Iraq's Odious Debts

Iraqi anti-corruption head says graft worse than in Saddam’s time

Deutsche Presse-Agentur
March 8, 2007

Corruption in Iraq is now worse than it was during Saddam Hussein’s
regime, the Chairman of Iraq’s Commission on Public Integrity (CPI),
Radhi Hamza al-Radhi, said in an interview published by the
Arabic-language Asharq Alawsat newspaper.

“There are eight ministers and 40 general directors against whom
corruption charges have been brought and they [have] all fled abroad,”
he said.

According to Al-Radhi, the commission was currently investigating the embezzlement of public funds to the tune of US$8 billion.

Independent observers in Baghdad report that it is very difficult to
find an official who will discharge a public service without a bribe.

Al-Radhi conceded that the authority itself has been found guilty of corruption on several occasions.

The problems which the commision had experienced were not of the magnitude that its critics had claimed, he said.

The CPI was established in January 2003 by the now disbanded Iraqi
Interim Governing Council to curb bribery, embezzlement, and the misuse
of power and public funds.

The latest corruption ranking by Transparency International has placed Iraq as the fourth most corrupt country in the world. [PDFver here]

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