Tag Archive | "Corruption"

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

Breaking the Corruption Chain


On Tuesday, the world commemorated the International Anti Corruption Day.

On that Day, 9 December, 11 years ago, the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), was first opened for signature and adoption by Member States of the United Nations, in Mexico.

The Convention named the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) as the custodian of UNCAC. UNODC has been working with Member States to adopt UNCAC’s measures, strengthen their national laws, build their national consensus and capacities to fight corruption.

A decade after its adoption, UNCAC stands out as the most relevant legally binding treaty, the universal foundation for countering and preventing corruption around the world. Many concrete steps have been taken by the global community to fight corruption and much has been achieved. Yet, much more remains to be done.

Corruption remains a complex phenomenon affecting countries across social, political and economic boundaries. Fighting corruption in all its forms, such as bribery, embezzlement, extortion, or trading in influence, nepotism, etc., remains a priority for Iraq, for UNODC, and the international community.

In the Middle East and North Africa, following the political transformations in the region initiated by popular demands for transparency and justice, countries have progressed in reforming the judiciary, governance and law enforcement. Notable increase in citizen participation to fight and report corrupt practices has been witnessed and businesses have taken action to boost their ethical behavior and procurement rules.

UNODC Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa has been working with national partners in the region, and through the technical assistance of UNODC, countries in the MENA region have been steadily implementing the principles and values enshrined in the Convention. Our joint efforts stemming from the Regional Programme that all Arab countries have endorsed, have lead to adoption and implementation of a number of anti corruption strategies across the region, to enhanced capacities of specialized anti corruption bodies, has promoted the criminal justice responses to investigation, prosecution and adjudication of serious corruption cases and has fostered inter agency and international cooperation in criminal matters and recovery of stolen assets.

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Iraq Improves Transparency Ranking (Slightly)


By John Lee.

Transparency International has said that Iraq has risen one place in its global Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI).

From at total of 175 countries, Iraq came in at number 170, slightly better than last year’s position of 171.

This result puts it ahead of countries such as Afghanistan, South Sudan, and Somalia (which came last), and just behind Libya, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

Denmark came first, again, followed by New Zealand, Finland and Sweden.

The Corruption Perceptions Index is a composite index, drawing on corruption-related data collected by a variety of reputable institutions.

(Corruption image via Shutterstock)

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Maliki’s Son “Arrested” in Lebanon


By John Lee.

The son of former Iraqi Prime Minister and current Vice President Nouri al-Maliki has reportedly been arrested in Lebanon in possession of more than US $1.5 billion “in cash”.

BasNews cites Lebanese media sources as claiming that Ahmed al-Maliki is being detained in a prison on Beirut, and that Nouri al-Maliki has travelled to Lebanon in the hope of securing his release.

Security sources in Lebanon claim that Ahmed received the money via an Iraqi bank that transferred it to a Lebanese bank for him, and that the total received since the beginning of 2014 was about three billion US dollars (3.6 trillion Iraqi dinars).

(Source: BasNews)

(Dollars image via Shutterstock)

Posted in Politics, SecurityComments (18)

Army ‘had 50,000 Ghost Troops’ on Payroll


By John Lee.

An investigation into corruption in the Iraqi army has revealed 50,000 false names on its payroll.

Known in the military as “ghost soldiers”, they either did not exist or no longer reported for duty, but their salaries were still being paid, according to a report from BBC News.

It is thought that the salaries were siphoned off by corrupt officers; the Prime Minister’s office said the payments have now been stopped.

Rampant corruption in the Iraqi army is seen as one of the reasons why Iraq has struggled to contain Islamic State militants.

(Source: BBC News)

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Addressing Corruption Just One Part of Security


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

Talk of reforming the military and security institutions is no longer internal to Iraq, but is now an international demand that has attracted the attention of US Secretary of State John Kerry and French President Francois Hollande.

It has also been mentioned by retired Gen. John Allen, the coordinator of the international coalition against the Islamic State (IS).

The demand for military and security reform is not only an Iraqi interest.

It is also a Kurdish one, as Iraqi Kurdistan President Massoud Barzani has stated to Al-Monitor the need to reform both the military and security institutions.

This need is championed by Sunni political figures, particularly parliament Speaker Salim al-Jabouri. Security and military reforms also figure prominently in the demands of Shiite politicians such as Ammar al-Hakim and Muqtada al-Sadr.

The supreme religious authority, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, has also called for reform and considers the move a necessary step.

All of these examples suggest that the Iraqi military and security institutions need genuine, well-examined and systematic reform that is agreed upon by Iraqis, despite the differences over the possible methods.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has already begun making a series of changes in the two institutions, by removing and excluding a number of commanders and appointing others. This move has received unprecedented local and international support.

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Weekly Security Update, 25 November – 01 December 2014


PM Abadi’s political manoeuvres continued to lead to a number of dismissals within key ministries. On 01 December, the Prime Minister retired 24 senior Interior Ministry officials as part of government restructuring. This decision comes as central authorities uncovered an estimated 50,000 ‘ghost soldiers’ on the military payroll, prompting the government to take steps towards tackling corruption and patronage. In another development detaching Abadi from his predecessor and current VP Nouri al-Maliki, Baghdad reached a deal on oil exports with Kurdistan, potentially ending years of disputes related to trade and budget. Under the new agreement, both regions would export through Iraq’s national oil company, SOMO, while the Kurds will keep 17% of Iraq’s budget expenditure and take a seat on SOMO’s board. As Iraq continues to be confronted by the threat posed by ISIS, rising violence has forced the country to work towards resolving long-lasting disputes and choose compromise over divisions on a number of issues. After suffering major territorial losses over the previous weeks, ISIS renewed its assaults in the North, in a probable bid to force a relocation of ISF resources away from the frontlines where insurgents have been compelled to abandon their positions, particularly in Diyala. This tactic should be sustained and lead to an increased in clashes reported in Salahuddin, where militant assaults on Baiji and Balad have been witnessed, and areas in the vicinity of Kirkuk.

North

Clearing operations continue in Diyala, while ISIS engage Peshmerga forces in a number of locations in Nineveh, Salahuddin and Kirkuk. On 26 November, Peshmerga forces recaptured the village of Tal Ward, between Kirkuk and Hawija, which had briefly fallen to militants as ISIS multiplies attempts at distracting Iraqi and Kurdish forces from other locations. Clashes also occurred in Baiji, where insurgents are still in control of the town’s outskirts. On 30 November, ISIS launched an attack on Balad, north of Baghdad, which was repelled by a force of ISF and Shia volunteers. Fighting was also reported between Peshmerga soldiers and militants near the Mosul dam, in a possible move to delay a planned Kurdish assault on Sinjar. Assaults, such as the one witnessed in Kirkuk which led Kurdish authorities to allocate reinforcements, are likely to be aimed at destabilising the conduct of ISF clearing operations, forced to rethink their priorities and organisation. This strategy is expected to be repeated over the next weeks, ensuring that direct clashes between ISIS and Iraqi forces continue to increase.

Central

As previously assessed, the focus of ISIS on operations in the North and Anbar continued to translate into a decrease in levels of violence in Baghdad, with no car bombs reported. The fiercest clashes reported in Anbar continued to occur in the vicinity Ramadi, where ISIS have allocated most of their resources. Fighting was witnessed west of Anbar’s capital, in Huz district, as well as in districts near Hit. As Ramadi remains the focal point of both ISIS and the Iraqi army, ISF forces reportedly made advances east of the city, while airstrikes continue to target ISIS vehicles converging on the battlefield. ISIS’s continued freedom of movement in the area, despite the sending of reinforcements and ammunition from Baghdad, continued to translate in high-impact incidents. On 30 November, a VBIED detonated in the Sajariya area of Ramadi, injuring three ISF soldiers. Meanwhile, an increase in Shia militant activity in the capital translated into a number of incidents and further demonstrated the autonomy currently enjoyed by Shia brigades. On 25 November, a group of gunmen stormed a house in Sadr City, killing three individuals. Levels of violence in the capital are expected to remain below average over the next reporting period.

South

Amid levels of violence in line with previous averages, threat levels are set to increase as the festival of Arbaeen approaches and pilgrims are expected to start converging in Karbala. Basra continued to witness acts of criminality, while levels of violence in Babil continued to drop. The continued threat of militant penetration into southern provinces was highlighted by the clearing of four VBIEDs in Karbala. Despite the group’s intent to strike the South-East in the lead-up to the festival, the focus of ISIS on northern provinces should ensure that attacks remain low-impact.

Posted in Weekly Security UpdateComments (10)

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.

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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)

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