Arrest warrant issued for Nineveh governor over Iraq ferry disaster

Arrest warrant issued for Nineveh governor over Iraq ferry disaster
An arrest warrant has been issued for Nawfel Akoub, the sacked governor of Nineveh province, after a ferry-disaster that killed a hundred people caused public outrage.
2 min read
27 March, 2019
Iraqis demonstrate in Mosul after the capsizing of a ferry left 100 people dead [AFP/Getty]

An arrest warrant has been issued for the sacked governor of Nineveh province in northern Iraq, Nawfel Akoub, a week after a ferry disaster in Mosul led to the death of a hundred people.

The warrant, issued by Nineveh justice officials, calls for the arrest of Akoub under Article 340 of Iraqi Penal Code 111 (1969) concerning integrity and the wasting of public funds, Rudaw reported.

The warrant for corruption charges, which includes a travel ban, was issued a day after Iraq's Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi said his government would hit those responsible for the ferry disaster "powerfully with the fist of justice". 

Iraq's parliament sacked the governor of the northern province on Sunday, after the disaster sparked a wave of grief and anger from Mosul residents.

Most of those killed when the boat sank on 21 March in the Tigris River were women and children headed for a Mother's Day picnic on the Kurds' Nowruz New Year holiday.

Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi wrote to parliament on Saturday calling on legislators to fire Akoub, citing "negligence and concrete failings" meriting his dismissal.

His two deputies were also fired during a vote in the national assembly.

Dozens of students held a silent protest on the campus of the university of Mosul on Saturday, to demand that "corrupt" politicians and civil servants be replaced.

Sixteen people have been arrested as part of an investigation into the ferry capsize, a security official said.

When the ex-governor visited the scene of the tragedy the day after stones were thrown at his convoy by protesters demonstrating against perceived corruption and neglect.

Mosul's Civil Defence Authority Husam Khalil said that the boat was over capacity when it capsized - carrying 250 people when it should have normally been carrying only 50.

The sinking of the ferry was a tragic blow to Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city that is still struggling to overcome the devastation wreaked by the Islamic State group.

The ferry disaster took place in the first Nowruz celebrations allowed in the area for years, since the defeat of IS.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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