Corruption in Iraq: How officials make their millions

Corruption in Iraq: How officials make their millions
Corrupt officials are making millions of dollars from non existing government projects, with corruption now affecting every level of the Iraqi state.
2 min read
02 August, 2015
Iraqis protesting against corruption and unemployment in 2011 [AFP]

Corrupt Iraqi officials and contractors are making millions from government projects handed out according to shady backroom deals.

Over the past decade conflict and corruption has systematically destroyed Iraq's economy.

Many Iraqis now suffer high levels of poverty and unemployment and lack basic services such as electricity.

     Consecutive governments since the occupation have been governments of corruption.
- Ali al-Rawi, dean at Al-Iraqia University

Official government reports confirm that last year's budget included 4600 fake projects that were never implemented.

The government's integrity commission has vowed to investigate and prosecute those involved, while reports have implicated current and former high-level state officials.

Majida al-Timimi, an Iraqi MP and member of the parliamentary finance committee told al-Araby al-Jadeed that the Iraqi treasury lost $189 million on fake projects last year.

"Most of the projects were awarded to officials' relatives who claimed to own companies that did not exist," said Timimi.

Ali al-Rawi, dean of the College of Management and Economics at Al-Iraqia University in Baghdad said: "Consecutive governments since the occupation have been governments of corruption."

This includes the US administration of Iraq under Paul Bremer, due to US reports billions of dollars allocated for post occupation reconstruction had gone missing.

Rawi believes corruption is the most important factor in the Iraqi state, and is supported by political parties, committees and paramilitary groups.

He said major corruption scandals have been uncovered in the ministries of interior, defense, trade and industry and electricity over the past few years.

"Corruption now affects the entire structure of the Iraqi state," said Rawi.

This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.