Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Large Increase In Corruption Convictions From 2008 To 2009

The new Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction’s (SIGIR) January 2010 report to Congress  detailed a large increase in the number of cases prosecuted for corruption in 2009 compared to 2008. As reported before, the main anti-corruption body in Iraq, the Integrity Commission released a paper on its work in 2008. It documented that 3,207 cases presented to a judge led to 630 arrests warrants, 417 arrests, but only 97 convictions. SIGIR found almost the same number of cases were dealt with last year, 3,402, but those led to 972 warrants, and 285 convictions, a 100% increase from 2008. The vast majority of convictions however, were of low-level officials such as policemen. In 2008 only two senior officials were put on trial and convicted. In 2009, that increased to four.

Work Of The Iraqi Integrity Commission 2008 vs. 2009
2008: 3,207 cases, 630 warrants, 97 convictions, 2 senior officials convicted
2009: 3,402 cases, 972 warrants, 285 convictions, 4 senior officials convicted

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development issued a 2009 report that has not been published yet, on the problems that Iraq faces in fighting corruption. Iraq has a state-run economy, so the Organization said that government procurement was the area most likely to lead to waste, fraud, and embezzlement. Specifically, public contracting is not transparent, competition is not required, accounting is “fuzzy”, and the three anti-corruption agencies do not cooperate.

The Finance Minister Bayan Jabr told the SIGIR that corruption now is the worst that he has seen it since 2003. He claimed that Iraq’s top leaders must emphasize fighting it otherwise the bureaucracy will do nothing about it. Unfortunately, despite the increase in convictions in 2009, there is still little drive to do so.  

SOURCES

Commission of Integrity, “Annual report for 2008,” December 2009

Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, “Quarterly Report and Semiannual Report to the United States Congress,” 1/30/10

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