Iraqi prime minister says he will confront 'corruption mafia'

Iraqi prime minister says he will confront 'corruption mafia'
Criminal mafias are connected to corruption in state institutions and are a security threat, Iraqi PM Abadi said, as he called for tougher court sentences at a meeting with judges.
2 min read
24 September, 2015
Iraqis are demanding an end to runway corruption in the country [AFP/Getty]
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi has warned of the presence of mafias and gangs that are supporting corruption in state institutions and that represent a sort of "terrorism," while the head of the Supreme Islamic Council, Ammar al-Hakim, warned of "hidden hands" that are trying to derail demonstrations from their path.

Abadi's office issued a statement after the prime minister met with the court judges who deal with cases of integrity, money laundering and economic crime, calling for tougher procedures to reduce financial and administrative corruption, stressing the need to develop new strategies to help deter the corrupt, and retrieve large amounts of money they had stolen, according the Abadi.

The statement pointed to the need for cooperation between the three top Iraqi leaders, away from conflicts of own interests to eliminate corruption, stressing that the corrupt are trying to bribe or intimidate witnesses to turn the situation around and get the government occupied with some secondary matters, according to Abadi's statement.

"We have to confront them using ways that would contribute to deter and identify them to have them arrested and recover the money they had stolen," the statement added, calling on judges to achieve justice and strike with an iron fist against the corrupt.

For his part, Iraqi President Fuad Masum, voiced his support for government decisions and procedures to combat corruption, calling during a speech on the occasion of Eid al-Adha for further reforms that are in keep with the Constitution.

Maasoum said that the country is facing exceptional political and economic challenges that must be overcome, by building a fair democratic federal system that would preserve the rights and dignity of all Iraqis.

Maasoum praised what he called the civil and peaceful spirit shown by the Iraqis in recent protests, which demanded reform and an end to corruption.

On a related note, the head of the Supreme Islamic Council Ammar al-Hakim said that his movement will continue to support Abadi's government, on the condition that it proves its faith in the project of the Iraqi state and strengthens the institutions stipulated in the constitution.

Hakim, during the Eid sermon, accused "hidden hands" of standing behind the attempt to deviate the peaceful protesters from their path to target the Islamic movement.

Hakim also criticised the failures of the governments of former PM Nuri al-Maliki, saying many opportunities were squandered that could have helped build and develop the Iraqi state.

Hakim stressed the need for holding a meeting between Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Turkey to discuss regional issues and help achieve victory against Islamic State group.