Iraq's prime minister has fired his electricity minister, who is under investigation following allegations that he failed to follow government guidelines in the signing of $1.7 billion in power generation deals with two foreign companies.
The minister Raad Shalal signed the deals in question with the Canadian Alliance for Power Generation Equipment (Capgent) and the German firm Maschinebau Halberstadt (MBH). The Canadian company was awarded a $1.7 billion contract in July to build 10 power stations with a total capacity of 1,000 megawatts while the German firm won a $625 million contract.
Iraq's deputy prime minister, Hussain Al Shahristani, said the deals violated government guidelines because the two companies do not meet the financial and technical capabilities to qualify as manufacturers for this type of project. He claimed the two companies presented false documents about their financial status and technical capabilities and the contracts were annulled on Thursday.
Gulf News reports that Shalal and the two companies could not immediately be reached for comment.
The sacked minister was nominated by a top rival to Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki, raising questions about whether his firing late Saturday night and the allegations of financial misconduct are politically motivated.
(Source: Gulf News