Iraq’s Missing Money

By Walid Khoudouri for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraq is passing through a dangerous phase. There is a lot of waste and corruption and little transparency in state institutions. The security situation is deteriorating. And lately, there has been negative information about Iraqi officials responsible for the oil revenues during the last years. This has led to the dangerous situation that Iraq is [now] in.

It was shown that during the first week of May, the Iraqi parliament received, all at once, the final accounts of the eight years of the rule of former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for the 2006-13 period to “review and approve them.” This means that the previous years’ accounts had not been reviewed or approved. And parliament is now being asked to approve them all at once after Maliki lost the prime minister post.

The move to approve all the past years’ final accounts is considered an illegal act according to the norms of parliamentary systems and traditions. The main role of the legislative branch is to review and approve the previous year’s accounts, and then approve the new year’s budget submitted to parliament by the government or the executive branch. This is already provided for in the Iraqi constitution.

Earlier this year, parliament member Magda Tamimi declared that she was preparing studies indicating that hundreds of billions of dollars are missing from the state’s annual budgets during Maliki’s reign. Tamimi has access to state financial figures because she has been a member of the parliamentary Finance Committee during the current and previous sessions. She is conducting a study on corruption in state institutions.

State budgets for the years between 2006 and 2013 were submitted, but not the budget for 2014. This is not strange, since the parliament at the time did not agree on the 2014 budget. And there was no budget for that year, which means that it is not possible to calculate and audit the budget of that year.

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