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Iraq Takes New Legal Measures to Recover Looted Funds

Iraq Takes New Legal Measures to Recover Looted Funds

Thursday, 18 March, 2021 - 07:00
Iraqi President Barham Salih announced a mechanism to retrieve stolen state money (AFP)

Iraqi President Barham Salih revealed on Wednesday new legal measures to recover the looted funds from Iraq.

Since 2003, a year after the ouster of Saddam Hussein, almost $250 billion of Iraqi public funds has vanished.

In a televised interview on Wednesday, Salih said that the presidency intends to introduce a code of conduct to put in place mechanisms to recover the stolen money, which may have gone abroad.

"Corruption is dangerous and needs serious mechanisms to tackle it," he added, noting that despite major challenges, a number of rulings took place regarding corruption cases before.

Salih stressed that striking financial corruption was essential to establishing security.

He further highlighted the importance of holding fair elections in which Iraqis feel reassured that their "votes are protected and their decisions are respected."

His announcement came as the Supreme Council, which was formed by Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, is still exerting efforts to combat corruption.

While it charged several officials in corruption cases, the council is investigating with others who worked in various Iraqi institutions and ministries.

In this regard, economist Basem Jamil Antoun told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that the new legal measures adopt certain criteria to assess the professional behavior of concerned parties.

Regarding means to recover looted funds, Antoun said that international and local efforts are needed to recover funds smuggled abroad.

Part of the funds vanished under Saddam’s rule, while the other part is linked to the post-2003 phase, he noted.

Antoun said that the stolen funds are estimated at $250 billion, however, he noted that there are no exact figures.

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