Basra Governor Speaks on Corruption, Security

And Hill International itself will choose those companies that will execute the projects. Hill presented to us 76 engineering, mathematics and legal experts, in all specialties, for contracting and supervision. We have prepared standard documents for contracts, which include details of the contract.

Al-Monitor A few weeks ago, you objected to a housing project plan announced by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki during his visit to Basra, [which involved distributing plots of land to the poor]. What is the reason for your objection?

Nasrawi:  The local government had developed a housing plan, which included granting no-interest loans to residents via the housing fund, and granting [citizens] plots of land for building homes. [The plan even included] building new cities and giving [the houses] to those who deserved them. I support giving plots of land to citizens, but that is not everything. We had allocated $3 billion to housing projects in 2014.

Al-Monitor Do your powers clash with those of Baghdad in this area?

Nasrawi:  We are carrying out precise studies so that Basra gets what it deserves within the scope of the law.

Al-Monitor:  How do you see the security situation in the province?

Nasrawi:  The security problem is no different from the contract problems we talked about, for there is a lack of planning in both cases. The mechanisms in place for fighting terrorism are basic, limited and non-innovative. Thus, we decided as an initial step to contract a British security consulting company. I believe that the problem of terrorism cannot be solved via a military leader, but rather through security experts, surveillance technology, and training and developing the capabilities of the intelligence [agencies].

For example, we have a plan to buy sophisticated explosives-detection devices, but who determines the specifications and standards for these devices? Will we make the same mistake as Baghdad, which imported [explosives-detection] devices that didn't work? Who will choose the weapons and sniffer dogs? To answer these questions, we turned to a global consulting firm that works in the security field.

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