As Iraq declared military victory against ISIS last week, the Iraqi government is preparing to wage a new war, this time against corruption in what is seen as a battle that will be no less intense than the one against the terror organization.
Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi has intensified his rhetoric against corrupt officials, while parliament Speaker Salim Jabbouri declared before scholars from his clan: “The war against corruption complements the war on terror.”
“The parliament will assume its role in confronting corrupt figures and preserving public funds,” he vowed.
Various Iraqi media reported that Abadi is determined to soon deal an “imminent blow” to several figures, including senior politicians, over corruption.
Sources informed on the government plans, said that it was mulling the possibility of establishing a court to combat corruption.
This is aimed at ensuring that the corrupt figures are held accountable for their violations, they said.
Furthermore, past experiences have proven that the current judicial powers are unable to persecute corrupt officials, which is why a special court is necessary, they explained.
Economic expert Majed al-Souri said that Abadi is likely to refer major fraud cases involving political officials to the judiciary within three weeks.
He told Asharq Al-Awsat: “The corrupt figures are in for a heavy blow.”
“I believe that this issue is linked to next month’s donor conference in Kuwait and Iraqi authorities are seeking to assure donor and investing countries that the funds they will spend will not go to the pockets of corruption,” he elaborated.
He revealed that “great efforts” are being exerted to that end and that experts from various countries have been contacted in this regard. Interpol has also been contacted in order to help Iraq uncover corruption files to ensure the impartiality of the investigations.
Souri predicted that major political figures will be arrested and imprisoned within two to three weeks on fraud charges. This will be the first step in the anti-corruption battle and it should be followed up with other measures that should stop or at least limit this phenomenon.
In a related development, a criminal court in Baghdad sentenced on Sunday former Diyala Governor Omar al-Hamiri to six years in jail on fraud charges.