-minister denied the charges and the second could not be contacted.

The Commission on Public Integrity has proposed increasing salaries for public employees to help tackle the problem.

Its spokesman said the problem of corruption had been made worse by the power vacuum over the past two years.

The Commission began work just under a year ago, trying to root out corruption.

It has already issued warrants against 44 Iraqi government employees, including two former ministers.

Family ties

But its spokesman, Ali al-Shabot, said that most government ministries still suffered from massive corruption.

Amongst the abuses he cited were employees awarding contracts to relatives.

The two ministers who have been accused are the former transport minister and the former labour minister.

The charges include mismanagement, waste of public funds and using their positions for personal gain.

The former labour minister, Layla Abdul Lateef, has denied wrongdoing. The former transport minister, Louay Hatem al-Eris, is out of the country.

A judge has threatened to contact Interpol to try to force him to return.

The Commission on Public Integrity is also going to suggest the setting up of a public integrity academy.

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