Tag Archive | "Corruption"

The latest corruption news from Iraq – company or government bribes, theft, stealing – brought to you by Iraq Business News

Corruption Plagues Iraqi TV, Film Industry

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

Each year, Arab TV stations compete to buy and broadcast dramatic productions from Egypt, Syria and Gulf counties. Yet, there is no demand for Iraqi drama, which is limited to local TV channels.

It is a bitter reality for the Iraqi TV and film industry, over which concerned parties are in constant disagreement.

The dilemma is complex enough to make it hard to determine the exact problem. The industry’s players blame each other for its deterioration and loss of identity, and the issue has been widely discussed in the media.

Some actors blame the producers and writers, while the writers hold the producers responsible and others blame the film directors. As for the directors, they distance themselves from this responsibility, and believe that the rest of the key parties in the TV and film industry should be held responsible for its deterioration.

During a seminar on the condition of Iraqi drama held in Damascus March 20, 2010, film director Hassan Hosni identified six reasons for the deterioration of Iraqi TV and film production that did not include directing.

Although everyone agrees that poor production is a major problem, the Al-Iraqiya TV channel, the biggest producer of Iraqi drama, seems indifferent to what is being said. In fact, it celebrates what has been achieved so far.

A number of major artists have found themselves forced to withdraw from the scene in protest, to boycott the current industry. Others preferred to emigrate and some prominent screenwriters, such as Farooq Mohammed, Hamed al-Maliki and Ahmed Hatef, stopped writing. Maliki told Al-Monitor that he has been living off his personal savings since he made this decision.

These figures’ withdrawal from the scene is not contributing to resolving the problem, but may instead exacerbate it by leaving only beginners and inexperienced people.

Posted in Security, Telecoms/CommsComments (0)

Afren Dismisses CEO, COO and Assoc Dirs

By John Lee.

Afren announced today that Willkie Farr & Gallagher (UK) LLP (WFG) has completed its independent review into the receipt of unauthorised payments by members of management and senior employees.

In connection with the conclusion of this review, the company has decided to terminate the employment and directorships of Osman Shahenshah and Shahid Ullah with immediate effect.

The decision to terminate the employment and directorships of Mr Shahenshah and Mr Ullah for gross misconduct was based on evidence identified by WFG of breaches by Mr Shahenshah and Mr Ullah of their obligations to Afren as employees and directors, in particular the receipt of unauthorised payments from third parties.

The Board has instructed counsel to commence legal proceedings against Mr Shahenshah and Mr Ullah, if necessary, to recover sums in respect of such unauthorised payments.

In connection with the review, the Board has also decided to terminate the employment of the Associate Directors, Iain Wright and Galib Virani with immediate effect. Each of Mr Wright and Mr Virani received payments in breach of the Company’s approved remuneration policy and the Company will seek to recover of such sums.

The Board has commenced an executive search for the replacement of senior executives and an update on this will be provided in due course. Egbert Imomoh remains Executive Chairman and Toby Hayward Interim-CEO.

The company has issued a separate announcement today containing more detail regarding WFG’s independent review into the receipt of unauthorised payments by members of management and senior employees and whether certain previous transactions should have been announced in accordance with the requirements of the Listing Rules.

The company will make the results of the review by WFG available to the FCA.

(Source: Afren)

Posted in Oil & Gas, SecurityComments (0)

$Billions Reconstruction Money Stolen

By John Lee.

Stuart Bowen, the former Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR), has  claimed that between $1.2 billion [1.4 trillion Iraqi dinars] and $1.6 billion [IQD 1.9 trillion] allocated for the reconstruction of Iraq was stolen and hidden in a bunker in Lebanon, as the American and Iraqi governments ignored appeals to recover the money.

He told journalist James Risen, who interviewed him for a book, Pay Any Price: Greed, Power and Endless War, that the stash accounted for a significant part of the huge sums that vanished from the original airlift of $12-to-$14 bilion.

In an excerpt from the book published by the New York Times, Bowen said:

“Billions of dollars have been taken out of Iraq over the last 10 years illegally. In this investigation, we thought we were on the track for some of that lost money. It’s disappointing to me personally that we were unable to close this case, for reasons beyond our control.”

Bowen said his investigators briefed the CIA and the FBI on what they found, but he believed one reason American officials had not gone after it was “because it was Iraqi money stolen by Iraqis.

(Source: New York Times, The Guardian)

Posted in Banking & Finance, SecurityComments (1)

Soldiers Pay Money not to Fight

This article was originally published by Niqash. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

The ‘Astronaut’ Problem: Iraqi Soldiers Who Pay Money To Officers So They Don’t Fight

The Iraqi army is suffering badly from what locals describe as the “astronaut phenomenon”. That is, soldiers who pay money to superior officers so they can leave the world of the military and stay out of danger, far from the battle field. This means that sometimes when a general sends a battalion to fight, only half the soldiers are there. And recently, with attacks by extremists, this phenomenon has been getting worse.

Last week a confidential meeting was hosted by Iraq’s Parliamentary committee on security and defence and one of the guests was Rasheed Flaih, the Lieutenant General who is in charge of the Iraqi army’s operations in the province of Anbar.

At the September 27 meeting the military men and politicians discussed the ever-increasing absence of soldiers from their units in the province.

“Participants in the meeting discussed the number of different sieges of the Iraqi army in the Anbar area and how many soldiers were being killed by members of the terrorist organisation, the Islamic State,” one of those who attended the meeting told NIQASH on condition of anonymity.

“Also discussed was the fact that there had been an increase in the number of Iraqi soldiers who were leaving areas where they could expect to see action – such as the provinces Anbar, Salahaddin and Diyala. This means that there are fewer than expected soldiers on the battlefields,” the source said.

One of the incidents mentioned was from earlier in September, when fighters from the Sunni Muslim extremist group, the Islamic State, or IS, had managed to besiege an Iraqi army base and after cutting off their supply lines, launched an assault on the base. Although reports vary, it seems that most of the thousand or soldiers at the base may have been captured or killed. Only around 200 managed to escape.

Posted in SecurityComments (1)

“Financial Corruption” in Reconciliation Project

By John Lee.

Iraqi Parliament Advisor for National Reconciliation, ex-MP Wihda al-Jumaili, has told Aswat Al Iraq that “financial corruption” was discovered in the use of funds allocated to the National Reconciliation Project.

She added that “despite spending much money, the project is not alive”.

Jumaili said that great amounts of money were spent during the past ten year that turned into “political money” that was spent as “bribes” in some cases.

(Source: Aswat Al Iraq)

(Corruption image via Shutterstock)

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Iraq Loses Oil-for-Food Lawsuit

By John Lee.

According to a report from Reuters, a US federal appeals court has rejected Iraq’s effort to sue dozens of companies for allegedly conspiring with the Saddam Hussein regime to subvert the United Nations’ oil-for-food programme and deprive Iraqi citizens of humanitarian aid.

The court said Iraq’s government could not recoup damages under a U.S. anti-racketeering law over Hussein’s effort to defraud the U.N. programme, despite repudiating that effort and his regime’s legitimacy.

More than 80 companies, subsidiaries and affiliates were named as defendants in the 2008 lawsuit over the $64.2 billion (£39.1 billion) oil-for-food programme, which ran from 1996 to 2003 and was designed to help citizens hurt by international trade sanctions.

Among the defendants were the French bank BNP Paribas; Swiss engineering company ABB; U.S. oil company Chevron; British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline and German electronics company Siemens.

(Source: Reuters)

(Court image via Shutterstock)

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Khalilzad Bank Account Unfrozen

By John Lee.

A bank account belonging to Zalmay Khalilzad, the former U.S. envoy to Iraq, and another belonging to his wife, Cheryl Benard, have been unfrozen by the high court in Vienna, Austria.

According to a report from Bloomberg, the the accounts were unfrozen on 3rd September, a week before reports that the U.S. authorities were investigating him for suspected money laundering.

The couple criticized Austrian authorities’ ability to “unlawfully restrain” them from accessing their accounts.

Khalilzad is said to have transferred $1.4 million to his wife’s bank account in Vienna, money that allegedly came from oil and building contracts in Iraq and the United Arab Emirates that violated U.S. laws.

(Source: Bloomberg)

Posted in Banking & Finance, SecurityComments Off

Fmr US Ambassador Suspected of Money Laundering

By John Lee.

Bloomberg reports that A US probe into alleged money laundering by former Ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad (pictured), has led Austrian authorities to freeze a Vienna bank account linked to him.

Khalilzad allegedly transferred $1.4 million to a bank account owned by his wife, Cheryl Benard, in Vienna. According to reports, the money came from oil and building contracts in Iraq and the United Arab Emirates that allegedly violated U.S. laws.

The documents alleging the misconduct were said to be part of a cache of sensitive papers retrieved from a garbage bin earlier this year by a Vienna-based blogger.

Khalilzad sits on the board of Dubai-based RAK Petroleum, which operates in Iraq.

(Source: Bloomberg)

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