Iraq trade minister faces corruption probe

Iraq trade minister faces corruption probe
Salman al-Jumaili was grilled by parliament over graft allegations linked to his ministry.
1 min read
16 August, 2017
Salman al-Jumaili, fourth from left, denies any wrongdoing [AFP]
Iraq's acting trade minister, Salman al-Jumaili, faced questioning by parliament on Tuesday over allegations of corruption linked to the ministry.

Jumaili, a Sunni minister in the Shia-dominated government of Haidar al-Abadi, was questioned by parliamentarian Alia Nussayif.

Allegations stemmed from a deal to import and distribute contaminated Indian rice in 2016.

The minister denied any wrongdoing, claiming that of the 40,000-tonne rice cargo in question, only 4,000 were infected. Jumaili said the infected goods were rejected and the ministry was reimbursed.

Nussayif insisted that the infected rice, a risk to public health, was not returned and had instead entered the consumer market.

Jumaili also faced allegations of approving licenses for new wheat mills against regulations.

Parliament said it will continue to discuss the case in future sessions.

Corruption in Iraq is prevalent at all levels across the government and Abadi himself has faced repeated accusations of incompetence in tackling the issue.

Transparency International, a nonprofit organisation that studies corruption, ranked Iraq as one of the world's most corrupt countries.

Influential Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr has repeatedly called for protests against corruption, and his supporters have staged huge protests in Baghdad calling for electoral reform.

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