Posted on 08 August 2013.
Iraq’s Commission of Integrity, with the support of the Central Statistics Office and UNDP Iraq, has announced the findings from its study on corruption and integrity in Iraq’s public sector.
This study offered new evidence to help the Government of Iraq, civil society, the UN in Iraq, NGOs and other organizations working in Iraq to better understand the variety and scope of corruption, which plagues the country.
The focus of the study targeted specific experiences, rather than reviewing generally held perceptions. More than 31,000 civil servants were surveyed for the report, which covered a range of issues from working conditions and job satisfaction to the integrity of civil servants, bribery and transparency.
Interestingly, more than 50 percent of the Study’s participant’s perceived corruption to be on the rise, noting that the average Iraqi Civil Servant must pay at least four bribes per year. This study holds particular significance for the UN’s work in Iraq.
“Corruption continues to affect the lives of the majority of Iraqis,” Dr. Jacqueline Badcock, DSRSG of UNAMI and Resident Representative of UNDP Iraq commented. “This study not only sheds new light on the issue but provides a baseline for the Government of Iraq and the UN to respond.”
The full details of the report can be viewed here
Posted in Politics, Public Works
Posted on 22 July 2013.
By Omar al-Shaher for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.
Two Iraqi parliamentary committees monitoring fiscal policy in Iraq have held two contradictory positions on the Iraqi currency “reset” project, which would delete three zeros from the currency. There has been much debate about the project’s feasibility and the date of its implementation.
While the parliamentary Economic Committee believes that the deletion of three zeros from the Iraqi currency would strengthen it, the parliamentary Finance Committee fears that this project would open the door to counterfeit operations.
In a statement to Al-Monitor, Mudher Mohammad Saleh, former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Iraq, warned against the consequences of such a step if it is not implemented at the appropriate time.
Abdul Abbas Shayya, a member of the Economic Committee in the Iraqi parliament, told Al-Monitor, “Reforming the management of the Iraqi currency now requires the deletion of three zeros. This has been endorsed by the parliamentary Economy and Investment Committee.”
Shayya, an MP for the State of Law Coalition led by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, added that the Economic Committee “asked the government and the Central Bank to quickly replace the current Iraqi currency with another that is less [in value] by three zeros.”
“The Iraqi currency is weak, and the money supply has amounted to multi-trillions because of the existence of these useless zeros,” he said. “The country will witness a significant increase in oil revenues, financial earnings and high budgets. Thus, we need to print new banknotes, as estimated by the Central Bank.”
Posted in Banking & Finance, Security
Posted on 09 July 2013.
By Waheed Ghanim.
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.
Currency Class War: Damaged Dinar Notes result in Bribery, Injustice
Exchange shops, bank cashiers and savvy housewives are doing big business as they deal with Iraq’s dodgy, damaged, low-denomination notes – for a price. The losers? Pensioners and low-income earners who end up with cash they can barely use.
Every two months Makiya, a 65-year-old Iraqi woman, travels a long way to pick up her pension in cash. She lives 40 kilometres out of Basra and the journey is a difficult one for her. And then to her chagrin, whenever she gets her pension, it mostly comes in low-denomination notes that are damaged, torn or otherwise destroyed.
“The people who come to collect their pensions are not treated the same way as others,” Makiya complains. “To get clean, undamaged bank notes you have to pay the bankers a bribe.”
Additionally Makiya says that if anybody complains about the IQD3,000 that is usually deducted from the payments by the bankers –a service fee taken for no apparent reason, she says – they are punished by being given even more of the damaged or distressed banknotes.
“And then when you get the damaged bank notes you can’t do anything with them because nobody accepts this money,” Makiya says.
The descriptions “talef” and “naqes” are often used by people like Makiya when they talk about money. Respectively the words mean damaged and missing and are terms used to describe the smaller notes – the IQD1,000 notes and the half and quarter dinar notes – that those who can’t afford to pay for better, bigger banknotes end up with.
Posted in Banking & Finance, Construction & Engineering, Security
Posted on 09 July 2013.
By John Lee.
A Paris court has cleared oil company Total, its chief executive Christophe de Margerie (pictured), and over a dozen other defendants of corruption charges related to the UN’s oil-for-food programme in Iraq.
The former interior minister Charles Pasqua, the Swiss oil trader Vitol, and a former French ambassador to the UN, were also among the 20 defendants acquitted.
They were accused of participating in a corrupt system of bribery, complicity, kickbacks and influence peddling which profited from the international community’s efforts to get humanitarian aid to ordinary Iraqis under Saddam’s rule.
The French trial took place earlier this year after repeated delays and despite the state prosecutor’s office having advised that the case should not go to court. After deliberation, the judges dismissed all corruption charges against all defendants.
(Sources: Guardian, BBC, Bloomberg)
Posted in Oil & Gas, Security
Posted on 28 May 2013.
The Ministry of Education has today launched new curricula for both primary and secondary schools in Iraq. The aim is to raise awareness and understanding of the concepts of integrity, transparency, human rights and honesty.
The new curricula were designed by the Ministry of Education in collaboration with the UN Development Programme (UNDP). This innovative new initiative is the first of its kind to be introduced in Iraq.
“With these curricula, important values will be instilled into Iraq’s next generation,” said Jacqueline Badcock, UNDP’s Resident Representative. “Corruption is a problem that continues to plague the country,” she added.
Iraq was ranked the 8th most corrupt country in the world in 2012 according to Transparency International, and corruption continues to halt Iraq’s development prospects despite an abundance of resources.
The curricula increase students’ understanding of ethical issues through practical, real-life examples and guided discussions. The topics will be integrated into the children’s core subjects by their teachers. The initiative will incorporate lessons on building respect and respect for others, and is based on international best practices in line with the UN Convention Against Corruption, to which Iraq is a signatory.
The curricula are designed to nurture a generation which values integrity, transparency and honesty. The Anti-Corruption curricula will be introduced into Ministry of Education schools during the 2013-2014 academic year.
Posted in Education & Training, Industry & Trade, Security
Posted on 22 May 2013.
The Iraqi Prime Minister reportedly insisted on Monday that some of the fake bomb detectors Iraq bought are actually functional, despite overwhelming evidence that none of them work.
According to AFP, Nouri al-Maliki told reporters:
“The best device in the world does not detect (explosives) more than 60 percent (of the time)… and results we obtained indicate that these devices detect from 20 to 50 percent … Some of the devices were real and were detecting [explosives].“
He added that security forces are moving more to the use of police dogs because they are better able to detect explosives.
The devices were sold by ATSC, run by James McCormick, who has been sentenced to 10 years in prison in Britain for fraud. They contain nothing that could be used in the detection of explosives.
Posted in Security
Posted on 05 May 2013.
The conman who made $84 million selling fake bomb detectors to Iraq and other countries has been jailed for ten years by a court in the UK.
Passing sentence on Jim McCormick, Judge Richard Hone said:
“The device was useless, the profits outrageous and your culpability as a fraudster has to be placed in the highest category …
“… your fraudulent conduct … in all probability materially contributed to causing death and injury to innocent individuals …
“In terms of culpability and harm, I have been unable to imagine a more serious case of its kind.“
The judge described the profits as ‘obscene’, funding grand houses, a greedy and extravagant lifestyle, and even a yacht.
McCormick sold the ‘ADE 651′ devices through his company, Advanced Tactical Security & Communications Ltd (ATSC).
The devices are reported to be still in use throughout Iraq.
Posted in Security
Posted on 25 April 2013.
By Padraig O’Hannelly.
Before the local elections, an art student climbed the tallest building in central Baghdad and hung a banner depicting a giant eye, with the caption “We can see you“, overlooking the Green Zone.
It’s an image that should be in the minds of all who consider bribery to be a perk of the job, or even an entitlement.
This week in the UK, businessman Jim McCormick was found guilty of selling fake bomb detectors to security forces, many of them in Iraq; he made an estimated $84 million from the scam, and was facilitated by corrupt officials who were happy to take his life-changing backhanders. Many others, however, had their lives changed in very different ways, when they fell victim to the bombs that went undetected by McCormick’s phoney devices.
At a different level, there are many who believe it’s OK to accept ‘gifts’ for simply doing their jobs, and they will always have an excuse for it: “everyone else is doing it“, “I need the money“, “other people are taking more“, …
But it’s all part of the same amoral culture that must be eradicated from any civilised society. Finding the culprits is one thing, but making the crime of corruption socially unacceptable is another. The people can see you, and ultimately will have zero tolerance for what you do.
Posted in Blog, Security