Iraq's Abadi bans MPs accused of corruption from travel

Iraq's Abadi bans MPs accused of corruption from travel
Haider al-Abadi has ordered a temporary travel ban on Iraqi lawmakers accused of corruption to pave way for investigations into the allegations, his office said on Tuesday.
2 min read
02 August, 2016
Abadi on Monday ordered Iraq's anti-corruption commission to investigate the allegations [Getty]

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has imposed a travel ban on several parliamentary officials accused of corruption, his office said Tuesday, but the parliament speaker rejected the order.

Defence Minister Khalid al-Obeidi on Monday told parliament that speaker Salim al-Juburi and several lawmakers were corrupt and had sought to blackmail him.

Abadi ordered a "temporary travel ban" against those accused, in order "to investigate the validity of the allegations," a statement from his office said.

But Juburi rejected the travel ban, saying this could only be ordered by the judiciary and calling for everyone to respect both it and the constitution.

"The decision to prohibit the travel of any citizen who carries an Iraqi passport is one of the exclusive prerogatives of the Iraqi judiciary," his office said in a statement.

The members of parliament accused by Obeidi included Alia Nasayif, who has herself brought corruption allegations against the minister. The other two are Mohammed al-Karbouli and Hanan al-Fatlawi.

Iraqi parliament speaker Salim al-Juburi is accused of corruption [AFP]

It was unclear if the travel prohibition applied to Obeidi.

Abadi's spokesman Saad al-Hadithi declined to give the names of the officials affected by the ban or to clarify whether or not it applied to Obeidi.

Obeidi's official Facebook page outlined his allegations, including that Juburi was involved in attempting to pass corrupt arms contracts.

Another post charged that Juburi and three lawmakers, including Nasayif, had blackmailed Obeidi "for the purpose of passing corrupt deals and contracts at the expense of Iraqi blood".

Obeidi's official Twitter account also said he had revealed the "names of MPs and politicians who practise acts of blackmail against him to pass corrupt contracts, among them the [speaker] of parliament".

Monday's session broke down after Obeidi's accusations, which Juburi then denied at a press conference.

Abadi on Monday ordered Iraq's anti-corruption commission to investigate the allegations and to work on the issue with a parliamentary committee.

The row surrounding the defence minister comes as Iraq prepares for a drive to retake second city Mosul, the biggest operation yet in the country's war against the Islamic State group.

The acrimony follows weeks of deadlock over Abadi's efforts to replace the cabinet earlier this year.